"It's a conspiracy," joked the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club's chief executive officer, Shane Gloury. The former Aussie made that light hearted comment to Harnesslink after all of the Australians - barring four time champion Blacks A Fake - copped bad draws at the 2011 Inter Dominion barrier draw harness racing function held at Alexandra Park tonight (Monday April 4).
In fact both the $800,000 Pacing and $250,000 trotting finals were thrown wide open when the top qualifiers in both - Themightyquinn/Smoken Up and Let Me Thru drew 15, 10 and 14 respectively. Washakie also copped the "visitors" draw with 14.
An hour after the draws the New Zealand TAB reacted, lengthening Let Me Thru from a $2.20 to $2.50 favourite in the Trotting Final and Themightyquinn from also lengthened from $3 to $4, as did Smoken Up from $3.60 to $4.50 andfrom $4 to $5.50.
The big shortener was Inter Dominion sentimental favourite, Blacks A Fake, who tightened from $7.50 to $5.50, but trainer/driver Natalie Rasmussen was convinced he was no good thing.
When reminded that he had only ever been passed once in five Inter Dominion Grand Finals when in front she said:
"Yeh but he's an old boy now. He's 10 and can't go on forever. In saying that I'm delighted with where he's at. He's improved throughout the Series. I'm just glad we made it here after things looked doubtful a couple of weeks beforehand," Rasmussen said.
She was also delighted that her father Vic was still a bit "arsey" and did the deed by drawing number two for thegelding, who has won 69 races and $4.5 million.
"It's only a great draw if he wins but we will be hunting the lead and going all out. It would be special if he does do something big in what will be his 100th race-day start," Queenslander, Rasmussen said.
Lance Justice the trainer/driver of Smoken Up made his intentions very clear what he will be doing with his toughgelding.
"It will be pedal to the metal. I'll certainly be attacking for the lead even from 10. There's no use waiting another week. It's now or never," the Victorian horseman said.
Let Me Thru is going to still be awfully tough to beat in the Trotter's Final, especially after winning from gate 13 over the shorter 2200m distance last Friday.
But drawing three certainly put a smile on the connections of $5.50 second favourite Sovereignty.
Owner Charlie Hunter said the son ofwas now in a position where he didn't have to make his own luck.
"We have been given the draw to dictate our own destiny now. Number three is a big plus for us," Hunter said.
Trainer McCaffrey agreed.
"We can stay out of trouble from that draw and won't have to do too much work. Mind you anything can happen in an Inter Dominion Final. The best trotters are here and three is only a good draw if you win. It is all in Maurice's (Mckendry) hands," McCaffrey said.
The trotting final kicks off at 8.30pm on Friday, while the pacers will line up behind starter Colin Courtney at 9.40pm.
1. Themightyquinn. 2. Smoken Up. 3. Blacks A Fake.
1. Let Me Thru. 2. Sovereignty. 3. Springbank Richard.
The $800,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final.
1. Captain Peacock.
2. Blacks A Fake.
3. Pembrook Benny.
4. Choise Achiever.
5. Captain Joy (second emergency)
6. Smiling Shard.
8. Monkey King.
9. Power Of Tara.
10. Smoken Up.
12. Sleepy Tripp.
13. Franco Jamar (first emergency).
The $250,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final:
1. Beat the Monarch.
2. Gret Getaway.
4. Stylish Monarch.
5. Ready Set (second emergency).
6. Danny Cash.
7. Springbank Richard.
8. Master Bomber.
9. Dr Hook.
10. Lleyton H.
12. Kyvalley Mac (first emergency).
13. I Can Doosit.
14. Let Me Thru.
15. Lets Get Serious (unruly).
by Duane RANGER (editor)