Abby Sanderson has clashed with brother Ryan four times at the races in her short driving career, but is yet to get the better of her older and more experienced sibling.
That, she hopes, will all change on Friday night at Tabcorp Park Melton.
The 16-year-old has taken the drive on Loorrim Creek, a horse trained by her father Shane, in the Hygain Claiming Pace, where she will lock horns with stablemate Dikerry who will be partnered by Ryan.
Of the four battles between the two youngsters, the most memorable was when they drove the quinella in a race at Charlton on July 4. On that occasion, Ryan teamed up with Joe Thompson’s Cee Cee In America to win ahead of the family’s horse Minimum Wage, which was guided by Abby.
It will be a big thrill for the pair to compete at Victorian harness racing headquarters on Friday evening, but Shane said Abby is keen to begin evening up the ledger in the friendly rivalry that is developing between brother and sister.
The 43-year-old trainer said it was hard to split the two horses as winning chances, but did reveal who took the pick of the drives.
“At his best, it would have been Loorrim Creek (winning), but he’s just been a little bit below par lately,” he said.
“Abby chose Loorrim so I don’t know. I gave Ryan the option, but he didn’t sort of really care.
“Who has got the best chance? It’s a tough one really - I’d probably say Loorrim from the draw, but Dikerry is going good.
“At their best, either of them can win.”
Loorrim Creek has been a great campaigner, winning 21 of 98 career starts and more than $220,000 in prizemoney, while Dikerry, who was previously trained by Andy Gath, has picked up more than $140,000 from 14 victories.
Abby, a year 11 student, scored her one and only winner at Maryborough late last month, while Ryan has quickly emerged as one of the state’s best young drivers since making the move to Charlton from New South Wales with the family earlier this year. He has booted home more than 50 winners so far, highlighted by his recent victory in the Group 3 Aldebaran Park Touch Merchant Trotters Free For All with Travel Bug.
Team Sanderson gelding Sea Hawke has drawn gate one for the Beraldo Coffee Pace at Melton, with Abby to take the reins of a horse she has driven in his past four trips to the races.
Ryan’s other drive is for Mark Boyle, who sends Yapper around in the Hyland Race Colours 3YO Pace.
The Friday meeting at Melton is the last in a sequence of four while Saturday night metropolitan racing heads around the state. Dan Mielicki will assume his usual position in the caller’s box and form part of the duo for the expansive Trots Vision coverage alongside host Rob Auber.
Racing kicks off from 4.59pm, with the last of 12 to go at 10.40pm.