Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 176
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

 A testing workout on Wednesday morning has convinced co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen her glamour mares can bounce back in the $100,000 NZ Breeders Stakes at Addington tonight. And she says while Dream About Me may still be the stable's best mare Elle Mac is the one to beat in tonight's 2600m group one. The pair cost punters plenty when they led and trailed but were beaten out of a place in a similar race two week ago. Post-race blood tests suggested a virus which was just starting to come on and, after that was treated, the open class mares have had their workload upped this week.  Rasmussen has spent much of the last month in Australia with partner Mark Purdon preparing their stars for Victorian and NSW assignments but she returned this week to put the polish on some of the stable stars set to race at tonight's big Addington meeting. "I am sure the mares will go better than last start," she explains. "It was just one of those things. The blood tests before the race were fine but the one after wasn't, so it must have been coming on that day. "They are good now and I really liked how they worked on Wednesday morning." Rasmussen drove Elle Mac in that workout as she will tonight and says she narrowly favours her as the stable's best chance because of her front line draw tonight, whereas Dream About Me has to come off the second line. "I would like to think my mare could lead and I'd most likely stay there and that makes it harder for Dream About Me, even though she might still be the better mare." Dibaba, who caused the shock beating the pair last start, looks at least a place chance again but if Elle Mac leads and races up to her national record 1700m setting form of two starts ago it will take a big performance to beat her.  Rasmussen admits to being as happy but not as confident with Ultimate Machete in tonight's Summer Cup, even though he is clearly the best horse in the race. Good enough to sit parked outside and beat Tiger Tara last season, Ultimate Machete has raced sparingly because of hoof issues this season but worked well this week. "We know he is the best horse in the race but being drawn wide and it being 1980m he could have to work very hard so I can see it being a tricky race for him," says Rasmussen. "He is the top pick of our pair in the race but I can't say he is a good thing and if Funatthebeach got the sit on him he could outsprint him." The richest stake of tonight's meeting could come north as Barry Purdon-trained filly Havtime is the hot favourite in a moderate line-up for the $150,000 Sales Series Pace. Barry also has the firepower to dominate the main pace at Alexandra Park tonight, with Jack's Legend and On The Cards a great chance to repeat their last start quinella in the open sprint. Meanwhile, heavy support has seen the Purdon-Rasmussen trained Chase Auckland tighten to favouritism for tomorrow night's A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. "He will be a lot better for his three starts over there and is getting fitter all the time," says Rasmussen. "I will drive him off the gate hard to use his ace draw and hopefully lead or trail and I think he will be hard to beat but it is a strong field." NZ Cup winner Thefixer makes his Menangle debut a race earlier and will be heavily supported but Kiwi horses can often be vulnerable fresh up in fast mile races at Menangle so punters should be careful. Michael Guerin

There is life in the old girl yet.  That is co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen’s view as Dream About Me returns to mares company at Addigton tonight even though she faces a far worse draw than younger, and maybe faster, stablemate Elle Mac.  The pair were two of the stars of the recent Auckland Cup meeting but ended on vastly different notes, Dream About Me below her best in the Auckland Cup the same night Elle Mac set a new national record for 1700m after sitting wide the entire race.  Before that Dream About Me had beaten Elle Mac twice fair and square in mares races at The Park and back to their own sex at Addington tonight, Rasmussen slightly favours Dream About Me again. “I think she has been working well and back at home I think she might have a slight advantage over Elle,” says Rasmussen.  “I know Elle has the better draw but Dream About Me can work in her races. But they are both ready to go well.”  Rasmussen is in Victoria where she will partner Thefixer on what could be a mission impossible in the A$500,000 Hunter Cup at Melton tomorrow night.  While he was brilliant in the Ballarat Cup two weeks ago both he and stablemate Cruz Bromac, along with fellow Kiwi pacer Star Galleria, start from the second line while Tiger Tara is drawn to lead from barrier three in the 2760m mobile.“If Tiger Tara leads and races up to his best form this season we might be running for second and third,” suggests Rasmussen.  “We are really happy with our pair but at his best, when he is in front, Tiger is very very hard to beat, as we saw in the Inter Dominion final.”  But all hope is not lost.  “There are a couple of times this season when he (Tiger Tara) hasn’t raced up to that form and that is what we have to hope for on Saturday night — he doesn’t go as good as he can and we get some luck.”  The All Stars also have a strong four-year-old at Menangle in Sydney, where they expect big improvement from last season’s best three-year-old Chase Auckland in an M0 race.  He blew out when fresh up for a long time last Saturday but has worked better since show looks a far better chance tomorrow night while Ashley Locaz looks set to guarantee himself a place in the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire on February 16 by winning A$50,000 Hondo Grattan.  “He might even be our best chance in the Chariots of Fire because he is flying at the moment.” Michael Guerin

