Day At The Track

Inter Dominion champion honoured

01:52 AM 27 May 2015 NZST
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Young Pedro
Young Pedro captured the feature at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds in 1959
Paul Courts Photo

Another of the Melbourne Inter Dominion champions will be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with the running of the harness racing Young Pedro Free-For-All.

One of the lesser-known winners of the time-honoured series, Young Pedro captured the feature at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds in 1959 in what was the 18th running of the Trans Tasman event.

Owned, trained and driven by South Australian Leo Hunt, Young Pedro became just the second four-year-old to secure the Championship, following Springfield Globe’s triumph in Launceston 20 years earlier.

Foaled in 1954, the chestnut colt was by Van Derby from Pedro’s Salute by Pedro Pronto from Royal Salute by Royal Lulu.

Fifth in his opening heat won by Dusty Miller, Young Pedro was then successful on the second night before running third behind Caduceus in his third qualifier.

Caduceus and Dusty Miller were the only unbeaten performers during the heats.

The rank outsider at 33/1 in the 12,000 pound Final over 14 furlongs (2800 metres), Young Pedro began well from the front line to settle in the coveted one-one as Dusty Miller led.

Angled into the clear on the last bend, Young Pedro dashed past the pacemaker at the top of the straight before scoring by three yards from Dusty Miller, which was second favourite at 9/2.

Billabong Scott, which also won a second round heat, was two yards away third at 25/1.

Caduceus, a 6/4 favourite despite his 36-yard handicap, could only manage fifth.

Young Pedro rated 2:11.8 in front of a crowd of 30,153, which was considered disappointing due to “bad weather conditions”.

Overall, the four-night series attracted 92,042 patrons.

Young Pedro’s triumph rounded out a hat-trick for South Australia, with Radiant Venture winning in Perth in 1957 and Free Hall in Adelaide in 1958.

Young Pedro was also victorious in the 1959 South Australia Cup with Hunt in the sulky.

As for this week’s race in Young Pedro’s honour, Chilli Palmer is the one to beat despite his awkward draw.

Filling the placings behind Lennytheshark during his last two outings - including eye-catching second last weekend - Chilli Palmer should have little trouble registering an overdue win for trainer Dean Braun.

The son of Inter Dominion winner Elsu will begin from barrier six, with Braun confident of victory.

“He has been racing really well and is ready to get back into the winners’ circle,” Braun said. “The draw makes it a little tricky, but he should be able to overcome it.”

Paul Courts

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