Trainer-driver Caitlin McElhinney
ARMIDALE will host the first of two Carnival of Cups meetings this afternoon and have attracted strong fields for their eight-race program.
Tamworth horsewoman driver Caitlin McElhinney, 19, will head north with two of her horses, hoping to qualify them for the Gig Series final, which will be run at Armidale’s feature meeting on May 30.
McElhinney is now in her fourth season of driving and along with her partner, Sam Ison, has five horses in work.
Having grown up in Nowra, Caitlin has been around horses for her entire life with her father Adrian being a trainer- driver, while her uncle Glenn has been one of the state’s top-ranking reinsmen for decades.
The popular teenager believes that she benefitted greatly from the firm grounding she had from a young age, learning the ropes through the mini-trotting movement.
“I have been fortunate that my family have always encouraged and supported me to be involved with the horses,” she said.
“Others have supported me well and given me drives right from when I first gained my licence and I owe so much to Neil Shaw, who had me driving all of his horses, travelling to a lot of tracks to chase winners.
“In fact, I won my first race on Neil’s mare Kenfury Lass, shortly after I started driving.
“She was a really special horse to me.
“I am loving life in Tamworth it is a good place to live, and I have had some good results since being here with Sam.”
Caitlin will drive Wotnow Swanee in Race 3 and despite his numerical form not looking all that enticing, she believes that the gelding will show improvement.
“He does appear to be my best chance on Sunday,” she said.
“He has drawn well so if he gets the right run, he will be thereabouts.”
McElhinney’s second drive comes up in Race 6 in the shape of six-year-old entire, Power To Bolt, which was a last-start winner at Tamworth.
“He is an honest horse but will need a bit of luck from his barrier seven draw,” she said.
“He is coming up against quite a strong field this afternoon, but he will mix it with them as long as he gets the right run.”
Datizit (Madi Young) appears to be the best bet in the TAB Venue Mode Pace, which is Race 8 on the program.