It's the clash harness racing fans have been salivating over for months; the first meeting between Australia's best-performed trotter of all time, Sundons Gift, and the rising megastar most consider his heir apparent, Let Me Thru.
But one person who hasn’t necessarily been counting down the days to the duel, to take place in Friday night’s Callea Pearce Lawyers Dullard Cup at Melton’s Tabcorp Park, is the man who trains them both, Chris Lang.
The champion Nagambie conditioner is coming to terms with the fact that at least one of the two superstars, who have both won their past six starts, will see their winning run come to an end in the $50,000 Group 1.
“The sad part is that one, or both, of them might get beaten on Friday night, so I think that’s a little bit sad,” Lang said.
“s Gift is maybe half a run short and the other horse (Let Me Thru) seems to have come through the Trotters Championship fantastic, so he’s probably got a really good chance to beat him, but I don’t believe it to be a two-horse race at all.”
That’s the irony of the most anticipated trotting meeting sinces Gift first met another Lang-trained dual Breeders Crown winner, , late in 2009.
Down Under Muscles, Ronerail, Danny Cash and La Mosca are among the others engaged in the 2760-metre mobile and they all fared better at the random barrier draw than Let Me Thru ands Gift, who drew gates 11 and 12 respectively.
Terang Trotters Cup winner Danny Cash came up with the prized inside alley, rejuvenated pair La Mosca and Ronerail drew alongside in five and six but will come in one spot if emergency Master Kiesey (four) doesn’t run and Down Under Muscles has a nice trailing draw in nine.
As respectful of the opposition as Lang is, though, he wouldn’t swap his pair for any of his rivals. He ominously declared Let Me Thru, to be driven by Lang's son Chris Jnr, would be better for his all-the-way Australasian Trotting Championship romp of two weeks ago.
“That showed me that he should realistically be better again this week than he was in the Australasian Final, because he’s now had another couple of weeks to just keep getting stronger,” Lang said of the winner of 15 of his 22 starts.
But Lang's drive,s Gift, who hasn’t been to the races since winning a fourth straight Australian Trotting Grand Prix on December 18 but has been kept up to the mark with a couple of trials, has the class to overcome being slightly underdone.
“Obviously you would prefer to have one run at least under your belt, but he hasn’t, so we’re taking it as it comes,” Lang said. “But in saying that I still think he’s ready to run a good race.”
The Callea Pearce Lawyers Dullard Cup is race seven, at 9:24pm, on a super nine-race Tabcorp Park card that also includes the $25,000 Caduceus Club Cup for three-year-olds and $20,000 Sapling Stakes for the male juveniles.
By Brad BISHOP
Let Me Thru's last start win - Australian Trotting Championship - February 5, 2011: