Day At The Track
Galactic Star,Harness racing

Gartrell in line for a massive 48 hours

If Rob Gartrell allows himself the luxury of dreaming, he could be in line for a massive 48 hours as he strives for a memorable feature interstate double. Perth’s prolific owner could have up to four runners in Friday’s Group 1 Golden Nugget (2536m) at Gloucester Park, headed by Ana Malak, Bettor Aim and Mighty Conqueror. Once his commitments are done and dusted on home soil his attention and focus will turn to Melton in Victoria where he will be represented by Galactic Star in the 2018 Inter Dominion. Western Australia’s sole representative has stepped up to the plate and proved he could be up to the task after recording one win and two placings from the three round of heats. And in a further morale boost for Gartrell and trainers, Greg and Skye Bond, Galactic Star has drawn the coveted inside draw at a function on Monday. What started as an ambitious and lucrative target for Galactic Star has now turned into a distinct winning reality. The Perth pacer is now rated a $5 chance. “That was very exciting and to get barrier one in an Inter Dominion final is exactly what we were hoping for,” Gartrell said on TABradio. “It certainly gives us a good chance in the race and sets ourselves up to be very competitive. “I think the horse has done a fantastic job in the series and it’s the perfect draw for him. “He has good gate speed as we know and should be able to hold up.” After reinsman Todd McCarthy handled the heats, Gartrell confirmed Ryan Warwick had been booked to drive Galactic Star in the final. “Ryan has had a terrific season and is a very important part of our team,” Gartrell said. “He has driven at Melton before and is looking forward to the trip.” Gartrell said he was hoping to get similar good fortune in the barriers for his runners in the Golden Nugget. Ana Malak has underlined his potential with two wins from as many starts since coming to Perth. The Bettors Delight colt is chasing back-to-back feature wins after posting a determined victory in the Group 1 Yes Loans 4YO Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park on November 30. Bettor Aim also holds an unbeaten record in Perth when he brought up his fifth win at Pinjarra last-start when defeating Marquisard on November 19. Mighty Conqueror posted four wins in a line before coming unstuck behind Ana Malak, running third in the Yes Loans 4YO Classic. “We are going to have good representation in the Nugget,” Gartrell said. “Bettor Aim, Mighty Conqueror and Ana Malak will be very competitive depending on the draws. “It gives us firepower in the race and we should be right in the cut up I would think.”   Julio Santarelli 

Taurisi

Scene is set for Tassie Gold Apple Final

Classy six-year-old Taurisi proved he’s one of the best pacers in the state with his outstanding win in heat one of the Tassie Golden Applie Series  in Launceston on Sunday night. Punters who had backed the Todd Rattray trained and driven pacer into $1.70 had their hearts in their mouths until Todd extricated the Always’s A Virgin – Exclusif gelding away from the peg line at the 800-metre mark. With runs coming on his outside Todd sat quietly and although shuffled back to third last down the back the popular pick was now seeing daylight. Todd eased Taurisi (pictured) to the outside inside the 400-metre pole and he powered home down the stretch out five wide to gain the day in the last few strides over Mister Lennox, Offthetopofmyhead and Another Swinger. “Getting him away from the stand is always tricky, we didn’t lose a lot of ground at the start and we got a soft run which is what he needs in his races and I knew once we got into the clear he could run them down,” said Todd. Taurisi recorded a mile rate of 2.02.7 with the last half of 57.7 sec, but it wasn’t a race that was won on times, it was won by a cool-headed driver and a horse that showed his courage and tenacity to be never beaten. With the first heat run and won attention quickly turned to heat two and the eagerly awaited clash of Scooterwillrev and reigning Easter Cup winner Harjeet. The rock hard race fitness of the Craig Hayes prepared Scooterwillrev, the winner of five of his last six starts, up against Harjeet first up from a six-month spell. “Scooterwillrev was very impressive, finding the lead at the mile and running sensational sectionals coming home the last half in 55.6 seconds, but I was very happy with Harjeet’s effort to sit outside the leader and stick on so gamely in the stretch to finish third running those times,” said Todd. “He appears to have pulled up well, we don’t work him hard at home as he gets his fitness from racing so with the run under his belt he will strip much fitter for Friday night’s Gold Apple Final Todd was also aboard Harjeet’s half-brother Izaha in the second race of the night, the Roll With Joe – Our Zellweger four-year-old made it seven wins from a 12 start career with a herculean effort to defeat Secluded Beach by a head. “He was first up since May, started from outside the front line and to then race in the death and run the time they did of 1:56.1 for the mile was a super performance,” said a delighted trainer-driver. “Given he begins well from the tapes I might run him in the Country Cups but his main mission is the Raider Stakes at Devonport in May.”   Shane Yates

Im Pats Delight Round 2 STU.jpg

Lang draws three for both ID18 Grand Finals

Champion driver Gavin Lang secured gate three for both his 2018 TAB Inter Dominion pacing and trotting drives at this morning's barrier draw. Held at Zinc Federation Square on the banks of the Yarra, the TAB ID18 Barrier Draw and Breakfast of Champions attracted plenty of guests and grabbed the attention of morning commuters in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Lang, who pilots impressive Kiwi Im Pats Delight in the pacing grand final and trotter Save Our Pennys in the trotting decider, has two live chances on the biggest stage of all. The master reinsman said both horses were progressing well through the ID18 series to date but would have to step it up again to secure harness racing's holy grail. Save Our Pennys heads into the trotting decider a $14 shot after finishing second in all his qualifying heats behind the raging ID18 favourite Tornado Valley. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven a lot of very good trotters in my career and I would have been prepared to say this one’s not a patch on any of those ones, especially the three Inter Dominion winners,” Lang said when asked about the recent progress of the seven-year-old. “But I must say he’s really exceeded my expectations (through ID18).” Lang also said Save Our Pennys’ fitness was improving each run after his first-up second off a 30-metre handicap in the Geelong Trotting Cup. “He got beaten on his merits at Geelong and I thought if he improves 10 per cent from that in the first of the Inter Dominion heats I’d be pleased. I wasn’t expecting him to come out and run second,” Lang said. “He’s improved each run through this series and three seconds is more than I would have expected. “The distance of the final (2760m) is no burden for him and he’s just an old-fashioned horse who puts his head down and gets on with it. He’s got a great demeanour.” Cran Dalgety-trained Im Pats Delight is a four-year-old New Zealand pacer, who has gone from strength to strength through the heat rounds. “It’s a daunting task for a four-year-old to contest an Inter Dominion series but he is very mature and he seems to be getting through each run well,” Lang said. Meanwhile, Nat Rasmussen has chosen Cruz Bromac as her ID18 drive in the pacing final with partner Mark Purdon picking up the reins aboard fancied stablemate Spankem. Click here for the ID18 final fields   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Galactic Star,Harness racing