BEING the All Stars’ second-best three-year-old could be enough to make Im Another Masterpiece the stable’s third Victoria Derby winner. Mark Purdon won his first Victoria Derby when Tony Herlihy partnered Rare Gem to win in 2001 then it wasn’t until the awesome Lazarus in 2016 when he won it again. But Im Another Masterpiece made a real statement winning by far the strongest of the three heats and doing it in style at Ballarat last Saturday night. Driver and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen was content to let Shane and Lauren Tritton’s buzz pacer Muscle Factory lead and sit on it, but things changed when Im Another Masterpiece left the trail to sit parked with a lap to run. In doing so, Rasmussen avoid being pocketed on a track without a sprint lane but also kept another key contender, Centenario, three-wide for the final lap. “You don’t come all this way to be unlucky,” Rasmussen said. “You have to run top three and I wasn’t going to to run a nice hard-held fourth on the fence. “It was a nice win and the run should tighten him up for the final.” Back home, Im Another Masterpiece has played second-fiddle to gifted stablemate Ultimate Sniper, who is being saved for the NSW Derby next month. Im Another Masterpiece simply packed too much zip for his rivals in a scorching 54.9sec last half and won by 2.9m from Muscle Factory with a gallant Lochinvar Art third after doing plenty of work outside the leader for much of the race. In the talent-crammed heat, Centenario tired for sith and missed the final, while stablemate Demon Delight was only first emergency for the final after finishing a luckless fifth. Im Another Masterpiece went a 1min55.9sec mile rate for 2200m, while the first heat winner, Breeders Crown 2YO champ Hurricane Harley, led throughout win softly in a 1min56.8sec mile rate. The third heat was a dawdle early for leader and winner Max Delight, who sprinted home in 26.5sec at the end of a slow 2min0.4sec mile rate to win by 2.8m over Perfect Major and Petes Big Jim. The Aussie TAB has Hurricane Harley a slight $2.60 pre-draw favourite ahead of Im Another Masterpiece at $2.70 then the other heat winner, Max Delight, at $4.50. Adam Hamilton

INTER Dominion winner Tiger Tara again showed his vulnerability in sprint racing despite winning the Group 3 Brian Hancock Cup over a mile at Menangle last Saturday night. Dropped back from an easy 2300m Menangle win a week earlier, Tiger Tara worked to the front, dictated the terms and just scrambled home by a half-head. Fellow Inter Dominion finalist Maximan returned from a freshen-up with a ripping second where he was timed to run a 25.8sec last quarter. Tiger Tara’s splits for the mile were 26.9, 30.3, 29.4 and 26.1sec, which showed turning it into a sprint home probably didn’t suit him ideally. Now it’s back to the staying distance for the $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton on February 2 then a Miracle Mile quest. Earlier in the night at Menangle, another two Inter Dominion contestants – My Alpha Rock and Village Witch – ran the quinella in a 1min51.4sec mile. While Paul Court’s Kiwi raider, Hail Christian, made it four wins from just five NSW starts winning in a 1min51.1sec mile in the third event. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ INTER Dominion finalist Spankem sharpened-up for his Chariots Of Fire quest with a slick Ballarat win last Saturday night. Staggeringly, the gelding was able to drop back to race C3/4 class and won accordingly  by 4.3m in a slick 1min53.8sec mile rate for 1710m with Natalie Rasmussen aboard. He goes straight into next Saturday night’s Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton against the likes of Im Pats Delight, Ride High and Poster Boy where only the winner gets a Chariots Of Fire invite. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ NSW star trotter Tough Monarch booked a trip back to Melbourne and more Group 1 racing with a sparkling first-up win at Menangle last Saturday night. Rickie Alchin’s gelding, who ran so well through the Inter Dominion series, will head back to Melton to tackle Tornado Valley, Marcoola, Speeding Spur and others in the Group 1 Great Southern Star next Saturday night. He thrashed his rivals when first-up from a short break at Menangle where he trotted 1min58.2sec for 2300m and won by 21.5m. Another major Inter Dominion player, Save Our Pennys, showed he too would be a key Great Southern Star player with an easy Group 2 Cochran Trotters’ Cup win at Bendigo last Saturday night. Making the most of Tornado’s Valley’s absence, Save Our Pennys led throughout for trainer Graeme Lang and driver Gavin Lang to win easily by 5.2m over a gallant Dance Craze, who ran second after being parked, in a 1min59.8sec mile rate for 2200m. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ LEADING Chariots Of Fire contender Ignatius has made the trip from Tasmania to NSW, is back with Jimmy Rattray and will trial at Menangle on Tuesday. Regular trainer Todd Rattray had planned to give the four-year-old a race in his home state before returning to NSW, but a minor “bug” prompted his scratching two weeks ago. Ignatius, who boasts 16 wins from 19 starts, has not raced since a luckless but still slightly disappointing seventh in the Breeders Crown 3YO final at Melton on August 25, last year. “He seems well. We will get through the trial then decide whether he goes to the Hondo Grattan or we wait a week later for the Paleface Adios,” Jimmy Rattray said. The countdown to the $200,000 Group 1 Chariots of Fire at Menangle on February 15 really hots up with the Group 1 4YO Bonanza at Melton next Saturday night. The field will be headed by star Kiwi pair Spankem and Im Pats Delight taking on Emma Stewart’s glamour duo of Ride High and Poster Boy. Crucially, only the winner of the 4YO Bonanza gets a ticket into the Chariots, meaning the others will have to tackle one of the Menangle qualifiers – Hondo Grattan (February 2) or Paleface Adios (February 9). ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ONE of Team Bond’s stellar four-year-old Bettor Aim looks to have Perth’s Nights of Thunder final at his mercy. The former Kiwi son of Bettors Delight smashed the clock with a 1min52.4sec heat win at Gloucester Park last Friday and looks a league above his rivals. Greg Bond thinks Bettor Aim is right up there with his other top four-year-olds, Ana Malak and Mighty Conqueror, and we saw why last Friday. Bettor Aim finished behind Ana Malak in the Golden Nugget. Mighty Conqueror is about to race again and Bond is considering a Sydney raid to try and qualify for the Chariots Of Fire. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ SOUTH Australian pin-up pacer Email Macha scored one of the most important wins of his career when he snared the Wedderburn Cup yesterday (Sunday). The five-year-old gelding worked around to the front and found plenty to post his 26th win from just 29 starts. He’s won six of his eight runs this season. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ ANDY Gath hoped an Inter Dominion campaign would take his former Kiwi trotter Kingdom Come to the next level and it seems to have done just that. Kingdom Come ran a string of good races through the series won by stablemate Tornado Valley. Dropping back big time in class at Melton last Friday, Kingdom Come came from a back row draw, sat parked and thrashed his rivals by 19.4m in a 2min0.1sec mile rate for 2240m.     Adam Hamilton

