New Zealand born driver Sam Clotworthy was an easy winner of the Youngbloods Challenge with the six-race series coming to a close in Launceston on Sunday night.
Clotworthy won two of the three heats held on Sunday night which kicked off in the opening event aboard Mach Charm (pictured) for his boss Ben Yole in heat four of the series.
The six-year-old mare was sent out as a $13 chance and was able to slot in one-out and one-back before Clotworthy made his move down the back straight on the final occasion.
“It was a very good win, she stuck on very well late,” said Clotworthy.
“I had to go at about the 600 (metres), and I just cruised around, and she gave a good kick when I pulled the blinds,” added the winning driver.
Clotworthy also drove the Ben Yole-trained Star Rocker to victory in heat five with the three-year-old gelded son of A Rocknroll Dance registering his second career win at his fourth race track appearance.
“He was very good tonight, he is very young and is still very raw, he got a soft lead after I found the front and he did it very easy,” said the driver about the $2.30 favourite.
Clotworthy had an unbeatable lead going into the final heat where he managed a fourth placing on Hez Razor Sharp. The race was won by the Sam Gangell driven Velocity Stride.
“I am very happy to win the series, I’m just thankful for the good horses I got to drive and the good draws, they can be a bit of luck these series by drawing the right horses and barriers,” explained Clotworthy.
It was a big weekend for Clotworthy who made 111 runs with the bat for the Beaconsfield Cricket Club on Saturday before being run out.
Final Youngbloods Challenge Point score:
- 72 Sam Clotworthy,
- 52 Sam Gangell and Ben Woodsford,
- 41 Matthew Howlett,
- 39 Georgia Hayward,
- 35 Bronte Miller
- 32 Charlie Castles,
- 28 Malcom Jones,
- 22 Andrew Freeman and Lachlan Dakin.
Two heats of the Tassie Golden Apple were also held late on the nine-race program.
The Shallows enjoyed a lovely run one-out and one-back to win his heat, defeating short price favourite Ignatius.
“Off the 10 (metres) he had to chase a little bit to get on to the back of the leaders and then they kept running,” said trainer-driver Heath Woods about the win.
“Everything worked out well for me, but the horse went good,” added Woods.
Woods pushed Ignatius four-wide at the 400-metre mark and was always holding the pacer late.
“Around the bend, he got a bit of a gap on Ignatius, and then Ignatius was getting close to me on the line, but he just wasn’t getting there quickly enough,” said Woods.
The trainer-driver is now looking forward to next week’s final.
“I am pretty happy with him, you always need a bit of luck at the start, but with more horses off the front-row, you are probably not having to chase hard early to tack on.
Ryley Major won the other heat, Rohan Hillier had the $1.60 favourite settled one-out and two-back at the 1200-metre mark before the pacer flew home out four-wide over the final 200 metres to score a comfortable victory over Perfect Mach and Lip Reader.
Ryley Major recorded a mile rate off his 30-metre handicap in 1m 58s for the 2200-metre event.
The $30,000 final will be held on Saturday night.