Tamworth Paceway: Pheasants Nest-based reinswoman Ellen Rixon drives Merry Jasper to win

TEEN TALENT: Ellen Rixon had a winning debut at Tamworth Paceway behind Merry Jasper. Photo: PeterMac Photography
TEEN TALENT: Ellen Rixon had a winning debut at Tamworth Paceway behind Merry Jasper. Photo: PeterMac Photography

NSW Standardbreds Owners Association ambassador Ellen Rixon had a winning introduction to Tamworth Paceway on Friday afternoon.

The 18 year old was paying her first visit to Tamworth and on an eight-event program the Pheasants Nest-based reinswoman fulfilled seven driving engagements.

Although Rixon achieved a third in the opening event behind Narcissist in the Michael Brown Maiden Pace and a second with Somebeach N Clovelly in the Marie Neil Pace, it was only in the final event of the day that the young reinswoman enjoyed success.

“It’s good to get the ‘A’ set into the winner’s circle,” said Rixon, who was referring to her race colours of white body and light blue sleeves with the NSWSOA insignia on them.

Rixon guided Merry Jasper to a win in the Join The NSW Owner’s Association Pace for Tamworth trainer Brendan Hunt.

“I was confident when he got the lead so it worked out really well,” said Rixon, who sent Merry Jasper straight to the lead from the one barrier in the 1980 metre race.

Manoflisa with Cameron Davies in the spider placed the pressure on Merry Jasper throughout the race which was run in 2min01.1sec, with the first quarter run in 30.1sec, the second 30.8sec, the third 29.9sec and the final 31.3 sec.

“I was pretty confident when the others were coming at him,” said Rixon of her chances of a win as she raced down the home straight on the final occasion. “And it was hard because I didn’t know the horse but he kept going so I was happy.”

With instructions from trainer Brendan Hunt  of try and lead, Rixon went one better when she hit the front out of the one barrier with the eight-year-old gelding never headed.

Merry Jasper had an eventual 2.6me win over Manolisa and Yes Brother Yes (Ricky Gordon) a head away third.

After winning the Ellen Rixon Ambassador Pace at Penrith the previous evening with Major Steppe, it was an early rise for Ellen, who travelled to Tamworth with NSWSOA chairman Michael Brown. 

“I have enjoyed the day here at Tamworth – it’s been good and I have met some good people as well,” she said.

“It was good to have some support behind me,” she added in reference to the trainers of her horses, as her driving fees for the day went to her chosen charity, Beyond Blue.

“I love doing it – I really enjoy doing it.”

Rixon has accomplished a lot in her short career, and she values the support of her parents, Peter and Cindy, her grandfather, Tony Turnbull.

“Hopefully they watched this race,” she said in reference to drive behind Merry Jasper. “And not the others.”