There’s nothing worse for a driver than having the choice of two runners in a race.
But that was the scenario confronting promising Dubbo reinsman Tom Pay for Sunday’s TAB Pace (2120m) at Dubbo Paceway.
He has been the regular driver for both Sunscreen and Snoop Stride in recent months, but he has elected to drive the latter on the strength of a last-start win at Tamworth.
Whether it pans out to be the right decision remains to be seen, but the 18-year-old says he’s comfortable with the decision.
“Both of the horses are going really well, so it was a tough call,” he said.
“But I drove six hours from Bathurst up to Tamworth to drive Snoop last time, and he won really well for me, so that was what made me go with him.
“They are the two horses that have probably helped me most as a driver and they’re so consistent that they have helped get my name out there a bit.
“Snoop has drawn bad in barrier six but I reckon Sunscreen will go forward from two, and the horses in three and four will probably go forward as well, so hopefully I can slot in somewhere.”
Pay is currently in Bathurst helping Steve Turnbull. It’s a task he has filled every school holidays for the past four years.
And while he comes from a renowned local pacing family, being able to spend time with a full-time harness set-up is hugely beneficial for his progress as a driver.
“Steve has been great for me, and I learn something new every time I come down here and work with him,” Pay said.
“There’s no full-time trainers in Dubbo so it can be hard, because it is something I love to do. My family all poke around with a couple of horses but being able to work constantly with so many horses in a big stable has been really beneficial.”
Pay has four drives on Sunday, and aside from Snoop Stride one of his others will be Brocks Under Fire for Turnbull.
And he admits he would love to drive a winner for the man who has helped him so much.
“Brocks Under Fire has been going pretty well and he usually come out well and then try to take a sit on something,” Pay said.
“He’s drawn okay in barrier three and I reckon he will run well.
“I’m also driving The Only Child for Pete Gavin, and I think he will be really hard to beat.
“He’s drawn a bit awkwardly in barrier seven but if I can have any luck on him and get off the pegs at some stage, I think he’s the best horse in the race and could easily run over the top of them.”
Six very competitive races will be held on the TAB card at Dubbo Showground.
The first event is scheduled to be run at 1.58pm, with the last to leave the mobile at 4.55pm.