Gath eyeing-off NZ raid

By Adam Hamilton

ALL the talk is about Chicago Bull, but another top Aussie is also being set for a New Zealand Cup Week raid.

Top Victorian trainer Andy Gath this week unveiled plans for his star trotter Tornado Valley tackle races on both Tuesday and Friday at Addington.

Tornado Valley is back in work and not far of returning from a break following his amazing first campaign with Gath which netted 10 wins a second and a third from just 14 starts.

The former Kiwi roared through the grades to win a Group 1 race another eight races at Group 3 level.

“We liked him as soon as we got him, but he still surprised us how well he handled every new challenge we asked of him,” Gath said. “It’s good to have been able to give him that break ahead of all the big race at the end of the year.”

Tornado Valley’s meteoric rise through the ranks saw him sit alongside Australia’s best trotters when he was spelled after a third at Melton on July 21.

“His first big target is the Bill Collins Mile on Victoria Cup night (October 13),” Gath said.

“Then it’s over to NZ all going well. We’ve had NZ in mind for quite a while because he’s from there and the money is good for those races.

“He showed last time in work he could match it with the best.”

The Group 1 Dominion Handicap is Tornado Valley’s major Kiwi target and Gath is no stranger to winning big NZ trotting races, albeit a while back now when he won the 2002 Rowe Cup with the brilliant mare La Coocaracha.

Beyond the NZ trip, Tornado Valley looms as the one of the key players in the reinstated Inter Dominion trotting series during the Melbourne Inter Dominion in December.

In other stable news, Gath and his wife Kate have high hopes for their exciting recent Kiwi import Diamonds N Cash.

One of their many horses raced by Norm Jenkin of Flashing Red fame, Diamonds N Cash was bought from Ken Breckon and the John Dunn stable and his five Aussie runs for the Gaths have been most encouraging.

“We threw him in the deep end because it was Breeders Crown time and to finish second in that three-year-old final, which was the strongest Crown final I can recall for many years, was terrific,” Andy Gath said.

Diamonds N Cash dropped back in grade and humbled a handy field at Ballarat last Wednesday night, sitting parked, but still dashing home in 55.3sec to win easily.

“Gee he felt fantastic,” Kate Gath said. “He’s pacing better every run he has for us and the other night is as sharp as he’s been.

“I think he’ll measure-up to the really good ones in time.

“He’s only a C3 now so we pick our way through the classes then look at the bigger four-year-old races later in the season.”

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