Aussie trotter heading to NZ for Grand Prix day

By Adam Hamilton

Addington's Grand Prix Day is set to get some serious Aussie flavour.

Australia’s leading driver Nathan Dawson will accompany star three-year-old trotter Not As Promised across the ditch for the $110,000 NZ Trotting Derby on December 10.

It will make for a frantic few days for Dawson, who has a string of drives in the Brisbane Inter Dominion around the same time.

“We’re going and Nathan said he’ll make it work, too,” Not As Promised’s trainer Graham Dwyer said.

Before then, Not As Promised will chase his second Group 1 win of the season in Saturday night’s Breeders Crown 3YO trotting colts and geldings final at Melton.

“I’m confident. He’s better now than when he won the Victoria (Trotters’) Derby a few weeks back and this race isn’t as strong,” Dwyer said.

Not As Promised is booked on a flight from Melbourne to Christchurch on November 29.

“It might surprise a few and I’m sure those young Kiwi trotters will be very good, but our guy is improving with every run and he owes us nothing. We’re going. We may never get another chance to try something like this.”

Dwyer, 49, gave up panel beating a decade ago to try full-time training. He and 16-year-old son Layne now have 30 in work and 120 wins this season have them in equal eighth place on the Australian training premiership table.

“Most of our horses are bread and butter and passed-on from other stables, but Not As Promised is different,” Dwyer said.

Owner Tony Veivers paid $A40,000 for Not As Promised a few months back when Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs opted to cut back their stock a little after Greg’s extended stint in Sweden with champion trotter Just Believe.

“They liked him, but Greg told Tony something had to give,” Dwyer said.

“Tony actually looked at a pacer of theirs first, but we didn’t really like it and then Greg (Sugars) suggested Not As Promised.

“It took a while to get him going, but you could see the talent was there and it was when he beat an open-class trotter here (Queensland) called My Ultimate Eddie that I said to Tony we should have a crack at the Victoria Derby. He said go for it.

Not As Promised’s win shocked most, but not Dwyer, who admitted to having $50 each-way at $251 fixed odds.

“I’m not really a punter so it was more out of spite because I couldn’t believe the odds. I gave him a big chance, but it seems nobody else did,” he said. “It just added to an amazing day, by far the biggest thrill of my career.”

Dwyer said 28-year-old Nathan Dawson, who is on target for 400-plus wins and a runaway win in the Australian drivers’ premiership this year, has been instrumental in Not As Promised’s emergence.

“He’s helped teach the horse and then his drive in the Derby was fantastic,” he said. “I think he’ll end up one of the best drivers in Australia, if he’s not already, and it’s great having him in my corner.

“I know he’ll have lots of drives in the Inter Dominion, but when I mentioned this NZ trip, Nathan jumped at it.”

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