Former kiwi pacer emerges as the key player

A little-known former New Zealand pacer has emerged as the key player in the A$500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final.  Because while former Southland pacer Galactic Star has had a top class career in West Australia, he would rarely have been on the radar of most New Zealand punters, even the serious harness racing players, until this Interdom series in Victoria.  Yet after drawing the ace for Saturday night’s 2760m final at Melton, the attitude of his connections could decide the race.  Galactic Star, who won four races in New Zealand two years ago when trained by Des Baynes, won his first night heat of this series using blazing gate speed and has been very good when placed in his subsequent two heats.  But his impact on the final outcome has been boosted enormously by him drawing barrier one, from where he looks certain to lead.  If driver Ryan Warwick wants to stay in front that will mean no shot at the lead for key front line runners Pat Delight (barrier three), Spankem (five) or Tiger Tara (seven).  It would almost certainly mean plenty of pressure to try and break him and potentially bring a horse like series points leader Cruz Bromac into contention after he fared poorly in the draw, copping the second line  But if Warwick and the Galactic Star’s connections decide the trail is the place to be then either of the well-favoured Kiwis, Pats Delight or Spankem, will fancy their chances of running to the front and therefore becoming the one to beat.   Spankem’s incredible rise throughout this series continued after the draw as he is now the $2.80 favourite for the classic just six weeks after punters could have got $41 for him to win it.  He has thrilled co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen with how he has bounced through his three heats but she has decided to stick with Cruz Bromac as her drive out of loyalty, having driven him five times for five wins.  That means training partner Mark Purdon takes the reins behind Spankem and gives him a shot at a unique piece of Inter Dominion history as he has won the last two pacing finals driving Smolda and Lazarus so could make it a three-peat on three different horses.  Spankem, who won only once last season as a three-year-old, is favourite over Pats Delight and Cruz Bromac still the third favourite even though his task looks enormously more difficult as he won’t be able to use his gate speed.  Gate speed and tactical decisions could also decide the A$150,000 Trotting Final on Saturday, which after the draw looks a two-horse race.  South Auckland trotter Speeding Spur has the advantage of barrier one giving co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie options of whether to stay in front or elects to trail favourite Tornado Valley.  The latter has drawn barrier six and may even have the raw speed to cross Speeding Spur but if the pair lead and trail it looks curtains for their rivals. (THESE FIELDS TO BE BROKEN OUT ON RUNNER PER LINE) The fields for the two Inter Dominion finals to be run at Melton on Saturday night are: $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final, 2760m mobile, 11.45 (NZtime) 1: Galactic Star 2: Can’t Refuse 3: Im Pats Delight 4: Mach Doro 5: Spankem 6: Maximan 7: Tiger Tara 8: San Carlo (1 second line) 9: Cruz Bromac 10: Our Uncle Sam 11: Wrappers Delight 12: Audi Hare (em) 13: Cash N Flow A$150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Final, 2760m, 11.08 NZtime 1: Speeding Spur 2: Monty Python 3: Save Our Pennys 4: Rompers Monarchy 5: Big Jack Hammer 6: Tornado Valley 7: Sky Petite 8: Illawong Armstrong (1 second line, em) 9: Tough Monarch 10: Kingdom Come 11: Kyvalley Blur 12: Wilmas Mate 13: Red Hot Tooth   Michael Guerin

The barrier starting positions for both the trotters and pacers for the 2018 Interdominions finals have been drawn this morning. In the trotters final the big winner after the barrier draw is the John and Josh Dickie trained Speeding Spur who drew the coveted ace, with his main rival Tornado Valley drawn wider out on the track at barrier six. The pacers draw saw the favourite Cruz Bromac draw barrier nine with main rivals Tiger Tara drawn seven and Spankem drawing barrier five.   Pacers Final Barrier Draws    Trotters Final Barrier Draws     Harnesslink Media  

NATALIE Rasmussen is no closer to choosing between Inter Dominion big guns Cruz Bromac and Spankem as her drive in next Saturday’s $500,000 Grand Final. Most expected she would do so after Monday's barrier draw, but that’s not the case. “It’s such a hard call. I’d like to wait as long as possible, but I’ll probably do it after I see the draw and then jog them both on Tuesday morning,” Rasmussen said. “They are both so well, have thrived over here and did it really again in their heats tonight (at Cranbourne).” Mark Purdon will drive whichever Rasmussen opts not to partner. Spankem again stamped himself as the “find” of the series when he dominated and won easily in the first of the third round pacing heats at Cranbourne last night. The nuggety gelding made a midrace move from a back row draw to find the lead and cruised to a 7.7m win over a gallant Galactic Star in a 1min58sec mile rate for 2555m, capped by closing splits of 54.8 and 28sec flat. “He’s done so well, almost too well, during the series. He’s put on at least 5kgs during it. I had to jog him the morning of the Ballarat heats and then had to gallop him this morning (before Cranbourne),” Rasmussen said. “He’s just such a good doer.” Galactic Star finished the qualifiers with a win and two strong placings and with Todd McCarthy driving Tiger Tara in the final, trainer Greg Bond confirmed stable driver Ryan Warwick would come across for Perth for the Grand Final. As sharp as Spankem looked, Cruz Bromac did more work, went much quicker time and seemed to win just as easily in his Cranbourne heat last night. “Well I didn’t pull the plugs, so he did it pretty easily,” Rasmussen said. Cruz Bromac went a 1min56.5sec mile rate, ran home in 55.0 and 28.5sec and finished the only unbeaten runner through the three rounds of heats. The Aussie TAB was more impressed with Cruz Bromac and firmed him from $4 into $3.40 favourite for the final, while Spankem eased from $4 to $4.20. The Kiwi influence on the final absolutely extends to Cran Dalgety’s four-year-old Im Pats Delight, who ran a terrific second to Cruz Bromac last night. It followed a second to Spankem on night one and easy win on night two. Driver Gavin Lang was so bullish after last night’s race and headed to the final. “Swap the runs tonight and Cruz Bromac would’ve have beaten us,” he said. “Just looking at this horse, he’s improving through the series and I’m sure he’s got a great chance in the final. I’m really looking forward to it.” Lang, arguably the greatest driver of all time, has never won an Inter Dominion Pacing Final. Australia’s best hope, warhorse Tiger Tara, snared his first win of the series when he worked to the front and just staved-off the much-improved Our Uncle Sam in a 1min57.1sec mile rate. He is $4.60 third favourite for the final. “He was all out on the line. Sure I’d like him to have a little more easily, but there’s a couple of things to consider,” driver Todd McCarthy said. “He wasn’t totally at home on the track and switched on and off a fair bit, plus his first two heat runs were so soft I actually think he needed the run tonight. “Kev knows the horse so well. I’m sure with the week until the final he’ll have him spot on. We just need a (good) draw now.” Highly-rated Victorians San Carlo and Wrappers Delight divided opinions last night. San Carlo did plenty of midrace work to park outside Tiger Tara and battled away well for third. It’s clear he will need a gun draw and the right run to win the final. Wrappers Delight, who led throughout at Ballarat, had a cosy three-peg run, got clear at the right time and just plugged away in the home straight when fifth to Spankem. It was a very plain run, but driver Kima Frenning remained upbeat. “I was happy with the run. It was his first run over the long distance for a long time. He’ll be better for it,” she said. On what he did last night, he’s no longer a winning chance in the final. The crucial barrier is at 11am (NZ time) tomorrow morning. INTER DOMINION PACING FINAL FIELD AND MARKET $3.40 CRUZ BROMAC, $4.20 Spankem, $4.60 Tiger Tara, $6.50 San Carlo, $7.50 Im Pats Delight, $9 Wrappers Delight, $12 Galactic Star, $41 Our Uncle Sam, $61 Cant Refuse, $71 Cash N Flow, $101 Mach Doro, $151 Village Witch (2nd emerg), $201 Audi Hare (1st emerg) Adam Hamilton

