NDC Contender: Louis-Philippe Roy

Gaines Hanover winning the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park
Published: November 2, 2022 10:30 am EDT

The 2022 National Driving Championship (NDC) is inching closer and the field of eight drivers who will compete for the chance to represent Canada is set. Each of the drivers were top performers in their regional event and will compete against the top drivers from across Canada. Trot Insider spoke with each of the contenders about a variety of topics leading up to the big event.    

Louis-Philippe Roy won the Ontario Regional Driving Championship by 19 points over the second-place finalist, Doug McNair, and he is looking forward to another opportunity to compete in the NDC, which takes place later this month on Nov. 24 at Century Mile.

Louis-Philippe Roy

*All stats as of Nov. 1, 2022.

Roy had earned a spot in the 2018 NDC, but unfortunately, he could not attend due to a conflict. 

This time around, Roy is not going to let anything get in his way of competing in the NDC. He is hoping for a positive result and would be honoured if he won and was able to wear the red and white silks for his country at the World Driving Championship next year in Europe. 

“I would feel proud to be the one selected to go and I would be proud to be the top driver in Canada,” said Roy. 

The 32-year-old Quebec native has never had the chance to race at Century Mile before, but he is familiar with racing on a bigger track as a regular driver at Woodbine Mohawk Park. This could be a decent advantage for Roy over others in the NDC line-up who drive on smaller tracks.

“I’ve been driving at Mohawk, and Woodbine back in the day, so I think that will help me out," he noted. "[Some of] the other guys seem to drive more on the half-mile tracks, so I think it will give me the advantage.”

The other seven competitors include fellow Ontario recap McNair along with Gilles Barrieau (Atlantic Canada), Marc Campbell (Atlantic Canada), Pascal Berube (Quebec / Eastern Ontario), Samuel Fillion (Quebec / Eastern Ontario), Mike Hennessy (Western Canada) and Dave Kelly (Western Canada).

Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton has hosted five Grey Cups over the last five decades and the big game is used to crown the champions of the Canadian Football League. Historically, these games have had their fair share of brutal winter conditions but many legendary players have been able to fight not only their opponents, but Mother Nature, to hoist the beloved Grey Cup. This year, Mother Nature will be standing in front of eight drivers from coast-to-coast. Like previously discussed with the other entrants in the NDC, the weather could play a huge role in the determination of the championship event and although Roy usually races in southern Ontario, he thinks he will be fine because of where he grew up.

“Everybody tells me it's going to be cold but I’m from northeastern Quebec, so I’m use to it. I’ll just put on an extra layer on,” he said.

ORDC winner Louis-Philippe Roy

Roy has been in the sulky as a driver for almost 15 years and over that time, he has made more than 11,800 starts. He has visited the winner's circle more than 2,000 times and horses he's driven have earned more than $35 million in purses. His best year as a driver was in 2018 when he won 416 times and earned just shy of $7.5 million. Roy was Canada's Future Star winner at the O'Brien Awards in 2016 and won back-to-back Driver of the Year titles in 2018 and 2019.

Roy, who picked up his first Breeders Crown trophy this past weekend, can often be seen driving at Woodbine Mohawk Park and at other tracks in southern Ontario. He will be working hard to make sure he can put himself in the best possible position to win the NDC. Make sure to catch him and the seven other drivers later this month in one of Canadian harness racing’s biggest events. 

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Trey Colbeck)

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