“Thefixer … wow” calls Dan Mielicki as the All Stars next big thing swoops and registers a fourth straight PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup ($110,000) for the New Zealand stable. Natalie Rasmussen guided Thefixer three-wide from the pegs and produced a withering final run to break local hearts after a valiant Rackemup Tigerpie almost produced a stunning victory. Trainer-driver Michael Stanley's four-year-old was valiant before ultimately finishing second, beaten 1.3m,  with leader Cruz Bromac filling the placings. It was a perfect scene setter for the Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup on February 2, when TAB Inter Dominion winner Tiger Tara is set to clash with Thefixer in a rematch of their thrilling New Zealand Trotting Cup stoush. Winning driver Rasmussen, co-trainer of Thefixer with Mark Purdon, “was just thrilled with him tonight”. “In fairness to the two leaders they went really hard from the 400 to the 200 and I was probably just lucky enough to get out across the back of them,” Rasmussen said. “He’s got really good point-to-point speed.” Thefixer crossed Cant Refuse out of the gate to find the front but couldn’t match stablemate Cruz Bromac for early speed and accepted the trail, with Buster Brady initially in the breeze until Stanley emerged into the death seat with two laps remaining in the 2710m stoush. “Cruz has got brilliant gate speed and he was quick enough to get across,” Rasmussen said. “I was probably just lucky I was quick enough to get across the one (Cant Refuse), that was probably the winning of the race.” The leaders had it comfortably; their lead time (82.2s) and first (31.7s) and second (30.7s) quarters collectively 6.1 seconds slower than when Smolda set a new mile rate record in the 2017 cup. Come the 27-second final quarter few could make ground as Rackemup Tigerpie spectacularly wore down Cruz Bromac from the breeze only to have Thefixer gobble up ground in the dying stages to claim the $110,000 Group 1 on his Australian debut. “The horses had done a fair bit of work and I was pretty fresh-legged and he is very fast,” Rasmussen said. “He’s a very good horse. He’s still probably a little bit physically immature as well and this is his first trip away. He only just went to Auckland, that was his first trip and then here. I think whatever he does this campaign, or just now, he will be better again next year. “I think he is (going to be an almighty horse). I’ve stuck with him for a long time, even when he was a baby doing things wrong, he’s always given me a great feel. I’m just really thrilled for him. To watch the video click on this link  Natalie Rasmussen and part owner Glenys Kennard with the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup “(The Hunter Cup) will probably be harder again, but this guy’s in with a chance.” 7 9:32pm PETSTOCK BALLARAT PACING CUP (GROUP 1) 2710M $110,000 M0 Or Better. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 THEFIXER NZ      Fr2 3 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen   $ 2.20 fav  PRS GS HUE 3 SWAB   BAY GELDING 5 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of TOSTI GIRL (NZ) (CHRISTIAN CULLEN NZ)  Owner(s): G J Kennard, P I Kennard, P P Gillan, R J Fleetwood, R J Magness  Breeder(s): J P Green, B Hughes, P G Hughes 2 RACKEMUP TIGERPIE      Sr2 9 Michael Stanley Michael Stanley 1.30 $ 32.60   PRS 3WE OLM 2 SWAB D/F$ 3 CRUZ BROMAC NZ      Fr5 6 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Mark Purdon 2.20 $ 2.60   PRS GS L 1 T/CG 4 BUSTER BRADY NZ      Fr4 5 Kima Frenning Kima Frenning 3.30 $ 8.60   PRS GS 4 QUER 5 OUR UNCLE SAM      Sr3 10 Chris Frisby Anthony Frisby 4.50 $ 8.90   PRS 8 6 CANT REFUSE NZ      Fr1 1 Matthew Craven Matthew Craven 7.90 $ 25.20   PRS GS 5 7 SALTY ROBYN NZ      Sr1 8 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 17.30 $ 88.90   PRS 7 8 DELIGHT ME      Fr3 4 Emma Stewart Amanda Turnbull 30.20 $ 48.30   PRS PH 6 VXAR QUER 9 TOUGH CALL      Fr6 7 Michael Cole Chris Alford 36.90 $ 82.50   PRS RAS 9 Scratchings   OUR TRIPLE PLAY NZ (LATE) 2 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 3:19:3 Mile Rate: 1:58:3 Lead Time: 82.2 First Quarter: 31.7 Second Quarter: 30.7 Third Quarter: 27.7 Fourth Quarter: 27 Margins: 1.3m x NK   Trots Media - Michael Howard ID18