NOT even a bad barrier could be enough to stop home town star Tornado Valley from winning the Inter Dominion trotting final. While his key rivals have been falling by the wayside of mixing form through the heats, Tornado Valley looks in the zone and on the up. The only scare Andy Gath’s former Kiwi trotter had at Cranbourne last night was when a rear bandage unravelled in the home straight and fans watched, grimacing in the hope he didn’t step on it. Crisis averted, Tornado Valley cruised to his third win from as many heats and firmed from $2 to $1.60 to win the final ahead of tomorrow’s barrier draw. If he draws to lead easily he will be $1.30 or so. And even from the worst draw – say inside back row (eight) our outside the back (12) – it’s hard to see him starting longer than $2-2.20ish. There’s no doubt classy Kiwi Speeding Spur is his major rival, but there is a doubt whether he’s thriving through the gruelling series like Tornado Valley. Speeding Spur was arrogant winning on night one, brave running third to Tornado Valley at Ballarat then workmanlike winning in the weaker heat at Cranbourne last night. Driver Josh Dickie nursed Speeding Spur as much and as long as he could for a 1.6m win over the emerging Big Jack Hammer. It was considerably slower time than Tornado Valley’s win and looked much harder work. Speeding Spur will need to draw well and Tornado Valley poorly for the Kiwi to have a realistic chance of upsetting the local in the final. Outside the star pair, veteran Kyvalley Blur was sound again last night, Save Our Pennys used another gun draw and soft trip to chase home Tornado Valley and Tough Monarch ran his third brave race in the heats. But is either of that trio good enough to beat Tornado Valley? Only if plenty goes wrong for the favourite it would seem. Kiwi pair Monty Python and Wilmas Mate also made the final, but look out of their depth on what we’ve seen in the heats. INTER DOMINION TROTTING FINAL FIELD AND MARKET $1.60 TORNADO VALLEY, $3.60 Speeding Spur, $10 Kyvalley Blur, $14 Save Our Pennys, $16 Tough Monarch, $31 Big Jack Hammer, $61 Kingdom Come, Red Hot Tooth, Sky Petite, $71 Monty Python, $81 Wilmas Mate, $101 Illawong Armstrong (1stemerg), $151 Rompers Monarchy, $201 Enrolled (2nd emerg). Adam Hamilton

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Colt Thirty One solidified his position as the state’s best pacer with a brilliant come from near last to first victory in the $21,160 AQWA Constructions Christmas Cup at Albion Park last night (Saturday). The Grant Dixon trained and driven four-year-old was having his first official open class start when tackling the 2680m mobile start feature and many proven and seasoned stars. Starting from a tricky second-line draw, Dixon sat patiently towards the rear of the field with Colt Thirty One ($2 fav) before gaining perfect three-wide cover over the concluding stages before unleashing a devastating sprint to easily beat Aztec Bromac ($8.50) and Alleluia ($16). The Mach Three entire created a new race record when posting a winning mile rate of 1:56.4. The lead time was covered in 77.5 seconds; sectionals for the final mile were covered in 28.8, 30, 29.1 and 28.4 seconds. Triple Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova led the way from his inside draw before being overpowered over the concluding stages. “We’ve waited an entire life time to breed a horse like this and we’re so thrilled with the way he keeps stepping up to the challenge. It looked to be a tough challenge from the draw but Grant gave him another perfect drive and it was fantastic to see him round them up as easily as he did.” Winning owner/breeder Kevin Seymour said. Trading under the banner of Solid Earth Pty Ltd, Seymour shares ownership with his wife Kay. The victory of Colt Thirty One takes his record to 22 wins from 32 starts while banking more than $420,000. Colt Thirty One will back-up in next week’s feature, the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, a feature over the distance of 2138mbefore embarking on a Sydney campaign centred around the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire at TABCORP Park, Menangle on February 16. In the other feature, the $21,160 AQWA Constructions ‘Forever Gold’ Mares Open Pace, race favourite Smooth Showgirl ($1.60) led throughout to beat a game Eleniark ($2.60) and Annika Magic ($71) in a time of 1:55.7. The Art Major mare posted sectionals of 28.6, 32.1, 28.5 and 26.7 seconds. Prepared by Ian Gurney and handled by young Sydney reinsman Chris Geary, Smooth Showgirl registered her 20th victory from 69 starts while taking her career earning past the $300,000 mark. Next week, the Queensland summer carnival comes to a climatic ending with the running of the Gr.2 $50,660 Egmont Park Stud Queensland Cup, the Gr.2 $40,770 Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship Final, the $21,160 C2/C5 feature plus the $14,999 King of the Claimers Final. It promises to be another exciting night of action. Chris Barsby

