Speeding Spur was the big winner among the New Zealand Inter Dominion contingent when the barrier draws were announced for the opening heats of the series on Monday.
The John and Josh Dickie-trained square-gaiter has drawn perfectly in barrier two in the first heat of the trotting series at Melton on Saturday night.
Landing that starting spot saw Australian bookmakers open the seven-year-old at $1.35 win odds.
Speeding Spur has been prepped for his Inter Dominion tilt at the Dickies’ Clevedon property and will fly to Melbourne on Wednesday night.
It is a familiar trip for reigning New Zealand trotter of the year and his team, and it is one his trainers expect him to thrive on.
“If anything he loves the travelling, he likes getting away from home,” Josh Dickie said.
“He knows he is in charge at home, but when he is away he relaxes out a bit.
“Flying and going to a different property is something he doesn’t have to worry about usually.”
The Dickies gave Speeding Spur a thorough checking over after he returned to their stable following his fourth behind Marcoola in the Dominion.
The horse passed their inspection with flying colours to book his ticket to Victoria.
“He got home straight away; we had to obviously make sure everything was all good with him before we decided to go to the Inter Dominions.
“Everything was all good and his trackwork has been great and we are looking forward to getting him over there.”
Josh Dickie has five days to study the form of the 11 rivals drawn around him.
Monty Python, who is a solid mobile beginner, also contests the opening trotting heat for Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson.
Alderbeck, who is only a moderate off the gate, drew nicely in barrier four for Williamson in the second heat of the trotting series.
She has the favourite and gate-flyer, Torando Valley, two spots outside her in barrier 6.
The Andy Gath-trained trotter opened at $1.50 odds heat two.
Wilma’s Mate, who joined ex-pat Kiwi Tim Butt’s stable late last week, has drawn barrier one.
Cruz Bromac looks to have fared best of the New Zealand pacers on the opening night after landing barrier four in the third pacing heat.
His hopes were given a boost when his main rival, Let It Ride, drew barrier one on the second row.
Cruz Bromac opened at $1.45 odds with Australian bookmakers.
Pat’s Delight’s two on the second line draw initially did not look fantastic, but it turned in to a great marble when gate-speedster, Wrappers Delight, drew in front of him.
The Cran Dalgety-trained four-year-old clashes with Tiger Tara and fellow New Zealander, Spankem, in the heat one of the pacing series.
Series favourite, Tiger Tara, has drawn nicely in barrier three.
He opened a $2.60 favourite ahead of Wrappers Delight, who was at $2.80 odds for heat one.
Spankem has barrier five in the heat, which looks to have plenty of early fireworks.
Heat 2 of the pacing series, which does not feature any New Zealand horses, is headed by former Kiwi – and New Zealand-owned – Franco Nelson.
All of the five Interdominion heats will be run over 2240m.