If you are considering a Mark Multi at Alexandra Park tonight tread cautiously. Because while champion trainer Mark Purdon will provide favourites in up to five of the races on the premier night, he has reservation about two of his biggest names. Purdon is looking after the domestic team tonight before heading to Victoria tomorrow morning to partner favourite Spankem in the Inter Dominion Pacing Final, where he has been prepared by partner Natalie Rasmussen, who will drive Cruz Bromac in the same race. There will be plenty of punters willing to multi up all sorts of All Stars-trained runners over the weekend but Purdon says any time he brings a horse to Alexandra Park for the first time there is an element of the unknown. And that applies to both Ultimate Sniper in the $50,000 Alabar Classic and Turn It Up in the $50,000 Lincoln Farms Franklin Cup. Ultimate Sniper was stunningly good winning the Sires' Stakes Final at Addington last month and will have Tony Herlihy sitting in for Rasmussen tonight but the $1.35 might be a little short. "We all know how good he is but he has never raced right-handed and he hasn't been 100 per cent comfortable yet when working that way," says Purdon. "He should be better on the bigger track at Alexandra Park but I wouldn't be saying he will just win because he has to overcome that hurdle first." Turn It Up is one of the more exciting pacers in the country and it took Interdom star Cruz Bromac to beat him in the NZ Free-For-All last start but he hasn't raced for four weeks and also hasn't been right-handed. "We have four good chances in that race and while he might be the best of them I can't separate them with any confidence, again because he hasn't raced right-handed. "So a horse like Ashley Locaz could be hard to beat, he had to be very good to win like he did here last week." Purdon's confidence levels boost closer to 100 per cent when discussing Dream About Me in the Queen Of Hearts and Princess Tiffany in the Ladyship Stakes. The latter lost her unbeaten record when third in a similar field last Friday but is better drawn and with natural improvement should win, although Wainui Creek is an exciting rival. Dream About Me held off stablemate Elle Mac in their lead-up race last Friday and a similar racing pattern and result looks likely in tonight's group one, especially with main rival Utmost Delight drawn wider than the favoured pair. Purdon and his army of punting followers won't just have eyes for Alexandra Park, with Ultimate Machete returning to mobile racing at Addington tonight too, where A G's White Socks and Alta Maestro will test any chinks in his armour. Back at Alexandra Park, Marcoola has the draw and the gate speed to dominate the $50,000 Lyell Creek Trot and he would only need to turn up in his Dominion winning form of a month ago to make the $1.90 quote look luxurious.   Michael Guerin

