Most amateur drivers never forget their first winning
drive, but for Christchurch man Paul Wallace, his second was a
lot more memorable.
Wallace (52) did not hold back in his celebrations when he
reined home the Bruce Negus-trained Hudson Sully in the
amateur drivers' mobile pace at Waimate yesterday, saluting
the crowd as he crossed the line after enjoying a soft run
throughout the 2600m.
The race was run in a very leisurely 2min 13.9sec, but that
did not matter to Wallace.
The former professional driver collected nine wins for the
likes of Derek Jones but had not enjoyed success in an
official totalisator race since the 2002-03 season until
Don't Tell Jim won an amateur drivers' race at Motukarara in
However, Wallace missed out on all the trappings associated
with winning that day, as the race was won in the inquiry
room, with Little Joe being relegated from first to 10th,
pushing Don't Tell Jim from second up to first.
''I never had the weigh-in, or the salute or anything.''
A lack of drives forced Wallace to give away regular driving
and focus on his main employment as a freezing worker. He has
kept his hand in over the past 10 years, racking up 60 drives
before giving amateur driving a go, as well as working for a
variety of trainers during the off-season.
''I work for [Canterbury trainer] Nigel McGrath at the moment
and he had me on [about becoming an amateur driver], saying
`Go and do it.' He kept winding me up and I did it.
''When you're working the horses every day, you always want
to drive at the races.''
By Matt Smith.