Sunset Shines in trotters grand final

08:21 PM 01 Mar 2008 NZDT
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Chris Lang’s reputation as Australia’s premier trainer of trotters remains in tact after he scored an upset with win Galleons Sunset in the $250,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final, Saturday night, March 1st..

The Nagambie horseman joined his legendary father Graeme and brother Gavin as winners of Australasian harness racing’s biggest event for trotters with his career-best win.

Lang only gained charge of Galleons Sunset from original trainer, New Zealand's, Derek Balle after the six-year-old won the Group 1 Bill Collins Trotters Mile in December, but he said he was confident all along that the gelding could get the job done.

“When Derek sent him to me he said he was a good horse and that was enough for me,” said Lang, who was happy to provide Australia with only its third Inter Dominion Trotters' crown since 1990.

“He won the Bill Collins Trotters Mile here and he proved here tonight that was no fluke. It’s a great feeling.”

Galleons Sunset led from go to whoa to win the 2575-metre event as a $30 chance.

Winning driver Derek Balle couldn’t believe his luck when he was allowed to stroll through the first 800 metres of the last mile in 63.4 seconds and after peeling off a 28.8-second third quarter it was evident Galleons Sunset’s rivals were going to have trouble running him down.

A 29.3-second final quarter put paid to that with Galleons Sunset running out three-and-a-half metre winner from Will Trapper ($9), who dashed home along the sprint lane to grab second money.

Third, a further three-and-a-half metres back, was My Rhythm Of The Night ($68) with fellow Kiwi Whatsundermykilt ($10) a neck back in fourth spot.

Favourite punters knew they were in trouble early in the race when $1.60 hot pot One Over Kenny galloped after just 500 metres.

The Phil Williamson-trained star still loomed up to the leading division at the 500m mark, but her early mistake come back to haunt her and the best she could manage was sixth placing.

The win was a triumph for Balle, who has retained the drive on Galleons Sunset since he has been with Lang.

It atoned for a couple of near misses for Balle, who had to settle for second place aboard Martina H when the mare loomed up to beat Sumthingaboutmaori in the 2004 Inter Dominion Trotting final.

Balle said once Galleons Sunset got around the final bend safely he knew they were never going to catch him.

“I was just concentrating on getting him around that last bend, but once we got around there I thought ‘gee, he’s got a bit left here’ and they weren’t really coming at him,” Balle said.

“He was really strong to the line.”

Brad Bishop

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