The All Stars stable of Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon knows no boundaries. Their pursuit of excellence continues to defy belief, constantly rewriting the pages of history, producing brilliant talent season after season and across all age groups. The Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final is a time honoured feature that tugs at the heartstrings of both Rasmussen and Purdon. After all, Rasmussen and her mighty champion Blacks A Fake won the event a record four times while Purdon has lifted the trophy on six occasions – 3 pacers and 3 trotters. This will be Rasmussen’s 7th Inter Dominion Grand Final, her previous six coming with Blacks A Fake – 4 wins and 2 seconds. In fact, the last time the Pacing Grand Final was staged in Melbourne (2008 - Moonee Valley), it was Rasmussen and ‘Blackie’ that proved victorious. And now they’re chasing another slice of history this weekend. The All Stars have qualified two runners for the Gr.1 $500,000 TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final, the top two point scorers following the three rounds of heats over the past week. Cruz Bromac and Spankem are the two combatants, both striving to provide the stable their third straight Inter Dominion hero. Yet all with different horses after Smolda scored in 2016 while Lazarus took honours last year. And here’s the magic, no stable has won the Inter Dominion three times and with a different champion each time. The famous stables of Bob and Vin Knight fell short back in 1990 after both Our Maestro and Jane Ellen scored in the previous. It was Thorate who scored at Globe Derby while the Knight trained Jane Ellen and Rockleigh Victory were both unplaced and therefore denied the Victorian stable a three peat. Obviously Rockleigh Victory would’ve created history if successful - three different winners in three consecutive years. But now the All Stars can claim this record if either Cruz Bromac or Spankem deliver. And both have undeniable chances, Spankem will start from gate five with Purdon driving after Rasmussen elected to stick solid with Cruz Bromac despite drawing gate nine. Purdon is taking his 9th Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final drive; he has won three finals previously with Mark Hanover, Smolda and Lazarus while he has won 3 Trotting Finals with Pride Of Petite and I Can Doosit (twice). Cruz Bromac is the only runner during the series to win all three qualifying heats. With the series undertaking several changes throughout recent years, the last pacer to clean sweep a series (3 heats & Final) was the champion performer Im Themightyquinn back in 2012 at Gloucester Park in Perth while Elsu also achieved the feat in 2005 at Alexandra Park, Auckland. So, can Cruz Bromac and Rasmussen achieve the sweep? Will it be his stablemate, rising star Spankem? The professional four-year-old has thrived during the series winning two of his three heats and looks like he’ll relish the 2760m distance. Another New Zealand four-year-old I’m Pats Delight is also relishing the hard grind of the series and looms as a serious player for a formidable combination in Cran Dalgety and Gavin Lang. Between them, they have won more features than they care to remember. However, the Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final trophy has proven elusive for both future Hall of Famers but can they etch their names into the record books this weekend? This will be Lang’s 10th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive and second for Dalgety after partnering London Legend back in 2006. I’m Pats Delight will start from gate three. Perth powerhouse Greg and Skye Bond are represented by the ideally drawn Galactic Star (gate one) and the Bettors Delight gelding has been outstanding throughout the series to date with top three finishes in each of his three heats. Last year, Galactic Star finished 5th behind Lazarus. In 2012, the Bond’s also finished 5th with Can Return Fire behind Im Themightyquinn. Ryan Warwick takes his third Inter Dominion Grand Final drive when he reunites with Galactic Star. Interestingly, the only proven Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit winner in the field this year is the tough Sydney trained millionaire Tiger Tara. And his maiden Grand Circuit victory came recently when successful in the Victoria Cup here at TABCORP Park, Melton when leading throughout. Placed third last year behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull, the Kevin Pizzuto trained and Todd McCarthy driven will need to overcome gate seven, the outside of the front-line. McCarthy is taking his 4th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. The Bettors Delight entire was placed in all three heats including his victory last weekend at Cranbourne. Local star San Carlo lines up again following his impressive efforts last year in Perth where he won a heat but in the final, he finished 9th behind Lazarus after drawing poorly. Although winless during the heats and starting from gate eight, the inside of the second-line, San Carlo still rates as a winning hope. Prepared by Steve O’Donoghue and handled by Bec Bartley, the Mach Three gelding will carry plenty of local support. Another local which will have plenty cheering is the David Aiken trained and Kima Frenning driven up and comer Wrappers Delight. A winner in the sprint heat at Ballarat on night two, the Bettors Delight gelding needs to overcome gate 11. This opportunity provides Frenning with her first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. One of the surprise packets of the series is the Mattie Craven trained and driven Can’t Refuse, responsible for some eye-catching efforts throughout the heats. The Bettors Delight gelding will start from gate two. Like Frenning, this is Craven’s first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. Another pacer that has thrived throughout the series is the Bathurst prepared Our Uncle Sam for father/son combination of Chris and Anthony Frisby. Blessed with sharp speed and great determination, the Sportswriter gelding is looking at bringing another Inter Dominion trophy back to the famous region. Memories of Honda Grattan and Smooth Satin come flooding back when assessing the chances of Our Uncle Sam. The five-year-old will start from gate 10 and this is Anthony’s first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive. There’s no doubt rejuvenated pacer Maximan will have the biggest cheer squad, the one-time claimer has thrived under the care of Shane and Lauren Tritton. It will be their 3rd Inter Dominion finalist. Boasting owners from all parts of the country, the veteran performer will start from gate six. And Craig Cross is represented by two runners, just like the All Stars, speedy pacer Mach Doro starts from gate four while Cash N Flow is looking to overcome gate 13, the outside of the second-line. Luke McCarthy partners Mach Doro while John Caldow takes the drive behind Cash N Flow, McCarthy is lining up for his 7th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive while Caldow is taking his maiden drive in a Pacing Grand Final. McCarthy has finished third four times previously but is still chasing his maiden victory. Interestingly, Cash N Flow is a former member of the All Stars operation before joining Cross earlier this year. Owner Dominic Martello races both Wrappers Delight and Mach Doro. Audi Hare (gate 12) is listed as the emergency runner. Chris Barsby

