Day At The Track

Im Sir Blake flys the Victorian flag

05:05 PM 02 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Im Sir Blake,Harness racing

Victorian trained pacer Im Sir Blake proved too good for his rivals when he took out the first heat of the Group 2 Ladbrokes Tasmania Cup at Ladbrokes Park Hobart last night.

Trained at Armstrong (near Ararat) by father-son training duo Danny and Leroy O’Brien, Im Sir Blake ($5.50) was forced to do it the hard way leading up the three-wide line over the final 1150 metres of the race to record his 11th career win at his 27th racetrack appearance.

Co-trainer Leroy O’Brien who was trackside last night was happy to give the drive to Christian Salter, who has a good association with three-year-old Soho Senna who was formerly trained by the O’Briens before she found his way to Tasmania.

“He is a local, he knows the track and he knows the horses plus he is driving well,” said Leroy.

One query many had is that it was the first standing start race for the gelded son of Alta Christiano who stepped away cleanly from his 10-metre handicap before finding trouble in the 2579 metre event.

“He went away fine but then there was a little bit of a concern when Finn Mac Kee galloped in front of him and when I pulled him down the track I may have oversteered him too much and got out of his gear and conceded a bit of ground,” explained winning driver Christian Salter after the race.

“I thought to myself at the 600 (metres) that Goggo Gee Gee and no disrespect to the horse cause he is going super, that he might have come back to us a bit, well he didn’t come back to us but this horse has run 57.1 (seconds) his last half,” added Salter.

Leroy was equally impressed with the win.

“He was super, it was a 57.1 last half and he was out three-wide, credit to Christian (Salter) he got him travelling down the back, I said to him not to go for him too early as he is a funny horse as he doesn’t feel to be travelling that quick but he kept him underneath him and waited till the top of the straight to let him go,” said the co-trainer.

“Full credit to the horse, he was super tonight to fight on as he did,” added Leroy.

The co-trainer said that Im Sir Blake won’t contest next week’s heat, instead, the pacer will remain in the state to contest the $75,000 Final on 14 March.

“His last hopple work was on Tuesday and he had nothing until today, 100% credit to Bianca and her team they do such a wonderful job. He won’t go around next week (in the heat), we will get him ready for the final, he will benefit from that being here” explained Leroy.

Devonport Cup runner up and recent Burnie Cup winner Goggo Gee Gee ($26.00) finished 1.5 metres away in second spot after leading all the way, with the race favourite Ryley Major ($1.45) a further five metres away third in a mile rate of 2m 2.3s.

The second heat will be staged on Sunday where more Victorian trained pacers are expected to contest the heat.

Holy Basil, King Soloman, Its Back in the Day, Manganello and Perspective have all recently contested standing start trials in the past two weeks across Victoria.

Nominations for the second heat close at 9:30 am on Tuesday with the field to be released that afternoon.


Duncan Dornauf for Tasracing

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