Strapped into the two-wheeled sulky, I was wearing fluoro pink silks and an anxious grimace.

Half a metre from the back of the horse, this was the closest I had been to one of the animals since my old National Bank Eftpos card.

It didn't help I had searched on Google Image "dual sulky + harness racing + horrific accidents" just hours before getting in the seat for Alexandra Park's corporate race.

Between races three and four at the Auckland Cup opening night event I was paired with professional driver Nicky Chilcott, conveniently New Zealand's top female with more than 1,000 wins under her belt.


Our horse, with the pseudonym Bo Peep to protect its identity, was a 7-year-old gelding with impressively muscular legs.

After less than 10 minutes practice (which largely involved navigating horse droppings on the ground) Nicky was gently whipping Bo Peep into action. By the time we gathered speed on the track, stones were flicking my face and Nicky confirmed that yes, horses can go to the bathroom mid-race.

Bo Peep was dragging the chain as all four teams came to the starting gate, and it wasn't until we rounded the second corner that Nicky directed him left. Then, with a few light whips and some trash talking to the others, Bo Peep ramped up his run and we were nose-to-nose with team orange. Gripping my reins (purely for show) I thought we were going to win ... until we dropped into second at the finish.