Day At The Track

Who will be crowned the Trotting Master?

05:59 PM 26 Apr 2017 NZST
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On Thunder Road
Can On Thunder Road hang on and claim the title?

This is it; the harness racing title is up for grabs. The final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters series takes place on Friday night with the running of the Gr.1 $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland.

It’s the premier trotting event in the North Island, staged over the marathon distance of 3200m and staged from the standing start featuring a wide array of talent.

A field of 14 with 3 emergencies has been drawn to contest the major event.

And the honour roll features some of the who’s who of trotting, recent winners include Monbet, Stent, Master Lavros, Stig, I Can Doosit (x 2), Sundons Gift, One Over Kenny (x 2), La Coocaracha, Take A Moment and Lyell Creek (x 3) among others.

First staged back in 1918, Whisht proved triumphant while other past champions include Waikaha, Neil Volo, Great Admiral, Aerial Scott, Battle Cry, Pohutukawa, Single Cash, Sir Castleton, Idle Scott, Wagon Apollo and Merinai among many others.

Another great name will join that illustrious list.

And another Trotting Master will be crowned.

The APG Trotting Masters is staged from November through until April and takes in five events spread across the southern hemisphere.

The major races include the Dominion, Great Southern Star, Grand Prix, ANZAC and Rowe Cups.

Total stake money is $880,000 for the five features.

Points are awarded during the Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing.

The horse with the greatest number of points is crowned Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters Champion.

And as it stands, Sydney trotter On Thunder Road leads the point scoring with 101 points while Monbet, Glenferrie Typhoon and Habibti Ivy all have 100 points.

On Thunder Road won the Grand Prix while finishing near the rear in the Great Southern Star, Monbet (Dominion), Glenferrie Typhoon (Great Southern Star) and Habibti Ivy (ANZAC Cup) earned their points through their solid victories.

So, can On Thunder Road hang on and claim the title?

Or will he be usurped in the final event of the season?

11 of the 14 runners can snatch victory while another runner can at least share the title.

Those in the mix include Habibti Ivy (100), Quite A Moment (63), Lemond (60), Daryl Boko (49), Eyre I Come (40), Bordeaux (25), Temporale (20), Gee Up Neddy (10), Prime Power (4), Great Things Happen (3) and High Gait (2) while Wilmas Mate (1) can equal On Thunder Road.

Only Realmein and One Over Da Moon can’t claim the title.

Only Daryl Boko has contested each and every leg of the series this season.

The last Australian trained Trotting Masters champion was Sundons Gift back in 2010/11 for Chris Lang while A Touch Of Flair (2007 – joint winner) and La Coocaracha (2002) have also proved successful.

The domination of the Kiwi’s in the Trotting Masters is obvious with the likes of Speeding Spur (2016), Stent (2014/15), Vulcan (2013), I Can Doosit (2012), One Over Kenny (2007 & 2009), Mountbatten (2008), Allegro Agitato (2006), Take A Moment (2003/04) and Lyell Creek (2000/01 & 2005) all being crowned since the turn of the century.

Previous winners as either a trainer or a driver competing in this year’s edition include Greg & Nina Hope, Ricky May, Mark Jones, Paul Nairn, David Butt, Tony Herlihy, Mark Purdon, Maurice McKendry and Tim Butt.

McKendry will partner emerging talent Lemond and is aiming for his 5th victory in the race following previous wins with Mairo Sultan, Directorship, David Moss and Our Sunny Whiz.

The Rowe Cup will be a special race and for a number of reasons but who will get their hands on the trophy?

Suddenly, it all comes down to one race.

Chris Barsby

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