Change of favourite for ID Trotting Final
By Adam Hamilton
Former Kiwi pair Queen Elida and Mufasa Metro head the betting as the Inter Dominion final took another dramatic twist at last night’s barrier draw.
With the shock scratching of Kiwi superstar Bolt For Brilliance still sinking in, the trotter who replaced him as favourite, Just Believe, drew horribly for the final in barrier 12. He drifted from $2.50 to $5.50.
Interestingly, there was an avalanche of money for Brent Lilley’s star mare Queen Elida after she drew inside the back row (gate eight) in the 2760m final.
That’s because some key form students expect Mufasa Metro to lead from the pole (he’s drawn two, but the emergency has one) and Queen Elida can follow him through and sit on the leader’s back.
But Andy and Kate Gath’s star trotter Majestuoso (gate six) may have something to say about that.
And even Always Ready (gate seven) has fantastic early speed and nothing to lose from outside the front row.
Trainer-driver John Justice thinks he can lead and is keen to keep it.
“I want to lead and if I do, I want to stay there,” he said. “If that means having Queen Elida behind me, then so be it.
“He’s a great leader, my horse. He’s very hard to get past.
“She (Queen Elida) came strongly at me at Geelong and he dug in and held her off.
“I know I’ll have a better horse in the final than Geelong. We had a little setback just before the series and he’s been building ever since. I think he’ll run a great race.”
Trainer Andy Gath expects Majestuoso to be a player at the start and finish.
“He’s just getting back to his best in time,” he said. “He’s quick out, especially from wider draws. I think he’d go close to leading if we wanted him to.”
The barrier draw for the pacing final only served to solidify the stranglehold powerhouse combination Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin have on the race.
Honolua Bay, the only unbeaten pacer in the series, has gate two and Act Now is next door in barrier three.
Act Now is a $2.40 favourite just in front of Honolua Bay, who firmed from $2.70 to $2.50 straight after the post-draw market reopened.
“It’s a great draw. It gives us all the options,” Honolua Bay’s driver David Moran said.
Act Now’s driver Jodi Quinlan said: “He’s proven he’s versatile through this series, but he’s a quick beginner and you’d always pick a draw like this if you could.”
The X-factors at the start are I Cast No Shadow from the pole and Spirit Of St Louis (four), who showed blazing gate speed to lead from a middle draw and win his second round heat at Shepparton.
Expensive Ego landed a bit of nothing draw in gate six and faces the probability of having to do all the work again. He eased from $6 to $11.
Front row: Anywhere Hugo (emerg), Mufasa Metro, Sleepee, Hatchback, Nephew Of Sonoko, Majestuoso, Always Ready.
Back row: Queen Elida, Ofortuna, Majestic Harry, Parisian Artist, Just Believe, Swiss Miss.
Front row: I Cast No Shadow, Honolua Bay, Act Now, Spirit Of St Louis, Beyond Delight, Expensive Ego, Bundoran.
Back row: Torrid Saint (emerg), Narutac Prince, Zeuss Bromac, Mach Dan, Pete Said So, Better Eclipse.