Tough mare Millview Sienna has caused one of the great Group 1 upsets in last night’s Mares Classic (2536m) at Gloucester Park, storming home to defeat classy mare Eden Franco. The barrier draw for the Group 1 event opened up the possibility for there to be an upset, after fancied runners Eden Franco and Maczaffair were dealt tricky draws. There was plenty of action in the early stages, as Our Angel Of Harlem and Eden Franco both tried to cross to the front, in doing so Chris Voak, driving Gotta Go Gobana, was left with a flat tyre. Eden Franco and Our Angel Of Harlem eventually were able to lead the field, as Millview Sienna settled three pairs back on the inside. Reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was able to get away from the inside on the back straight in the final lap and was able to set out after Eden Franco. Eden Franco appeared to have the race in her keeping 100m from the finish, but Millview Sienna produced a strong finishing burst to record her 11th victory from 45 starts. It was Cortopassi’s first Group 1 success, while it was a second win at the top level for trainer Ray Williams. Millview Sienna’s win kick-started what could be a huge weekend for the Williams family, with Ray’s son Grant, together with Grant’s wife Alana, saddling up the two favourites in the Kingston Town Classic at Ascot. Williams Snr said he had received great support from his son, who carved out a successful Harness Racing career prior to switching to the thoroughbreds. “I don’t think I’ve set the standard, but I hope it helps them,” he said. “I had a phone call from him when she crossed the line.” Williams Snr said he was hoping Millview Sienna would be able to figure in the finish and admitted the mare could be better than he gave her credit for. “The draw she got, I thought with a bit of luck she could hang in there and run in the first five,” he said. “When she won, I couldn’t believe it, I love the way she went to the line. “I suppose we have to start thinking a bit more positively with her now.” She Could Be Good, a $151 chance with TABtouch, finished third in the Group 1 event. Meanwhile, Jack Mac is in doubt for next week’s Group 1 Golden Nugget, after he pulled up sore from his win last night’s Nugget Prelude. Benhope Rulz loomed up to Jack Mac in the home straight and the favourite looked vulnerable for a fleeting moment. However, the Barry Howlett-trained pacer fought on to win by 2.5m. Lewis said it was likely to be just a foot abscess for Jack Mac, who now needs a vet certificate to race in next Friday’s four-year-old feature. “He did dip at the 300 as if he trod on something,” he said. “From then on, he was a little bit sore, so I pulled him up and got him checked out. “It was a good run, but there is just a query now.” In the other feature event of the night, Runrunjimmydunn and Vultan Tin dead-heated in the Free-For-All. Vultan Tin’s reinsman Chris Voak predicted a prosperous summer campaign ahead for the Phil Costello-trained pacer, after he finished fourth in last year’s Inter Dominion Final.   Tim Walker

Back in 2005, Chris Frisby realised one of his major harness racing dreams. His talented son of Fake Left, Dinki Di, a family-bred gelding, won the Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst. “For 18 years I have been trying to win this race,” Frisby said at the time. “I knew Shirley a long time before that and she was just a lovely, lovely lady.” Thirteen years later and Frisby still recalls fondly that victory, but says a TAB Inter Dominion start is challenging that day as a personal harness highlight. His five-year-old gelding Our Uncle Sam last night jumped into the ID18 pacing final courtesy of a slashing second behind Tiger Tara in the third-round heat at Cranbourne. “I’m so rapt. I have to slap myself in the face to tell if it’s real,” he said. “You always dream of an Inter Dominion runner. “I’ve always said Inter Dominion, Hunter Cup, Derbies, Oaks and the Shirley Turnbull Memorial are the races I want to win. “The last one some may not have heard of, but I won it with Dinki Di and that was probably my biggest thrill. We smashed the track record and it was a race I always wanted to win.” Our Uncle Sam qualified for the TAB ID18 final by running fourth on opening night at Melton, seven at Ballarat when covering ground throughout and a fast-finishing second on night three. Frisby's son Anthony drives the horse. And another stride and he probably would have pipped Tiger Tara at the weekend. “I might have took my head off and put a pumpkin on, but I’ve always thought that we’d be a chance in the Inter Dominion with the right run,” Frisby said. “He’s going good enough and I don’t think I’ve ever had him any better than he is now. He’s made the jump, but you always need luck in running.” Check out the full list of ID18 standings Trots Media - Cody Winnell

The morning after three of his horses secured berths in TAB Inter Dominion grand finals, passionate trots owner Dom Martello is both dreaming of an ID18 trophy and studying pedigrees for future sales. “I bought all these horses as yearlings,” he says proudly, pointing at the fact that last night and this morning he’s been delving into the breeding and studying the type of horses like Spankem as he plans for future members of his equine Hammer team. Martello will attend tomorrow morning’s TAB ID18 barrier draws at Zinc, Federation Square, where he’ll be hoping to draw successful gates for his two pacers, Wrappers Delight and Mach Doro, and his trotting star Big Jack Hammer for Saturday night’s grand finals at Tabcorp Park Melton. Martello said Wrappers Delight had especially been taking him on the ride of his life in recent times, the David Aiken-trained pacer securing feature wins such as the Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series Final, the Hygain Breeders Crown Championship, TAB Smoken Up Sprint and Cogs Services 4YO & 5YO Championship. “Wrappers in particular has been going through the dream list and ticking them off one by one, but this race (the Inter Dominion) is different,” Martello said. “I feel like if you win a race like the Inter Dominion then you go down in history. This is one race that you actually dare to dream.” Martello reserved special praise for young driver Kima Frenning (pictured above with Wrappers Delight by Ashlea Brennan), who has piloted both Wrappers Delight and Big Jack Hammer throughout their ID18 heats and helped secure both grand final berths. “One thing I especially like about Kima Frenning is she doesn’t have an ego. She’s hard working, positive and has talent. People like that just need a chance,” he said. Mach Doro is trained by Craig Cross and driven by star Sydney based reinsman Luke McCarthy. Tomorrow’s barrier draw will be live on Sky Racing 1, RSN and Sky Sports Radio from 9am, hosted by Greg Hayes and Adam Hamilton. From 6am until 10am RSN will broadcast live from Federation Square for the ID18 event, with roving panels and guests, including a half-hour Super Panel from 9.30am of Michael Felgate, Dan Mielicki, Jason Bonnington, Andy Gath and Adam Hamilton deep-diving into the form for the deciders. Head to the banks of the Yarra near Zinc to check out the show live, which will also feature HRV HERO ambassadors.  Check out the final TAB ID18 Standings   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Bianca Heenan, Hannah van Dongen, Ben Yole , Mark Yole and Rod Ashwood all enjoyed successful evenings in Hobart on Friday picking up winning doubles. Bianca Heenan extended her lead in the Female Trainers Premiership with the first two winners on the card both steered home by rising star Hannah van Dongen. “Big Bang Raj ran right up to his last outing to win strongly from a tricky draw outside the front line, he began well but couldn’t get across without using too much petrol so Hannah just allowed him to settle midfield and waited for the early speed to come out of the race before making her move,” said Bianca. “Big Bang Raj got a breather in the middle stages and when the pressure came on at the 400 metre mark he was ready to go and he took over turning for home and burst clear to win easily, I was also happy with the run of stablemate Swap Me which ran on strongly to run the quinella at double figure odds.” Bianca and Hannah team up again in race two with Alta Surreal making it back-to back victories after scoring in style at Carrick on Sunday. “Alta Surreal (pictured) is in a rich vein of form he won powerfully last week and once he found the front I was feeling confident, ” said the Brighton trainer. “He was attacked and headed by Jake’s A Joy at the bell but Hannah didn’t panic, she was rating Alta Surreal well and at the 400 metre pole she lifted the tempo and he strolled away for five  metre win.” Ben and Mark Yole combined with seven-year-old mare I’m Paige coming from the one – one and Diamond Grace overpowering The Lemon Drop Kid after sitting in the breeze while Rod Ashwood was successful with the Juanita McKenzie prepared Isacc toppling stablemate Laredo Torpedo before saluting in the last for Ken Shorter with odds-on favourite Betterthanfetta.   Shane Yates