Loyalty could cost Natalie Rasmussen another TAB Inter Dominion pacing title at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night. But it could hand her partner Mark Purdon a unique piece of Inter Dominion history. Rasmussen and Purdon train two of the Inter Dominion favourites in Spankem and Cruz Bromac, who after heading the points table went into yesterday’s barrier draw as the two favourites for the $500,000 pacing final on Saturday. But while Spankem has emerged as the TAB bookies elect after drawing barrier five, Rasmussen has decided to stick with Cruz Bromac, on who she is unbeaten in five starts together. “To be honest Spankem might be the better of our chances because I can’t believe how well he has come through the series,” says Rasmussen. “But I feel committed to Cruz. He has also been great through the series and being an older horse this might be his big chance to win an Inter. So I’d be happy driving either but I will stick with Cruz.” Rasmussen is already the queen of the Inter Dominion, having trained and driven Blacks A Fake to win the series a record four times and she can still win again this Saturday but Cruz Bromac’s second line draw suggests he will need mid-race pressure. Spankem has the front line draw to keep rolling forward and at least stay handy if he can’t find the lead, which looks very much on the cards. That provides champion NZ trainer Purdon with a shot at a feat that may never be repeated again: winning three consecutive Inter Dominion pacing finals on three different horses. Purdon co-trained and drove Smolda (2016) and Lazarus last year to win the pacing finals when they were held in Perth and if he wins on Saturday night he will join Rasmussen with four pacing final wins each, having won his first with Mark Hanover in 1991. Spankem is now the $2.90 TAB favourite for the final ahead of Im Pats Delight and Cruz Bromac at $4.50 each and the big winner in the draw, Galactic Star (ace) at $6.50.   Michael Guerin

Champion driver Gavin Lang secured gate three for both his 2018 TAB Inter Dominion pacing and trotting drives at this morning's barrier draw. Held at Zinc Federation Square on the banks of the Yarra, the TAB ID18 Barrier Draw and Breakfast of Champions attracted plenty of guests and grabbed the attention of morning commuters in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. Lang, who pilots impressive Kiwi Im Pats Delight in the pacing grand final and trotter Save Our Pennys in the trotting decider, has two live chances on the biggest stage of all. The master reinsman said both horses were progressing well through the ID18 series to date but would have to step it up again to secure harness racing's holy grail. Save Our Pennys heads into the trotting decider a $14 shot after finishing second in all his qualifying heats behind the raging ID18 favourite Tornado Valley. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have driven a lot of very good trotters in my career and I would have been prepared to say this one’s not a patch on any of those ones, especially the three Inter Dominion winners,” Lang said when asked about the recent progress of the seven-year-old. “But I must say he’s really exceeded my expectations (through ID18).” Lang also said Save Our Pennys’ fitness was improving each run after his first-up second off a 30-metre handicap in the Geelong Trotting Cup. “He got beaten on his merits at Geelong and I thought if he improves 10 per cent from that in the first of the Inter Dominion heats I’d be pleased. I wasn’t expecting him to come out and run second,” Lang said. “He’s improved each run through this series and three seconds is more than I would have expected. “The distance of the final (2760m) is no burden for him and he’s just an old-fashioned horse who puts his head down and gets on with it. He’s got a great demeanour.” Cran Dalgety-trained Im Pats Delight is a four-year-old New Zealand pacer, who has gone from strength to strength through the heat rounds. “It’s a daunting task for a four-year-old to contest an Inter Dominion series but he is very mature and he seems to be getting through each run well,” Lang said. Meanwhile, Nat Rasmussen has chosen Cruz Bromac as her ID18 drive in the pacing final with partner Mark Purdon picking up the reins aboard fancied stablemate Spankem. Click here for the ID18 final fields   Trots Media - Cody Winnell

