Promising teenage driver out to make mark in Queensland

Mitch Ford driving at Menangle. Pictures: Racing at Club Menangle Trackside.

Mitch Ford is a name on the rise in the Australian driving ranks and the teenager is eager to make his mark in the Sunshine State during the 2023 Constellations Carnival.

The 19-year-old Tasmanian reinsman has linked up with high-profile trainer Jason Grimson and will campaign their horses through Queensland this winter.

Ford quickly established himself as a premier driver on the Apple Isle and has been under the guidance of reigning Blacks A Fake-winning conditioner Grimson for the last couple of months.

The talented youngster already has more than a ton of winners to his name.

He takes one drive on Saturday’s Albion Park program, which will come in the feature of the evening, the Listed Lucky Creed.

Grimson has won major races for fun over the last couple of years and he is impressed with Ford since he joined his barn.

“He goes pretty good, having won the Tassie premiership last year as a 19-year-old, winning the senior and juniors premiership,” the premier trainer said.

Ford is set to partner the Grimson-prepared Abouttime on Saturday.

Abouttime was placed at Group 1 level earlier in his career and is rated as a $4.40 chance with the TAB as of Friday afternoon.

“I think he has been going not too badly as he is only new to the free for all races in Sydney,” the young reinsman said of Abouttime.

“He was handy when he first came up and the last couple of starts we have had to use him up early and I do not think he goes that well from it.

Mitch Ford driving at Menangle. Pictures: Racing at Club Menangle Trackside.

“I think it will be a tough assignment for him first-up up here in Queensland but the way he has been going, he should go ok.

“From five, I will probably have to press out for a little bit but if I can lob handy enough then I think he can fill the minors.”

Ford’s older brother, Nathan, is also a driver back in Tasmania.

It was the 36-year-old Nathan who knew Grimson for many years before the NSW-based trainer offered Mitch a job.

“He is a great little driver, horses run for him,” Nathan said of his younger brother.

“When people in Sydney click on that he can drive, I think he will be one of the better ones there.”

Mitch also worked for Andy and Kate Gath in Victoria for eight months a couple of years back.

Mitch has already won two black-type races in his three driving seasons and is hopeful of gaining more opportunities while in the Sunshine State.

“I am really liking it up here and I like the style of racing up here,” the teenager said.

“Hopefully it all works out up here.

“Hopefully I can get as many drives as I can while I am up here and driving on Saturday night should get my name out there more.

“That is the plan to get as many mid-week drives as possible.”

Grimson has a quartet of runners set to face the starter in town on Saturday night as well as two in at Redcliffe on Friday evening. 

The 2023 Constellations Carnival will be contested at three unique venues with horses and connections competing for over $3 million in prize money.

Cameron Hart and Jason Grimson with the spoils from last year’s Blacks A Fake.