A positive barrier draw on Monday morning could shift the TAB Inter Dominion market momentum back the way of New South Wales harness racing superstar Tiger Tara. One month after a heartbreaker in the New Zealand Trotting Cup, when Tiger Tara basically deserved to win but didn’t, the stable that pipped the Kevin Pizzuto trained eight-year-old just may stand between him and top-level success again. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen put the polish on exciting four-year-old Spankem, whose maturity belies his age, and Cruz Bromac, unbeaten in this year’s ID18 series to date. But if Tiger Tara’s connections pull the best marble, he could be the favourite with TAB.com.au by Monday lunchtime. “It’s going to come down to the draw, but I just have to say a few prayers and hope for a good alley,” Tiger Tara’s driver Todd McCarthy said. Rasmussen has an envious decision to make. It’s a tough call, but you’d prefer to have the choice than not. She can pick either Spankem or Cruz Bromac (pictured by Stuart McCormick) for next Saturday night’s $500,000 Group 1. “I don’t even know,” she said when quizzed which rein she would pull. “I will put them in a hat and draw one out. They are both just beautiful horses, neither of them would be a bad drive. They are both genuine winning chances, they’ve got everything. They’ve both got speed, they’ve both got strength. You couldn’t split them.” McCarthy believes the 2760m of the grand final will suit Tiger Tara. “He’s very tough. The distance is going to play into his hands. One thing’s for sure he’s going to do his best for us,” he said. Cruz Bromac produced the fastest mile rate tonight with a 1:56.5 run to defeat Im Pats Delight by 4.4m Post-race Gavin Lang told Sky’s Adam Hamilton if you reversed the runs of the winner and the second horse, the result would change, too. Im Pats Delight is certainly getting better all the time. Monday's barrier draws will occur at Zinc, Federation Square, from 9am, and will be broadcast live on Sky Racing 1, Sky Sports Radio and RSN.  To watch the video replays click on this link. Trots Media - Michael Howard       6 8:33pm TAB INTER DOMINION PACING CHAMPIONSHIP (3RD ROUND QUALIFYING HEAT 1) (GROUP 3) 2555M $30,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SPANKEM NZ      Sr2 9 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen   $ 1.50 fav  PRS 3WE L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 4 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of CRUSHEM (NZ) (HOLMES HANOVER USA)  Owner(s): G J Kennard, P I Kennard, Breckon Racing Syndicate, J A Gibbs, A Gibbs, G A Woodham, K J Woodham  Breeder(s): R K Wah, G Wah 2 GALACTIC STAR NZ      Sr3 10 G F J Bond, S A Bond Todd McCarthy 7.70 $ 8.50   T/F$ 3WM 2 SWAB 3 JOES STAR OF MIA      Fr1 1 Steve Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 8.00 $ 7.00   PRS PH 5 4 MAXIMAN NZ      Fr5 5 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 8.50 $ 17.90   PRS PRU GS WC L SLM 3 5 WRAPPERS DELIGHT      Sr1 8 David Aiken Kima Frenning 11.00 $ 5.70   PRS PH 7 6 MISTER WICKHAM      Fr6 6 Lee Evison Gavin Lang 16.20 $ 77.20   INC 6 7 MAGICAL MARN NZ      Fr4 4 Adam Kelly Zac Phillips 20.80 $ 112.00   RAS 8 8 TEE CEE BEE MACRAY      Fr3 3 Jess Tubbs Greg Sugars 26.30 $ 82.30   PRS RAS 11 9 JOHN OF ARC NZ      Fr2 2 Clive Dalton Neil McCallum 39.40 $ 138.00   9 10 FREYBERG NZ      Fr7 7 Kevin Pizzuto Jason Grimson 44.80 $ 144.00   GS UCL RR D/CEP 4 D/CBOCS QDT   7 9:03pm TAB INTER DOMINION PACING CHAMPIONSHIP (3RD ROUND QUALIFYING HEAT 2) (GROUP 3) 2555M $30,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TIGER TARA NZ      Fr4 4 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy   $ 1.20 fav  PRS PRU 3WE L 1 SWAB   BAY HORSE 8 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of TARA GOLD (NZ) (DREAM AWAY USA)  Owner(s): M Hawli, C L Pizzuto, K J Pizzuto, T N Pizzuto  Breeder(s): R P (Raymond) Anicich 2 OUR UNCLE SAM      Sr1 8 Chris Frisby Anthony Frisby 1.10 $ 28.00   PRS 5 HUE USL SWAB 3 SAN CARLO      Sr4 11 Stephen O'Donoghue Rebecca Bartley 3.80 $ 8.20   4WE 3WE OLM 2 4 CANT REFUSE NZ      Fr1 1 Matthew Craven Matthew Craven 6.40 $ 11.60   GS WC L SLE 3 HI CMP 5 CONVICTION      Fr3 3 Steve Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 8.00 $ 55.90   7 6 MY ALPHA ROCK NZ      Fr7 7 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 11.30 $ 68.10   4WE 3WE 4 7 MACH DORO      Sr2 9 Craig Cross Luke McCarthy 12.90 $ 38.10   8 8 YAYAS HOT SPOT NZ      Sr3 10 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Jody Jamieson 14.80 $ 131.00   PRS 3WET RES PH 9 HUE 9 BAD BILLY      Fr6 6 Gary Lawlor Jason Lee 15.70 $ 109.00   RAS 10 10 MOTU METEOR NZ      Fr5 5 Kerryn Manning Kerryn Manning 17.80 $ 66.30   3WE RES 11 11 AUDI HARE NZ      Fr2 2 David Aiken David Moran 18.70 $ 41.80   PRS GS UCL 6 QUER VXAR Scratchings All started Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:06:0 Mile Rate: 1:57:1 Lead Time: 69.2 First Quarter: 30.5 Second Quarter: 31.5 Third Quarter: 26.6 Fourth Quarter: 28.2 Margins: 1.1m x 2.7m        Play 8 9:33pm TAB INTER DOMINION PACING CHAMPIONSHIP (3RD ROUND QUALIFYING HEAT 3) (GROUP 3) 2555M $30,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Fr3 4 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen   $ 1.10 fav  T/CG PRS 3WM L 1 SWAB   BAY GELDING 7 by FALCON SEELSTER USA out of CROWN DEFENDER NZ (LIFE SIGN USA)  Owner(s): D Zavitsanos, P M O'Shea, Z D O'Shea, J Zavitsanos, W R Viney  Breeder(s): Bromac Lodge Ltd 2 IM PATS DELIGHT NZ      Sr1 8 Cran Dalgety Gavin Lang 4.40 $ 8.10   PRU INCSU RRSU OPS NAT 4 SWAB 3 VILLAGE WITCH      Fr6 7 Jason Grimson Jason Grimson 7.90 $ 89.10   PRS RAS 8 SWAB 4 ELLMERS IMAGE NZ      Fr5 6 Amanda Turnbull Amanda Turnbull 12.50 $ 76.10   RAS 9 5 CASH N FLOW NZ      Fr4 5 Craig Cross Luke McCarthy 13.90 $ 44.40   PRS 3WE 6 6 IM THE BOSS      Sr2 9 David Aiken Kima Frenning 14.50 $ 12.40   PRS 3WE INC L SLM 3 7 HICKSTEAD NZ      Fr1 1 John Justice John Justice 21.30 $ 43.50   GS L HO SLE 5 8 IDEAL SUCCESS NZ      Sr3 10 Kerryn Manning Kerryn Manning 23.40 $ 115.00   7 9 MATTGREGOR NZ      Fr2 2 Chantal Turpin Pete McMullen 47.60 $ 32.40   PRS GS C 2 HI GG VXAR Scratchings   FRANCO NELSON NZ 3 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:05:0 Mile Rate: 1:56:5 Lead Time: 68.8 First Quarter: 29.5 Second Quarter: 31.7 Third Quarter: 26.5 Fourth Quarter: 28.5 Margins: 4.4m x 3.5m  

