If there was just one horse that represents everything the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star stands for, then it’s got to be local contender Blitzthemcalder.
He is young and brazen, bold and elegant, and he has the high speed required to trot at a rapid pace over the 1720 metres at Tabcorp Park Melton.
But for all the bravado he has lacked a polish throughout his career. Like a juvenile delinquent he has gone off the rails on occasion.
Now under the care of Craig Demmler, his time to stand up has arrived this Saturday night in the Great Southern Star.
Drawn a perfect barrier in two, his lack of early gate speed won’t crush his chances as they might have if he drew in barrier one – or even out wide.
Coming off an unusual preparation, he will be having just his second run since early February in the $50,000 first elimination heat.
“He had a break after running second to Aleppo Midas and he did that well that we thought we better bring him in but he is forward enough on to run well, he had a trial on Saturday and went well,” Demmler said.
“You’d like to have a little more time to prepare him in an ideal world but he is close enough to the mark.
“He is a four-year-old who has been too good for his own age group and it can take a season to get used to racing these horses so I think whatever he does this time in he should take another step next year.”
His advantage as a younger horse was evident as he swept all before him, claiming Group 1’s with ridiculous ease in record times.
But as that advantage has been whittled down, Demmler will now rely on a more rounded squaregaiter as they take the step towards the Grand Circuit of trotting.
“He came out with the pacers in a trial recently and we’ve just been working on his gate speed and his manners but he is never going to be blistering out,” he said.
“Chris has the option but I think Aleppo Midas we’ll lead and we will be out in the open. I think he is capable of doing it though.”
As to the question of whether or not he can back up and compete twice in one night, it’s something that his new trainer doesn’t even have to think about.
Noted for his ability to cruise at a high speed, Demmler is quickly learning that he is a pretty cool customer in all departments.
“If he does make the final he is going to be a horse that suits backing up. I just couldn’t believe after his last run he came in and his heart was 74 and he wouldn’t even blow a candle out,” he said.
“The only thing against him is that when they are running steady times the whole way if you have a horse like Stent sitting off you then they can beat you with high speed.
“In saying that if we can take a bit of gas out of them then that might be the best way we can beat them.”
By Blake Redden (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)