Day At The Track

Gath & Stewart strive for further Inter glory

05:22 AM 01 Mar 2013 NZDT
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Scott Stewart Andy Gath
Scott Stewart - Bitobliss
Andy Gath - Caribbean Blaster

The last time Victorian trainers Andy Gath and Scott Stewart strived for Inter Dominion glory they did so together.

That was 24 years ago. Stewart was the harness racing young gun, about to drive Jodie’s Babe to victory in pacing’s greatest race.

Gath was a 20-year-old apprentice electrician, who was just along for the ride and looked up to Stewart, both mentally and physically as the latter is probably 25cm taller than the diminutive Gath.

But when the two popular horseman roll up to Menangle on Sunday the fortunes of racing mean the shoe will be on the other foot.

ath is now the master, a premiership winning trainer with million dollar pacer Caribbean Blaster a huge hope in the Final.

Stewart is merely a hobbyist compared with Gath these days, but after year’s of part-time training he finally has another serious player in Bitobliss.

While their careers have gone down vastly different paths, Gath has nothing but the upmost respect for his old roommate.

We were both working for Vinny (Knight) back in 1989 when we went to Perth for the Inters,” said Gath.

“Scotty and I roomed together and when you go through an experience like that and he wins the final on one of our horses, well you bond.

“Back then I was just a kid starting out and I have been lucky enough to have a bit of success, whereas Scott has taken some time away from the industry.

“But he has always been a good horseman and you see that is every horse he takes to the races.

“We will always have that bond too, because people who were close to Vinny (who died in 1991), well we have something in common. That was the way he affected people.”

Caribbean Blaster has emerged as the best each way chance in the Final, already a group one winner at Menangle and having won Australia’s strongest race of the season so far, the Victoria Cup.

hat race was the turning point of a rollercoaster season for Bitobliss, who hurt himself and has struggled for his best form since.

But back in October the real Bitobliss sat outside Caribbean Blaster and beat him fair and square in the Kilmore Cup.

Stewart knows he faces a mountain at Menangle, but says after 24 years he is just happy to be back in the big game.

“Back when I won in 1989 you don’t think it is going to be that long before you ever even drive in an Interdom again,” says Stewart.

“So maybe he will struggle to win but I think his form is turning around and as my life shows, you don’t get many shots at this.”

COURTESY OF HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES

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