For the first time something went wrong in Tornado Valley’s campaign and even it couldn’t stop the talented harness racing trotter completing a clean sweep of its TAB Inter Dominion trotting heats. Despite a loose bandage flailing in the straight Andy and Kate Gath’s Long Forrest trotter produced a 16th win in 18 starts, then Speeding Spur reaffirmed his status by controlling the second heat. And with that the final 12 booked their places in next Saturday’s trotting Grand Final at Tabcorp Park Melton, with that select dozen unchanged by tonight’s proceedings. The final qualifiers were Tornado Valley (48 points), Speeding Spur (43), Save Our Pennys (39), Big Jack Hammer (35), Kyvalley Blur (30), Tough Monarch (29), Red Hot Tooth (26), Monty Python (24), Sky Petite (23), Kingdom Come (22), Rompers Monarchy (21) and Wilmas Mate (20), with Illawong Armstrong (18) the first emergency. But while there is a big 12, looming even larger is the big two and, perhaps, in Tornado Valley the big one. “He didn’t miss a beat,” reinswoman Kate Gath said. “He’s always had a great gait. He does get on the bit a little bit, particularly over the longer trip, but it doesn’t seem to affect him. In the straight he just goes. “He seems to have come through the runs very well and so far so good. Obviously we would like a front row draw in the final, but whatever happens happens and I’m glad I’ve got him. “If he draws poorly it will make things a hell of a lot harder, but he is versatile so it’s not the end of the world.” The 6.3-metre win was established with a 27.8 third quarter after a hearty breather in the second quarter (32.2) that helped ensure the win was never in doubt, with Save Our Pennys advancing from three pegs to run second and Red Hot Tooth ensuring her finals place with third after a bold early lead. The horse most likely to prevent the trotting championship being Tornado Valley’s plaything remains Speeding Spur, with Josh and John Dickie’s near-million-dollar trotter registering a second heat win tonight after finding the front and getting home in 58.8 seconds. “It’s been a good round of heats for him,” reinsman Josh Dickie said. “When he ran third the other night it was still a great run, so heading into the final next Saturday we couldn’t be happier. “He’s such a great horse to drive, he’s just always underneath you and he will run when you want him too. “I thought all three heats he’s been really good, he probably doesn’t look as impressive at time but he gets the job done. The 2700 (metres) at Melton next week is going to be right up his alley, especially if they are going hard.” Big Jack Hammer ran a bold second to Speeding Spur from three pegs with Illawong Armstrong’s third placing from leader’s back drawing him within two points of a finals berth and earning him first emergency status for trainer-driver Jodi Quinlan. To watch the video replays click on this link. Trots Media - Michael Howard 4 7:31pm TAB INTER DOMINION TROTTING CHAMPIONSHIP (3RD ROUND QUALIFYING HEAT 1) (GROUP 3) 2555M $20,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 TORNADO VALLEY NZ      Fr3 4 Andy Gath Kate Gath   $ 1.10 fav  PRU GS L SLE L PH 1 SWAB T/F$   BAY GELDING 7 by SKYVALLEY NZ out of BEGIN (NZ) ()  Owner(s): N R (Norm) Jenkin  Breeder(s): P L Gaugler, T M McMillan 2 SAVE OUR PENNYS      Fr1 1 Graeme Lang Gavin Lang 6.30 $ 6.00   PRS GS 5 SWAB 3 RED HOT TOOTH      Fr4 6 Kari Males Zac Phillips 9.30 $ 34.70   GS L SLE 3 4 TOUGH MONARCH      Sr2 9 Rickie Alchin Rickie Alchin 10.60 $ 19.60   PRS 4 D/F$ 5 ALDERBECK NZ      Sr1 8 Phil Williamson Anthony Butt 13.60 $ 42.10   6 6 FATHER CHRISTMAS NZ      Fr2 2 Brent Lilley Greg Sugars 14.00 $ 40.60   PH 7 HU INC 7 WILMAS MATE NZ      Sr3 10 Tim Butt John Caldow 26.20 $ 71.00   B 8 INC SCT 8 SKY PETITE      Sr4 11 Michael Stanley Ryan Duffy 63.60 $ 65.00   PRS 9 INC CTS B NAT 9 KOWHAI MONARCH NZ      Fr5 7 J A Rando, M J Rando Todd McCarthy 80.00 $ 109.00   PRS 3WE 2 BUP Scratchings   MAORI LAW 3 OUR TWENTYTEN NZ 5   Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:12:8 Mile Rate: 2:01:5 Lead Time: 73.4 First Quarter: 30.1 Second Quarter: 32.2 Third Quarter: 27.8 Fourth Quarter: 29.3 Margins: 6.3m x 3.0m     5 8:00pm TAB INTER DOMINION TROTTING CHAMPIONSHIP (3RD ROUND QUALIFYING HEAT 2) (GROUP 3) 2555M $20,000 TM0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 SPEEDING SPUR NZ      Fr2 2 J W Dickie, J I Dickie Josh Dickie   $ 1.20 fav  PRS GS L 1 SWAB   BAY HORSE 7 by PEGASUS SPUR CA out of DELLA'S SPEED (NZ) (CHIOLA HANOVER USA)  Owner(s): Woodlands Partnership Syndicate, K J Read, A M Ellis, R J Tayler, D Hewett  Breeder(s): Woodlands Stud Ltd 2 BIG JACK HAMMER      Sr1 8 David Aiken Kima Frenning 1.60 $ 13.50   PRS 5 HUE USL SWAB 3 ILLAWONG ARMSTRONG      Fr1 1 Jodi Quinlan Jodi Quinlan 4.10 $ 25.90   PH 3 USL 4 KYVALLEY BLUR USA      Fr5 5 Brent Lilley Chris Alford 4.80 $ 6.80   PRS PRU 3WE 3WET 3WM 4 5 MONTY PYTHON NZ      Sr4 11 Phil Williamson Anthony Butt 6.70 $ 78.60   3WMT 3WL W1 6 KHEIRON      Fr6 6 Peter Lane Chris Lang 10.20 $ 117.00   RAS 7 7 KINGDOM COME NZ      Fr7 7 Andy Gath Kate Gath 12.40 $ 48.80   PRS GS 8 8 FABRICATION      Sr2 9 David Abrahams Gavin Lang 13.00 $ 71.90   3WM 2 9 ENROLLED      Fr3 3 Brent Lilley Josh Duggan 13.30 $ 66.90   3WE 3WM 6 QDT 10 ROMPERS MONARCHY NZ      Fr4 4 J A Rando, M J Rando David Morris 20.10 $ 157.00   PH 10 11 KING DENNY NZ      Sr3 10 Michael Gadsden Denbeigh Wade 148.10 $ 201.00   PRS 12 HO B Scratchings All started Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:12:6 Mile Rate: 2:01:3 Lead Time: 73.1 First Quarter: 30.7 Second Quarter: 30 Third Quarter: 29 Fourth Quarter: 29.8 Margins: 1.6m x 2.5m    

