Day At The Track

Rasmussen no closer to choosing ID18 drive

10:47 AM 10 Dec 2018 NZDT
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Natalie Rasmussen,Harness racing
Natalie Rasmussen - Which one! Spankem or Cruz Bromac?

NATALIE Rasmussen is no closer to choosing between Inter Dominion big guns Cruz Bromac and Spankem as her drive in next Saturday’s $500,000 Grand Final.

Most expected she would do so after Monday's barrier draw, but that’s not the case.

“It’s such a hard call. I’d like to wait as long as possible, but I’ll probably do it after I see the draw and then jog them both on Tuesday morning,” Rasmussen said.

“They are both so well, have thrived over here and did it really again in their heats tonight (at Cranbourne).”

Mark Purdon will drive whichever Rasmussen opts not to partner.

Spankem again stamped himself as the “find” of the series when he dominated and won easily in the first of the third round pacing heats at Cranbourne last night.

The nuggety gelding made a midrace move from a back row draw to find the lead and cruised to a 7.7m win over a gallant Galactic Star in a 1min58sec mile rate for 2555m, capped by closing splits of 54.8 and 28sec flat.

“He’s done so well, almost too well, during the series. He’s put on at least 5kgs during it. I had to jog him the morning of the Ballarat heats and then had to gallop him this morning (before Cranbourne),” Rasmussen said. “He’s just such a good doer.”

Galactic Star finished the qualifiers with a win and two strong placings and with Todd McCarthy driving Tiger Tara in the final, trainer Greg Bond confirmed stable driver Ryan Warwick would come across for Perth for the Grand Final.

As sharp as Spankem looked, Cruz Bromac did more work, went much quicker time and seemed to win just as easily in his Cranbourne heat last night.

“Well I didn’t pull the plugs, so he did it pretty easily,” Rasmussen said.

Cruz Bromac went a 1min56.5sec mile rate, ran home in 55.0 and 28.5sec and finished the only unbeaten runner through the three rounds of heats.

The Aussie TAB was more impressed with Cruz Bromac and firmed him from $4 into $3.40 favourite for the final, while Spankem eased from $4 to $4.20.

The Kiwi influence on the final absolutely extends to Cran Dalgety’s four-year-old Im Pats Delight, who ran a terrific second to Cruz Bromac last night. It followed a second to Spankem on night one and easy win on night two.

Driver Gavin Lang was so bullish after last night’s race and headed to the final.

“Swap the runs tonight and Cruz Bromac would’ve have beaten us,” he said. “Just looking at this horse, he’s improving through the series and I’m sure he’s got a great chance in the final. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Lang, arguably the greatest driver of all time, has never won an Inter Dominion Pacing Final.

Australia’s best hope, warhorse Tiger Tara, snared his first win of the series when he worked to the front and just staved-off the much-improved Our Uncle Sam in a 1min57.1sec mile rate.

He is $4.60 third favourite for the final.

“He was all out on the line. Sure I’d like him to have a little more easily, but there’s a couple of things to consider,” driver Todd McCarthy said. “He wasn’t totally at home on the track and switched on and off a fair bit, plus his first two heat runs were so soft I actually think he needed the run tonight.

“Kev knows the horse so well. I’m sure with the week until the final he’ll have him spot on. We just need a (good) draw now.”

Highly-rated Victorians San Carlo and Wrappers Delight divided opinions last night.

San Carlo did plenty of midrace work to park outside Tiger Tara and battled away well for third. It’s clear he will need a gun draw and the right run to win the final.

Wrappers Delight, who led throughout at Ballarat, had a cosy three-peg run, got clear at the right time and just plugged away in the home straight when fifth to Spankem.

It was a very plain run, but driver Kima Frenning remained upbeat.

“I was happy with the run. It was his first run over the long distance for a long time. He’ll be better for it,” she said.

On what he did last night, he’s no longer a winning chance in the final.

The crucial barrier is at 11am (NZ time) tomorrow morning.

INTER DOMINION PACING FINAL FIELD AND MARKET

$3.40 CRUZ BROMAC, $4.20 Spankem, $4.60 Tiger Tara, $6.50 San Carlo, $7.50 Im Pats Delight, $9 Wrappers Delight, $12 Galactic Star, $41 Our Uncle Sam, $61 Cant Refuse, $71 Cash N Flow, $101 Mach Doro, $151 Village Witch (2nd emerg), $201 Audi Hare (1st emerg)


Adam Hamilton

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