Cup presents great opportunity for the "young guns"

The 2013 NZ Trotting Cup has been a long time coming for some, with the much expected match race between Terror To Love and Christen Me, something for the real racing purists. While that clash may in fact pan out like many anticipate, the race itself has many other interest elements. For me, it is the face of youth in this year's cup that holds a real interest. Lets look at these young guns:

Dexter Dunn at 24, has broken almost every record in the book and needs little introduction. For Dexter, this will be his 5th NZ Cup. The highlight to date being his debut drive in the race in 2009 when a close 2nd to Monkey King, driving Bettor's Strike. Dexter drives the warm favourite in Christen Me and clearly has his best chance to nail his 1st cup win.  He is the elder statesman amonst the 5 drivers aged between 20 and 24 in this cup.

Zac Butcher aged 23, had his 1st drive behind Pembrook Benny in last year's cup finishing in 6th place behind Terror To Love. In his 7th season of driving, Zac has reined home 336 winners and was the leading junior driver in the 2011-2012 season with 115 winners to his name.

Matty Williamson also aged 23 has his 1st cup drive, taking the reins behind the Cran Dalgety trained Four Starzzz Flash.  In just his 6th year of driving Matty has driven 356 winners. A career highlight was winning the junior premiership last season and driving 113 winners for the season.

Robbie Close at just 21, is also making his debut in the cup, driving Jason Rulz. Robbie drives for his bosses Greg and Nina Hope. He is by far and away the most inexperienced driver in this year's cup. He is in just his 4th year of driving and to date has reined home 44 career winners. 

Lauren Panella aged 20, is the baby of the field.  She drives Suave Stuey Lombo (one of two Australians in the race), for her boss Shane Tritton. She drove a staggering 180 winners for the 2012-2013 season in the NSW Premiership.

While I am only summising, I would suggest that having a third of this year's drivers aged 24 or younger would be some sort of record in the cup. It will be a great occasion for all of them and shows just how far things have changed in regards to giving the younger brigade their big chance in the limelight.

On a side note, flip the coin and see the experience sitting out this year's event:

Tony Herlihy - 3501 LT wins

Maurice McKendry - 2953 LT wins

David Butcher - 1992 LT wins

Staggering stats! Between the 3 of these legends, a massive 8446 wins........ Not bad eh!                        

Posted: Mon 11 Nov 2013

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