Laura Crossland-trained three-year-old Lochinvar Art made a stunning return to the racetrack tonight in the Caduceus Club 3YO Cup at Cranbourne. The son of Modern Art covered ground early before making ground from the back, racing home to a 3.9m win in a mile rate of 1:55.9, upstaging $1.40 favourite Demon Delight. As a result TAB.com.au slashed his Victoria Derby price from $31 into $10. “I’m not really a big one for getting too confident and he was first-up tonight … he’s pretty forward, but whatever he does tonight he’ll take lot out of it,” Moran said. “He’s probably one of the best horses I’ve driven. I thought he was really, really good tonight.” Lochinvar Art, a son of Modern Art, won six of nine races as a two-year-old, including feature wins in the Benstud Youthful Stakes, the Alabar Tatlow and an Alabar Breeders Challenge Semi-Final. He was desperately unlucky in the Group 1 Breeders Challenge Final when held up behind Hardhitter. “In the early days he had a lot of high speed. He was so fast it wasn’t funny,” Moran said. “His will to win is unbelievable.” Quizzed about why the team decided not to make a late payment for the Breeders Crown at two, Moran explained they wanted to ensure the horse’s future was protected. “He was up for a long time and I think you can go to the well too many times,” he said. “A lot of people probably worry about money. But if you want a good horse in the long run, you probably have to put that aside a little bit.”   Cody Winnell Trots Media

