Inside runners to fight for Sniper’s back
By Jonny Turner
Series star Ultimate Sniper’s premium barrier 5 draw is set to produce early fireworks in Saturday’s Interdominion Pacing Championship final at Alexandra Park.
The already slim chances of the All Stars pacer’s rivals beating him following his three jaw-dropping heat wins took a hit after Ultimate Sniper drew a nearly perfect starting spot for Saturday night’s final.
The stocks of My Kiwi Mate (1), Sicario (2), Ashley Locaz (3) and On The Cards rose after they drew inside Ultimate Sniper on Sunday.
Though that could depend on how desperate each of their drivers are to find the front with the hope of securing a perfect run by handing the lead to the favourite.
My Kiwi Mate and driver Craig Demmler look to have first option on the lead from the inside.
The Victorian pacer began quickly in his first two heats of the series, before being restrained at the start of this third.
It will be no easy task for My Kiwi Mate to hold out On The Cards, who has shown blistering early speed to lead two heats.
The Barry Purdon trained pacer crossed each of rivals in the two times he drew the front row in the heat stages.
Sicario has shown enough gate speed in his career to suggest he could add early pressure to the race.
However, the horse was easily beaten out of gate by On The Cards in their first round heat.
Ashley Locaz looks the least likely of the horses drawn inside Ultimate Sniper to get involved in the early rush.
The 5yr-old put in two tardy beginnings with a scratchy score up in his first two heats, before being restrained in heat 3.
On his best behaviour, the All Stars pacer could at least keep pace with the fast beginners drawn beside him.
Drivers who cast their mind back twelve months could enter the start of the race cautiously after early rush for the lead did not end well for those involved in last year’s final.
Mach Doro ran second last after rushing to find the back of the leader, Tiger Tara.
Ultimate Sniper enjoyed a major win over his key rivals with his barrier 5 draw.
The 4yr-old is set to do less work to take up a handy position, with the crucial head start he will get over his stablemates Cruz Bromac and Thefixer.
The All Stars pairing look to have been handed a huge task to have to work around the field to get in to the race and then beat their stunning stablemate.
Cruz Bromac and Thefixer are likely to start beside each other, in barriers 2 and 3 on the second row, if emergency Classie Brigade is scratched.
The fallout from the Interdominion Trotting Championship final was similar to that of the pacing final.
All Stars favourite drew perfectly Winterfell drew perfectly in barrier 2 to cement his favouritism.
The most likely scenario that could slam the door that appears to be left open for the 5yr-old to lead sits with driver Brad Williamson.
Williamson will face the choice of whether to let Majestic Man show off his fast gate speed and attempt to cross from barrier 4.
With another fast beginner drawn inside him, in Victorian Big Jack Hammer (1), it is an option the reinsman may chose not to take up.
Winterfell and Majestic Man were the clear winners among the leading contenders in Saturday night’s $150,000 final.
Marcoola landed a horror draw on the outside of the front row in barrier 8.
Parmount King and Massive Metro will have to start from barriers 4 and 5 on the second row, respectively.
Temporale is slightly better off than them, drawing behind Big Jack Hammer in barrier 9 – number 1 on the second row of the mobile.
Interdominion Pacing Championship field: 1. My Kiwi Mate, 2. Sicario, 3. Ashley Locaz, 4. On The Cards, 5. Ultimate Sniper, 6. Mach Shard, 7. A G's White Socks, 8. Triple Eight, 9. Chase Auckland, 10. San Carlo 11. Cruz Bromac, 12. Classie Brigade E1, 13. Thefixer.
Interdominion Trotting Championship field: 1. Big Jack Hammer, 2. Winterfell, 3. Destiny Jones, 4. Majestic Man, 5. Monty Python E1, 6. Valloria, 7. Bonnie Highlander, 8. Marcoola, 9. Temporale, 10. Habibi Inta, 11. Tough Monarch, 12. Paramount King, 13. Massive Metro.