Betterzippit wins $1m Nullarbor
By Adam Hamilton
Former Kiwi pacer Betterzippit upstaged some of Australia’s best pacers to win the inaugural $1mil Nullarbor at Gloucester Park last night.
But the stories of the race were the continued remarkable rise of young trainer Jason Grimson and the mystifying drive on beaten favourite Magnificent Storm.
Grimson surprised many by targeting the Nullarbor with Betterzippit, who had five of his first six Aussie starts for the Menangle trainer, but was yet to be proven at the top level.
“When I heard the NZ race (Race by Grins) and Nullarbor were on the same night, I was originally going to go back to NZ and try and go one better than I did with Majestic Cruiser last year,” Grimson said.
“But this horse, Betterzippit, came along and he just seemed so well suited to the (tight) track and the type of race in Perth, so I went this way instead.
“He’s a really serious horse and I thought all along he’d be very hard to beat. You haven’t seen the best of him yet.”
Much of the credit for last night’s win goes to driver Cam Hart, who bedazzled his rivals with a lightning early move around the field to take the lead.
Dual Miracle Mile runner-up Spirit Of St Louis caused the first surprise when he burned across from an outside gate to cross $1.80 favourite and local star Magnificent Storm.
Soon after, Hart unleashed from back in the field and burned past Spirit Of St Louis to take the lead.
The race was effectively over.
Magnificent Storm’s driver Aldo Cortopassi erred by letting Hart whiz around him early and again when he decided to stay in the running line with a lap to run. He dragged back to last behind tiring horses and finished seventh.
It was an ugly watch.
Hart was surprised he was able to get around the field so easily and always felt he was in control once he found the front.
“I thought for sure something would pull out in front of me, but when nothing did and I was able to get the top, I knew they’d be hard pressed to beat me,” he said.
“He’s the real deal, this horse. I know the margin wasn’t great, but he was waiting for Spirit Of St Louis a bit. They’d have gone another lap and he wouldn’t have gotten past him.”
Grimson, a relative unknown just two years ago, is now the dominant force in Australasian open-class harness racing.
Last night’s win with Betterzippit followed continued a remarkable two years for Grimson in which he has won the past two Inter Dominion pacing finals, Queensland’s biggest race (the Blacks A Fake), the Group 1 Messenger in NZ and Len Smith Mile at Menangle.
Grimson’s also had placings in the NZ Cup, NZ Free-For-All and the inaugural Race by Grins.
And his stunning results have come with four different pacers: Boncel Benjamin, Majestic Cruiser, I Cast No Shadow and now Betterzippit.
Classy local Jumpingjackmac completed a Kiwi bred trifecta by working home strongly for third.