The demise of the Saturday gallops Pick6 will provide harness racing punters with a rare bonus for tonight's frenetic programme of Inter Dominion heats.
The TAB is guaranteeing a $50,000 terminating Pick6 on the six heats to be run around Australasia in the space of just 80 minutes tonight, starting at Addington at 10.15pm.
"It is a unique night and with no gallops Pick6 any more on Saturday because of the Triple Trio it gives us the perfect chance to showcase the Interdom heats," said TAB spokesman Michael Dore.
The heats are largely dominated by a hot favourite with only one or two threats, with the exception being the strong Melton heat, which is why the first three home there are guaranteed spots in the A$750,000 Inter Final in Sydney on March 2.
With punter fatigue always a factor after a long Saturday, tonight's pool is certain to contain plenty of dead money, with each heat also boosted by a $5000 bonus in the First4, courtesy of the Victorian TAB but available to New Zealand punters through co-mingling.
So what is going to happen in the heats? Maybe something like this: Heat one, Addington, 10.15pm: Two-horse race between Terror To Love (1) and Smolda (2) who are set to lead and trail in that order.
Terror To Love disappointed last start but loves Addington and has regularly paced sub 55-second last 800m there so Smolda will need to be equine-sonic to beat him.
Pick six: Take them both, 1-2.
Heat two, Menangle, 10.30pm: Miracle Mile hero Beautide (8) has been crushing this season and his trainer-driver wants to make a statement so should win.
Genuine speed outside him from Suave Stuey Lombo (11) and The Gold Ace (12) sets up an early burn which suggests over 2400m a late closer can qualify, which suits Gaius Caesar (2).
Pick6: Beautide an anchor.
Heat three, Melton, 10.45pm: If the Restrepo (1) who won the Ballarat Cup two starts ago turns up he should lead throughout.
That gives Keayang Cullen (8) a great tow into a place and therefore the final while Caribbean Blaster (11) is flying but may be driven to qualify first, win as a bonus.
Abettorpunt (9) and Bitobliss (3) and I'm Corzin Terror (4) could upset if the speed map gets screwed up, but it probably won't.
Pick6: Split your spend, one ticket anchor Restrepo, saver ticket with 3, 4, 8, 9, 11.
Heat four, Menangle, 11pm: Time for Victoria Cup winner For A Reason (6) to stand up and stake his Inter claim. He has the draw to do it.
Does face the tricky proposition of having to come from behind Mach Beauty (8) to do so after the latter's 1:51 mile win last week, but the 2400m suits the favourite more.
Kiwi pacer Franco Nelson will love the distance but Menangle is a tough track to master fresh up and tempo is against him.
Pick6: For A Reason all but an anchor, maybe small second ticket Mach Beauty.
Heat five, Albion Park, 11.15pm: Weakest heat with tempo crucial. If Avonnova (2) can lead very hard to run down, with Forever Gold (1) a danger from trail. If they go hard, then Field Officer (9) should blow over the top.
Pick6: Don't like the race so take 1, 2 and 9.
Heat six, Gloucester Park, 11.30pm: I'm Victorious (5) the top gun but doesn't like it too tough and could have to sit parked outside Livingontheinterest (2), for whom this might be a Grand Final.
David Hercules (8) the only winning threat and might be worth the risk.
By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of the New Zealand Herald)