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If Rob Gartrell allows himself the luxury of dreaming, he could be in line for a massive 48 hours as he strives for a memorable feature interstate double. Perth’s prolific owner could have up to four runners in Friday’s Group 1 Golden Nugget (2536m) at Gloucester Park, headed by Ana Malak, Bettor Aim and Mighty Conqueror. Once his commitments are done and dusted on home soil his attention and focus will turn to Melton in Victoria where he will be represented by Galactic Star in the 2018 Inter Dominion. Western Australia’s sole representative has stepped up to the plate and proved he could be up to the task after recording one win and two placings from the three round of heats. And in a further morale boost for Gartrell and trainers, Greg and Skye Bond, Galactic Star has drawn the coveted inside draw at a function on Monday. What started as an ambitious and lucrative target for Galactic Star has now turned into a distinct winning reality. The Perth pacer is now rated a $5 chance. “That was very exciting and to get barrier one in an Inter Dominion final is exactly what we were hoping for,” Gartrell said on TABradio. “It certainly gives us a good chance in the race and sets ourselves up to be very competitive. “I think the horse has done a fantastic job in the series and it’s the perfect draw for him. “He has good gate speed as we know and should be able to hold up.” After reinsman Todd McCarthy handled the heats, Gartrell confirmed Ryan Warwick had been booked to drive Galactic Star in the final. “Ryan has had a terrific season and is a very important part of our team,” Gartrell said. “He has driven at Melton before and is looking forward to the trip.” Gartrell said he was hoping to get similar good fortune in the barriers for his runners in the Golden Nugget. Ana Malak has underlined his potential with two wins from as many starts since coming to Perth. The Bettors Delight colt is chasing back-to-back feature wins after posting a determined victory in the Group 1 Yes Loans 4YO Classic (2130m) at Gloucester Park on November 30. Bettor Aim also holds an unbeaten record in Perth when he brought up his fifth win at Pinjarra last-start when defeating Marquisard on November 19. Mighty Conqueror posted four wins in a line before coming unstuck behind Ana Malak, running third in the Yes Loans 4YO Classic. “We are going to have good representation in the Nugget,” Gartrell said. “Bettor Aim, Mighty Conqueror and Ana Malak will be very competitive depending on the draws. “It gives us firepower in the race and we should be right in the cut up I would think.”   Julio Santarelli 
Classy six-year-old Taurisi proved he’s one of the best pacers in the state with his outstanding win in heat one of the Tassie Golden Applie Series  in Launceston on Sunday night. Punters who had backed the Todd Rattray trained and driven pacer into $1.70 had their hearts in their mouths until Todd extricated the Always’s A Virgin – Exclusif gelding away from the peg line at the 800-metre mark. With runs coming on his outside Todd sat quietly and although shuffled back to third last down the back the popular pick was now seeing daylight. Todd eased Taurisi (pictured) to the outside inside the 400-metre pole and he powered home down the stretch out five wide to gain the day in the last few strides over Mister Lennox, Offthetopofmyhead and Another Swinger. “Getting him away from the stand is always tricky, we didn’t lose a lot of ground at the start and we got a soft run which is what he needs in his races and I knew once we got into the clear he could run them down,” said Todd. Taurisi recorded a mile rate of 2.02.7 with the last half of 57.7 sec, but it wasn’t a race that was won on times, it was won by a cool-headed driver and a horse that showed his courage and tenacity to be never beaten. With the first heat run and won attention quickly turned to heat two and the eagerly awaited clash of Scooterwillrev and reigning Easter Cup winner Harjeet. The rock hard race fitness of the Craig Hayes prepared Scooterwillrev, the winner of five of his last six starts, up against Harjeet first up from a six-month spell. “Scooterwillrev was very impressive, finding the lead at the mile and running sensational sectionals coming home the last half in 55.6 seconds, but I was very happy with Harjeet’s effort to sit outside the leader and stick on so gamely in the stretch to finish third running those times,” said Todd. “He appears to have pulled up well, we don’t work him hard at home as he gets his fitness from racing so with the run under his belt he will strip much fitter for Friday night’s Gold Apple Final Todd was also aboard Harjeet’s half-brother Izaha in the second race of the night, the Roll With Joe – Our Zellweger four-year-old made it seven wins from a 12 start career with a herculean effort to defeat Secluded Beach by a head. “He was first up since May, started from outside the front line and to then race in the death and run the time they did of 1:56.1 for the mile was a super performance,” said a delighted trainer-driver. “Given he begins well from the tapes I might run him in the Country Cups but his main mission is the Raider Stakes at Devonport in May.”   Shane Yates
Champion driver Gavin Lang secured gate three for both his 2018 TAB Inter Dominion pacing and trotting drives at this morning's barrier draw. Held at Zinc Federation Square on the banks of the Yarra, the TAB ID18 Barrier Draw and Breakfast of Champions attracted plenty of guests and grabbed the attention of morning commuters in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Lang, who pilots impressive Kiwi Im Pats Delight in the pacing grand final and trotter Save Our Pennys in the trotting decider, has two live chances on the biggest stage of all. The master reinsman said both horses were progressing well through the ID18 series to date but would have to step it up again to secure harness racing's holy grail. Save Our Pennys heads into the trotting decider a $14 shot after finishing second in all his qualifying heats behind the raging ID18 favourite Tornado Valley. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven a lot of very good trotters in my career and I would have been prepared to say this one’s not a patch on any of those ones, especially the three Inter Dominion winners,” Lang said when asked about the recent progress of the seven-year-old. “But I must say he’s really exceeded my expectations (through ID18).” Lang also said Save Our Pennys’ fitness was improving each run after his first-up second off a 30-metre handicap in the Geelong Trotting Cup. “He got beaten on his merits at Geelong and I thought if he improves 10 per cent from that in the first of the Inter Dominion heats I’d be pleased. I wasn’t expecting him to come out and run second,” Lang said. “He’s improved each run through this series and three seconds is more than I would have expected. “The distance of the final (2760m) is no burden for him and he’s just an old-fashioned horse who puts his head down and gets on with it. He’s got a great demeanour.” Cran Dalgety-trained Im Pats Delight is a four-year-old New Zealand pacer, who has gone from strength to strength through the heat rounds. “It’s a daunting task for a four-year-old to contest an Inter Dominion series but he is very mature and he seems to be getting through each run well,” Lang said. Meanwhile, Nat Rasmussen has chosen Cruz Bromac as her ID18 drive in the pacing final with partner Mark Purdon picking up the reins aboard fancied stablemate Spankem. Click here for the ID18 final fields   Trots Media - Cody Winnell
A little-known former New Zealand pacer has emerged as the key player in the A$500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final.  Because while former Southland pacer Galactic Star has had a top class career in West Australia, he would rarely have been on the radar of most New Zealand punters, even the serious harness racing players, until this Interdom series in Victoria.  Yet after drawing the ace for Saturday night’s 2760m final at Melton, the attitude of his connections could decide the race.  Galactic Star, who won four races in New Zealand two years ago when trained by Des Baynes, won his first night heat of this series using blazing gate speed and has been very good when placed in his subsequent two heats.  But his impact on the final outcome has been boosted enormously by him drawing barrier one, from where he looks certain to lead.  If driver Ryan Warwick wants to stay in front that will mean no shot at the lead for key front line runners Pat Delight (barrier three), Spankem (five) or Tiger Tara (seven).  It would almost certainly mean plenty of pressure to try and break him and potentially bring a horse like series points leader Cruz Bromac into contention after he fared poorly in the draw, copping the second line  But if Warwick and the Galactic Star’s connections decide the trail is the place to be then either of the well-favoured Kiwis, Pats Delight or Spankem, will fancy their chances of running to the front and therefore becoming the one to beat.   Spankem’s incredible rise throughout this series continued after the draw as he is now the $2.80 favourite for the classic just six weeks after punters could have got $41 for him to win it.  He has thrilled co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen with how he has bounced through his three heats but she has decided to stick with Cruz Bromac as her drive out of loyalty, having driven him five times for five wins.  That means training partner Mark Purdon takes the reins behind Spankem and gives him a shot at a unique piece of Inter Dominion history as he has won the last two pacing finals driving Smolda and Lazarus so could make it a three-peat on three different horses.  Spankem, who won only once last season as a three-year-old, is favourite over Pats Delight and Cruz Bromac still the third favourite even though his task looks enormously more difficult as he won’t be able to use his gate speed.  Gate speed and tactical decisions could also decide the A$150,000 Trotting Final on Saturday, which after the draw looks a two-horse race.  South Auckland trotter Speeding Spur has the advantage of barrier one giving co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie options of whether to stay in front or elects to trail favourite Tornado Valley.  The latter has drawn barrier six and may even have the raw speed to cross Speeding Spur but if the pair lead and trail it looks curtains for their rivals. (THESE FIELDS TO BE BROKEN OUT ON RUNNER PER LINE) The fields for the two Inter Dominion finals to be run at Melton on Saturday night are: $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final, 2760m mobile, 11.45 (NZtime) 1: Galactic Star 2: Can’t Refuse 3: Im Pats Delight 4: Mach Doro 5: Spankem 6: Maximan 7: Tiger Tara 8: San Carlo (1 second line) 9: Cruz Bromac 10: Our Uncle Sam 11: Wrappers Delight 12: Audi Hare (em) 13: Cash N Flow A$150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Final, 2760m, 11.08 NZtime 1: Speeding Spur 2: Monty Python 3: Save Our Pennys 4: Rompers Monarchy 5: Big Jack Hammer 6: Tornado Valley 7: Sky Petite 8: Illawong Armstrong (1 second line, em) 9: Tough Monarch 10: Kingdom Come 11: Kyvalley Blur 12: Wilmas Mate 13: Red Hot Tooth   Michael Guerin
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