New Zealand stars Speeding Spur, Spankem and Pat’s Delight were the big winners out of the draws for Saturday’s Inter Dominion finals.
Each of the Kiwi trio had their prices shortened in betting markets after drawing crucial front row starting spots.
The A$150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Final draw has set up an enthralling clash between Speeding Spur and local Victorian star Tornado Valley.
Speeding Spur landed the ace draw of barrier one, five spots inside the favourite, who has barrier six.
Though it may appear Tornado Valley has been disadvantaged by his barrier, trainer Andy Gath does not think so.
“He actually begins better when he is drawn out wider, so it is not a disastrous draw.’’
“Drawing the front row, you have got to take what you can get. We could have drawn the second row in barriers 12 or 13 like some others did.
“Obviously our main danger Speeding Spur has the advantage in barrier one.”
Tornado Valley’s front-line draw confirmed his favouritism for Saturday night’s final at Melton.
The seven-year-old was at $1.60 over Speeding Spur – rated at $3.20 – when betting markets re-opened after Monday’s draw.
Tornado Valley’s favouritism alone is enough to cap an incredible 2018 for the trotter.
In February he had his last race in New Zealand when struggling to run a placing in an intermediate grade event at Addington.
Just over ten months later he is on the verge of Australasian stardom having won 17 of his next 20 starts.
“Never did I think he would turn in to the horse he has turned in to,” Gath said.
“He is a beautiful horse to work with; he is lovely gaited and he has got all the weapons he needs to be a good horse.
“He has got gate speed and he has got a great will to win and he has got toughness.”
New Zealand’s second seed in the Inter Dominion Trotting Final, Monty Python, drew favourably in barrier two.
Spankem’s barrier five draw saw him made the $2.50 favourite for Saturday night’s A$500,000 pacing final.
Pat’s Delight and Cruz Bromac shifted to $5 equal second favourites after drawing barriers three and spot two on the second row in barrier nine, respectively
Cruz Bromac’s barrier may have been enough to help his co-trainer, Natalie Rasmussen, decide to drive Spankem in the final.
A final decision on who Rasmussen and training partner Mark Purdon will sit behind is expected tomorrow.
The three-horse New Zealand pacing contingent look to have a significant barrier draw advantage over their main Australian rivals.
Final round heat winner, Tiger Tara, will have to start from the outside of the front line in barrier seven.
Fellow heat winner, Wrappers Delight has drawn two on the second row behind 100-to-one chance Can’t Refuse.
Galactic Star was the big winner among the Australian runners when landing barrier one.
He has the highly-touted San Carlo drawn behind him in barrier eight.
- NZ Harness News