Inter Dominion - night two trotting wrap
By Adam Hamilton
IT has only taken two rounds of heats for local star Tornado Valley to really stamp his authority on the Inter Dominion trotting series.
Opinions were divided on night one after Tornado Valley and star Kiwi trotter Speeding Spur both easily won their heats.
So there was much anticipation when the draws came out and they were down to clash at Ballarat last night.
Speeding Spur opened a hot favourite from a better draw – gate five compared to Tornado Valley’s gate seven - but the punters backed the local into favouritism.
And he didn’t let them down.
Although Kate Gath didn’t buzz Tornado Valley of the gate from the extreme draw, when she felt him muster and saw the chance, then clicked him up and dashed around the speedy Save Our Pennys, Speeding Spur and Rompers Monarchy to seize the front.
It was a 200m which showed he has a string to his bow above all his rivals in the series.
Once in front, Gath dictated terms and Tornado Valley dashed home in 56.4 and 27 flat without being pushed-out and comfortably held-off Save Our Pennys, who trailed the leader, and Speeding Spur, who sat parked.
“I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to cross them, but when I saw the chance I took it,” Gath said. “He felt really sharp tonight and handled backing-up really well.
“It’s hard to get into my favourites as far as horses go, but he’s getting up there with About To Rock and Caribbean Blaster now.”
Tornado Valley is into $2 for the final with Speeding Spur our to $3.50.
Speeding Spur’s run was full of merit after sitting parked, albeit in a race which developed into just a sprint home.
It surely quelled some concerns of trainer John Dickie about Speeding Spur’s ability to back-up quickly from race to race.
Tough NSW trotter Tough Monarch rates a mention after finishing fourth in that strong heat when he sustained a big three-wide run in such blistering closing splits. He is at least an outside chance in the final.
Phil Williamson’s Alderbeck just battled again and finish eighth in that heat.
Old marvel Kyvalley Blur re-emerged as a chance for the final when made a lit of his inglorious opening night run to storm home and win last night’s first trotting heat.
The 11-year-old looked a lot sharper, was given a lovely trail into the race by Chris Alford and sprinted over the top of what was a much weaker field than the second heat.
“I think ‘Lil’ (trainer Brent Lilley) might have been a bit easy on him after he came back from those two tough runs in Christchurch and that’s why he didn’t go so well the other night,” Alford said.
“He felt trailing up behind them tonight and as I soon as I hooked him out I knew he’d win.”
Kyvalley Blur scored by 1.7m over the improving Big Jack Hammer with Sky Petite getting clear from the sprint lane too late and making ground for third.
The shock of the race was Maori Law, who was stuck four pegs from inside back row draw.
He then galloped when Canadian driver Jody Jamison was searching for room and finished last.
Thankfully Maori Law’s second to Speeding Spur on opening night has him with enough points to still make the final if he has more luck at Cranbourne on Saturday night.
Kiwis Monty Python and Wilmas Mate finished sith and seventh respectively behind Kyvalley Blur.