Hot And Treacherous $2.40 favourite for Nullarbor

By Adam Hamilton

Much-travelled former Kiwi pacer Hot And Treacherous is favourite to give the powerhouse Jason Grimson/Cam Hart combination back-to-back wins in Saturday night's $1.25mil Group 1 Nullarbor, Western Australia's richest race.

Grimson and Hart, who combined to win last November’s NZ Cup with Swayzee, also won last year’s inaugural Nullarbor with another former Kiwi pacer Betterzippit.

Speaking at Tuesday’s barrier draw, Grimson was buzzing with confidence about repeating the dose after Hot And Treacherous drew ideally in gate three.

“Yeah, he’s definitely good enough. He wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think he was good enough to win, so with the draw we got today, I’m very confident now,” he said.

Hot And Treacherous firmed from $4 to $2.40 favourite after the draw.

The gelding, who ran third to Leap To Fame and Swayzee in last July’s Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park, was transferred to Grimson’s stable after a disappointing Brisbane Inter Dominoon campaign late last year.

In six starts for Grimson, Hot And Treacherous has posted three wins and a second.

The second came in his final lead-up race at Menangle on April 2 when he led, but was beaten for sheer speed by explosive and classy stablemate Nerano, who sat on his back.

“That’s no disgrace. Nerano is lethal with a run like that. We were thrilled with his (Hot And Treacherous’) run,” Hart said.

“He’s a good stayer so getting out to a longer trip (2536m) will certainly suit him, too.”

Evergreen veteran and fellow former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of St Louis firmed from $10 to $5 after drawing to lead, at least early, from the pole.

Many were shocked when Spirit Of St Louis led and handed-up to Betterzippit last year, but part-owner Aaron Bain said the instructions will be for young gun driver Jack Callaghan to be more aggressive this time.

“We’ll be telling him to hold the front and go for an all-the-way win,” he said, “when you get a draw like this, you’ve got to use it.”

Spirit Of St Louis, who is moving to North American to continue his career next month, is having his second-last Down Under run.

“He’s run second in so many big races, it would be fantastic if he could go out with a win like this,” Bain said.

“He’ll go around in the Fremantle Cup the week after, too.

“Then he’s been ‘staked’ for all the big races in the US and heads there in mid-May.”

Interstate raiders ran one-two in last year’s Nullarbor with Betterzippit beating Spirit Of St Louis and the barrier draw certainly favoured the visitors again for Friday.

The best credentialled of the three raiders, former Miracle Mile winner Catch A Wave, will start from gate four.

“It’s good, but not great with two of the other favourites drawn inside us,” trainer Andy Gath said, “still, lots of other trainers would love to swap with us.

“He seems great. We thought his run (at Gloucester Park) last week was really good and we know how well he backs up a week later.

“He seems terrific, worked well this week and now we just need a bit of luck and I’m sure he’ll be right in the finish.”

In contrast, in-form local Minstrel, winner of six of his past seven starts, faces a big task from a horror outside front row draw (nine).

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