Kiwis draw well for heats
By Adam Hamilton
Aussie punters have unleashed on a Kiwi raider to beat some of their best in a stellar heat of the Victoria Derby at Ballarat on Saturday night.
Remarkably given the random drawing of fields, five of the first six in betting to win the Victoria Derby final will clash in the second and by far strongest heat.
Only four of them can make it through to the final at Melton a week later.
And it’s the All Stars’ young buck, Im Another Masterpiece, who has been smashed from $3 into $1.65 favourite after drawing the pole.
Yes he’s exciting, but that’s a crazy price given the calibre of his opposition, which includes: Australasian 3YO mile record-holder Muscle Factory (gate two, $4.20), last year’s Victorian star juvenile Centenario (nine, $6.50), the untapped Lochinvar Art (seven, $7) and buzz pacer Demon Delight (five, $9.50).
The other Kiwi raider in the Derby heats, Barry Purdon’s Supreme Dominator, has also attracted early betting support, $3.50 into $3, from the pole in the third heat.
He’s second elect behind the exciting Max Delight, who has been $3.20 into $2.50 from gate three.
Former Kiwi youngster War Dan Delight, now with Dean Braun, is a $12 shot from gate six.
The opening heat looks a one-act affair with Emma Stewart’s superstar juvenile of last season, Hurricane Harley, $1.20 from the pole.
The Derby heats bolster an already awesome meeting headed by the Group 1 Ballarat Cup where All Stars pair Thefixer and Cruz Bromac head the betting, as well as the Group 2 Cochran Cup for trotters.
Andy Gath opted to skip the Cochran with Tornado Valley and go straight into a clash with Marcoola, Speeding Spur and others in the Group 1 Great Southern Star at Melton a week later.
With Tornado Valley absent, Save Our Pennys is a $2 favourite from gate four in the Cochran ahead of Dance Craze (gate five, $4) and Inter Dominion runner-up Sky Petite (seven, $6).
The most head-spinning race of the night is the ninth event – thee Petstock Pet Smart Pace – where somehow Inter Dominion fourth placegetter Spankem drops back to a C3/C4 grade.
It highlights the extraordinary different between the Victorian and NZ handicapping systems and makes Spankem arguably the greatest handicapping certainty the game has seen.