A little-known former New Zealand pacer has emerged as the key player in the A$500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final.  Because while former Southland pacer Galactic Star has had a top class career in West Australia, he would rarely have been on the radar of most New Zealand punters, even the serious harness racing players, until this Interdom series in Victoria.  Yet after drawing the ace for Saturday night’s 2760m final at Melton, the attitude of his connections could decide the race.  Galactic Star, who won four races in New Zealand two years ago when trained by Des Baynes, won his first night heat of this series using blazing gate speed and has been very good when placed in his subsequent two heats.  But his impact on the final outcome has been boosted enormously by him drawing barrier one, from where he looks certain to lead.  If driver Ryan Warwick wants to stay in front that will mean no shot at the lead for key front line runners Pat Delight (barrier three), Spankem (five) or Tiger Tara (seven).  It would almost certainly mean plenty of pressure to try and break him and potentially bring a horse like series points leader Cruz Bromac into contention after he fared poorly in the draw, copping the second line  But if Warwick and the Galactic Star’s connections decide the trail is the place to be then either of the well-favoured Kiwis, Pats Delight or Spankem, will fancy their chances of running to the front and therefore becoming the one to beat.   Spankem’s incredible rise throughout this series continued after the draw as he is now the $2.80 favourite for the classic just six weeks after punters could have got $41 for him to win it.  He has thrilled co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen with how he has bounced through his three heats but she has decided to stick with Cruz Bromac as her drive out of loyalty, having driven him five times for five wins.  That means training partner Mark Purdon takes the reins behind Spankem and gives him a shot at a unique piece of Inter Dominion history as he has won the last two pacing finals driving Smolda and Lazarus so could make it a three-peat on three different horses.  Spankem, who won only once last season as a three-year-old, is favourite over Pats Delight and Cruz Bromac still the third favourite even though his task looks enormously more difficult as he won’t be able to use his gate speed.  Gate speed and tactical decisions could also decide the A$150,000 Trotting Final on Saturday, which after the draw looks a two-horse race.  South Auckland trotter Speeding Spur has the advantage of barrier one giving co-trainer and driver Josh Dickie options of whether to stay in front or elects to trail favourite Tornado Valley.  The latter has drawn barrier six and may even have the raw speed to cross Speeding Spur but if the pair lead and trail it looks curtains for their rivals. (THESE FIELDS TO BE BROKEN OUT ON RUNNER PER LINE) The fields for the two Inter Dominion finals to be run at Melton on Saturday night are: $500,000 Inter Dominion Pacing Final, 2760m mobile, 11.45 (NZtime) 1: Galactic Star 2: Can’t Refuse 3: Im Pats Delight 4: Mach Doro 5: Spankem 6: Maximan 7: Tiger Tara 8: San Carlo (1 second line) 9: Cruz Bromac 10: Our Uncle Sam 11: Wrappers Delight 12: Audi Hare (em) 13: Cash N Flow A$150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Final, 2760m, 11.08 NZtime 1: Speeding Spur 2: Monty Python 3: Save Our Pennys 4: Rompers Monarchy 5: Big Jack Hammer 6: Tornado Valley 7: Sky Petite 8: Illawong Armstrong (1 second line, em) 9: Tough Monarch 10: Kingdom Come 11: Kyvalley Blur 12: Wilmas Mate 13: Red Hot Tooth   Michael Guerin

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

As if there was not enough excitement in the camp more is coming as Chase Auckland readies for a brief northern campaign and then an assault on the Chariots of Fire when he is likely to clash with Spankem all going well. Chase Auckland was the pre-eminent three year old last season before going amiss in the latter part and he has had a patient buildup through the spring toward an Australian campaign. “He is ready to go to the trials now and after that he would head north” Natalie said “He’s doing great. We would probably give him a race at Cambridge even though it is not a qualifying race for the Chariots now and then he would head over for those leadup races for that. “Spankem will stay over here for the Bonanza ($A100,000 January 26) and then go on to Chariots trail. Chase Auckland and will probably go straight to Sydney. Chase Auckland won eight of his nine starts at three and ran second to stablemate Sicario in the other earning nearly $400,000 for his Alabar Farms Syndicate who are naturally his greatest fans. He had a minor hiccup in the spring which crossed out the NZ Cup meeting and the Auckland Cup. That could be a blessing in disguise as he faces a busy summer and autumn all going well. He is likely to trial next Tuesday at Rangiora. Ultimate Machete trialled on Wednesday and won well. A decision has yet to be made on whether he will trial again before heading north. Courtesy of All Stars Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

A huge decision sits on the shoulders of the Inter Dominion harness racing queen and three wins in Natalie Rasmussen is unclear of one of the biggest decisions she may have to make this year: Spankem or Cruz Bromac. The All Stars pair are $4 co-favourites after two nights of TAB Inter Dominion, repeating their eye-catching first-up efforts at Tabcorp Park with a pair of impressive performances on a brilliant night’s racing at Ballarat. Having just saluted in the last of the night’s ID18 heats with Cruz Bromac Rasmussen told Sky Racing’s Jason Bonnington choosing her drive on December 15’s Inter Dominion finals night at Tabcorp Park Melton was a “out of the hat” decision. “They’re both beautiful horses,” Rasmussen said. “They both have strength and they are both tough.” Cruz Bromac was ultra-impressive in overcoming his back row draw to round up leader Audi Hare and hold off fast finishing Galactic Star to salute in 1:53.5. “That was a lovely run for him,” Rasmussen said. “He hit the line good. Last week was a good confidence builder and tonight ever better. I just went to the line nice and kind with him.” Excitement is clearly building and its shared by another renowned driver, Gavin Lang, whose Kiwi is also flying. Having caught the drive of New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety’s Im Pats Delight, Lang couldn’t help but dream that the trophy missing on his shelf – a Pacing Inter Dominion – might be within arm’s length after tonight’s heat win. “I would love to win it, but it’s only run once a year and a very very hard race to win, so hopefully this might be my time,” Lang said. Racing continues with Saturday night’s third round of TAB Inter Dominion heats. Get track side and lap it up via www.id18.com.au For full results and videos click here   Trots Media - Michael Howard

