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Sanderson edging closer to the ton

By Duane Ranger

Top Queensland reinsman Adam Sanderson is just thankful to be still out there doing what he loves - let alone creating personal milestones.

The 31-year-old is on target to record his best year in 12 seasons of driving, and in doing so notch up a century of wins for just the second time.

With three months of the season remaining, Sanderson just has to maintain his current rate of 26 wins quarterly (two a week) to get over the ton.

As at Thursday May 28, Sanderson had recorded 79 wins in Queensland this season - his personal best was bang on 100 in 2017-2018.

“What drives me is my will to win, but I’ve never really been too big on statistics,” Sanderson said.

“I’m just grateful to be still driving and competing, I’m rapt that big stable trainers like Ian Gurney and Grant & Trista Dixon put me on their good horses.

“My mates back home (New Zealand) went 66 days without racing, and there are no cases of COVID-19 in the South Island now.

“I know a lot of people have been doing it tough there and I feel sorry for them, at least they have been able to keep in contact with the racing over here – and to Racing Queensland I’m extremely grateful for that.”

I’m just grateful to be still driving and competing, I’m rapt that big stable trainers like Ian Gurney and Grant & Trista Dixon put me on their good horses.

Just on a month ago, Sanderson relocated from Fernvale to Chambers Flat, and now works for one of Queensland’s best trainers, Ian Gurney.

“I love it here and Ian really knows his stuff, a change is as good as a holiday,” Sanderson said.

“Ian’s great to work for and I enjoy my job, driving is obviously the highlight.”

The former Southland (Invercargill) reinsman nailed 67 winners from 2009-2013 when he was in New Zealand; his driving stats since coming to Queensland have been:

  • 2012-2013: 87 winners;
  • 2013-2014: 87;
  • 2014-2015: 92;
  • 2015-2016: 99;
  • 2016-2017: 79.
  • 2017-2018: 100;
  • 2018-2019: 92;
  • 2019-2020 (thus far): 79.

Sanderson reckons he could add to that tally at Albion Park on Saturday night when he will have five drives, three of which will be for Gurney.

Here’s what he had to say about his chances (with race, trainer, horse, draw, form, and opening odds):


Race 3: The Alex Cain trained KURAHAUPO GAMBLER (1) - 17738 - $14:

"This is the first time I’ve driven this Bettor's Delight 9-year-old gelding, he’s been thereabouts in some of his races, and from the nice draw he can either punch out early and lead, or take a trail.”

“It all depends how the race is run but from one he is definitely capable of being competitive in this.

“I’d rate him an each-way show, and probably my best winning hope on the night – because one the ace draw.”

Race 6: The Ian Gurney trained CLARKEY (8) - 35188 - $14:

“Black gelding who is the only one drawn on the second row.”

“He follows out Three Mugs In ($5), which will help him a lot; he’s a good sit and sprint pacer, who can sit on the fence and get some of it.

“His fitness could be a little concern and his last couple of runs have been ordinary, but from eight we are expecting an improvement in him this week.”

Race 8: The Ian Gurney trained MARK OF INTEGRITY (2) - x7365 - $7.50:

"McArdle gelding, who is another good chance but there is also a slight query over his fitness.”

“He’s still on the way up from a break and if he can settle handy and not do too much work, he is a good chance.”

Race 9: The Ian Gurney trained MY MASTERCRAFTSMAN (2) - 78095 - $21:

"Another son of top stallion Bettor's Delight, who I thought went real good last start.”

“He is also on the improve and should also be close to the fence.

“He’s ready to fire - if not this week, soon.”

Race 11: The Grant Dixon trained MIRACLE RISING (4) -  65x08 - $12:

"Muscle Mass gelding, who is an old favourite of mine.”

“I’ve driven him a lot driven lot of times, and just lately he’s been pretty ordinary, but in saying that he’s just had two starts this time back in.

“He’s still on the rise and I’d like to see a bit more from him before I start labelling him a winning chance in this.

“If he brought his ‘A’ game, yes, but perhaps first four this time.”