In the second heat of the Victoria Derby it was expected to be another McCarthy domination with Allblack Stride sent out the long odds-on favourite but harness racing punters were left bleeding when the favourite folded up as the entered the straight.
After securing a fairly easy run in front, Allblack Stride couldn’t sprint with Young Modern, who threw out the first challenge, but then Motor Smoker and SA Derby winner Paua Fella who both came rushing down the outside.
The run to the line saw Motor Smoker pull out all stops to kick on and defeat Paua Fella by a head with Young Modern in third and the Peter Manning-trained Znana getting through from three back the pegs to secure a place in the final.
The time of the race was slower than heat one with the winner recording a mile rate of 1:56.9 and quarters of 31.7secs, 29.7secs, 29secs and 27.1secs.
Motor Smoker has now won three from four this preparation with driver Gavin Lang explaining post-race that having the horse gelded lead to plenty of improvement between his two and three-year-old seasons.
by Blake Redden
Harness Racing Victoria