Natalie Rasmussen had a surprise admission after dominating the opening night of the Inter Dominions. Rasmussen drove both Spankem and Cruz Bromac to win their pacing heats at Melton in Victoria, as good as confirming the pair will be in the A$500,000 final there on December 15. But while Cruz Bromac is first or second favourite for that final after his effortless heat win, Rasmussen says she is still not certain who she will drive in the final should they both make it. Spankem caused the biggest upset of the night when he overcame sitting parked to win the deepest heat of the three on Saturday, downing fellow Kiwi rep I'm Pats Delight in a repeat of their Kaikoura Cup quinella last month. Rasmussen, who trains both Spankem and Cruz Bromac with partner Mark Purdon, says there could be nothing between them come finals night. "I think Spankem is the horse who could improve the most in the series," says Rasmussen. "He is a fat little bugger and will keep getting better with the hard racing. Inter Dominions are funny things and a lot can happen in the two weeks because they race so often and then you have the barrier draw that comes into play. "But I really think there isn't much between our pair. Getting those two first night wins is crucial because it gives them valuable points and I couldn't be happier with how they came through their runs. "They ate every bit of feed last night and this morning and when I put them in their paddock this morning they took off like mad things. It is a case of so far, so good." Both Spankem and Cruz Bromac face tricky second line draws over sprint trips when the series moves to Ballarat for the next round of heats tomorrow night and Rasmussen warns that could make those races hard to win depending on the mid-race tempo. The big winner for tomorrow night has been I'm Pats Delight, who is not only in a weak heat but has the perfect draw at barrier two, so all three Kiwis are looking good to make the final. Tomorrow night's heats will see both first night trotting heat winners Speeding Spur and Tornado Valley clash, with the former drawing inside his biggest danger for the final. Their wins on Saturday mirrored each other and whoever comes out on top tomorrow could go a long way to securing pre-draw favouritism for the A$150,000 trotting final also on December 15. The last round of heats is at Cranbourne on Saturday night.   Michael Guerin

Second row draws in 1710m races are never good news at any level but even those couldn’t dampen Natalie’s spirits on Sunday morning. “You are in a series. You just have to expect the draws are going to go against you at some stage. Two at the same time not ideal but you just have to roll with it and hope for some luck in the running” However she is counting the positives not the negatives. “I really can’t get over how well the two boys have come through the race. They ate everything up and are bouncing around like schoolboys. You couldn’t have better news than that in a high pressure series like this” Spankem was and is the surprise packet, at least to Australians and, going by his price, many Kiwis as well. Spankem came to Australia as a three year old in search of the Victorian Derby along with stablemate The Devil’s Own. He won his heat- at Ballarat incidentally- and was a good fourth in a highly competitive Derby Final. Colt Thirty One beat Poster Boy and The Devil’s Own with Spankem 4th in a 1.54.5 mile rate. This time he has travelled even better. “He’s got all you want for a horse over here on a tough campaign. He can work in a race and still sprint if you want him and he just seems to love being here. “ Natalie said echoing Poi’s thoughts from last week. “A horse like that is a big asset in a a series like this” That is taking nothing from Cruz Bromac who only did what he had to to win at cramped odds. Though perhaps primarily regarded as a speed horse Cruz can be devastating at any distance with a lead into the action and the distance of the later heats won’t bother him. After the 1710m heats on Tuesday there is a round of 2555m heats at Cranbourne next Saturday and the 2760m final at Melton the following week. While Tuesday’s draws are difficult they are not impossible by any means. Spankem follows out Ellmer’s Image who went average on the first night and may not be able to carry him into a prominent position early but he showed on Saturday how he is capable of making his own luck. Given bold front runner Alpha Rock has also drawn the second line it is another back rower, Tiger Tara who looks the one to beat on his first night run though even he is not set an easy task from outside the second row. Cruz Bromac, the fastest heat winner on the first night follows out the Tim Butt-trained Italian Delight, whose poor run on the first night attracted the attention of the stewards. Galactic Star the former Kiwi from Perth who won the second heat on Saturday is also drawn on the second line. Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/   Fields for Tuesday night click here!

Matt Bowden is more than happy with how things are going with Inter Dominion hopefuls Spankem and Cruz Bromac as they shape up for the first heats on Saturday. The team arrived in Sydney last Friday and travelled by road to Melbourne on Saturday. “No complaints . Possibly Spankem has done a little better but not enough for anyone to be concerned about. Cruz is going good too” Poi said “Natalie arrives over by Thursday and I will be heading off to Auckland then to look after the team there. They will be based at Barry’s this year” “Natalie will be staying there for the campaign. We are based just out of Melbourne where Blacks a Fake used to stay when he went to Melbourne and it is nice and quiet here” “Spankem has never turned a hair and is a great little traveller. I will be surprised if he doesn’t win a heat of the series at least. Cruz is a hot favourite in his heat and will also be ready for a big run. I am happy with them both” Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

1 to 16 of 176
1 2 3 4 5 Next »