Ottley turns near disaster into triumph

Mongolian Conqueror has left his rivals to it as he goes to the line to win race 3 at Forbury...
Mongolian Conqueror has left his rivals to it as he goes to the line to win race 3 at Forbury Park last night. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Driver Samantha Ottley pulled off an astonishing win with Bonnie Boy at Forbury Park last night after being jolted out of her sulky and going within millimetres of crashing to the track.

Ottley was facing the prospect of being thrown out of her cart and among a line of oncoming horses when a tightening of runners racing into the first bend started to flip her cart sideways.

As disaster approached, the Canterbury reinswoman hoped she would somehow be able to avoid what would have been an ugly and terrifying scene.

Ottley received her wish, but admitted she had no idea quite what saved her.

“I don’t really know how I got back in — it happens quick.

“I am sore on my side, so I must have really strained to get back in.

“But let’s just say I am really pleased that I did.”

After avoiding catastrophe, winning race 4 was not at the forefront of Ottley’s mind.

Instead, she was calming her nerves, which had just been fully tested.

“At the time I got back in the cart and around the first bend I was taking some deep breaths and thought ‘OK, I’m safe now’.

Once Ottley and Bonnie Boy composed themselves, it was not long before they were heading around the field to take the lead from favourite To Ri Caitlin and Mark Hurrell.

Although it did not seem like the front was there for the taking, a fired-up Bonnie Boy soon made sure it was.

“The front wasn’t really there, but the horse latched on and I got up next to Mark,” Ottley said.

“I was hoping he would get a neck in front and then start to relax, but the horse had other ideas.

“He has won his other two races in front, so he does love it out there bowling along.”

A home-straight battle loomed for Bonnie Boy as he turned the corner with To Ri Caitlin ready to come off his back and pounce.

But the 7yr-old dug deep to pull off the most astounding of comeback victories.

Bonnie Boy is trained by Anne-Marie Best, who is in the process of moving her stables from Fairhall, near Blenheim, to Canterbury.

Ottley had a much smoother trip towards victory when winning the first race back at Forbury Park since it had its doors shut and then reopened for racing last night.

With several runners going off stride, Ottley and The Good Doctor were left clear in the lead throughout race 1.

The pair eventually went on to win the 2200m maiden trot untested by 6¾ lengths.

Ottley made it a winning treble at Forbury Park when The Peaky Blinder won race 7 by a nose.

The reinswoman drives favourite La Rosa in tonight’s $150,000 Harness Million Two-Year-Old Fillies Pace.

The filly produced a powerful win in maiden company last week with trainer Mark Jones in the sulky.

Ottley expected Jones would drive La Rosa in tonight’s race, but he insisted she take the reins.


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