Amber Lethaby and Justamollyarcher. Photo: The Digital Birdcage.
Christchurch husband and wife Jason and Amber Lethaby are hunting a dream start as training partners at Addington on Friday night.
A rejig of the stable operations sees them join together and take on the horses formerly trained by Jason and also those prepared by Amber’s father, Ray Jenkins.
“Dad opted not to take his license out again because he wants to focus on his Aussie team through winter,” said Amber.
“He’ll come back and help out latter in the year, though. He’ll still spend his summers here.”
Jenkins is racing a couple of horses in Queensland “where he can enjoy some warmer weather”, according to his daughter.
Amber spent seven years working for Mark Jones but shifted back to the family property in recently.
“Dad’s been doing his Aussie thing for the last four years and I was having to come here after working at Mark’s and jog his team up for him while he was away.”
The long days became too much of a strain so she has joined forces with her ‘hubby’.
Beau Vista and Franco Riot are the two they take to the races this week and there is a feeling in the camp that both are live chances in fairly average fields.
“Jason always really liked him. He qualified him at the Cup Day trials in 2015 but it’s been problem after problem with him and we don’t know if we’ve figured them all out just yet.
“He’s a funny horse, too – he can come off the gate and is then prone to galloping after 100 metres.
“If he does everything right, I think he’s a chance in that field.”
Franco Riot has been the bridesmaid in his last three starts, so his consistency is not in question.
Lethaby figures his best chance this week will be to find the marker pegs early in the 1980-metre short course maiden.
“He’s got to be a good chance in that. He’s got a handier draw this week and hopefully we can use it.
“We’ve never really asked him to hunt out of the gate, but I think his best position will be on the markers.
“Whether he has the speed to cross and I get there, I guess we will see.
“But if he does come out well, I think he will be thereabouts.”
Amber drives both horses and will be looking to continue on from last season’s superb effort in the sulky.
She drove 13 winners from just 65 drives, which was the eighth-best strikerate in the country for any driver who had more than 25 drives.
Seven of those 13 wins came with a trio of nice trotters that are all back in work and targeting spring racing.
“McLovin, Justamollyarcher and Globe Trekker are all on track for the workouts by the end of the month,” she said.