Last chance saloon
By Garrick Knight
You’ve got to hand it to Steve Telfer.
The Ardmore trainer has been dealt three cruel blows that have devastated his carefully-laid Inter Dominion plans with stable star Triple Eight, but he’s not hanging his head.
“I’m not frustrated, that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” he said.
“You just have to take the good with the bad.”
After getting caught wide early from an awkward draw on night 1 last Friday, Triple Eight flew home from well back for an unlucky sixth placing.
On Tuesday, in the second round of heats, he drew even wider, over a shorter distance and ended up being stuck four and five wide the last lap.
“Then he got a flat tyre for the last 500 metres as well, which was not beneficial.”
In a series where every finishing position matters, and a $500,000 final is on the line next Saturday night, it was a tough pill to swallow for connections.
Tonight, in the third and final round of heats, Triple Eight has drawn the inside of the second row, following out Star Galleria, who dropped out to finish last on Tuesday.
With gate speed on the front line from Cruz Bromac, Bling It On, Atomic Red and Thefixer, Triple Eight maps to be stuck four back on the markers or worse.
“We’re really reliant on what Star Galleria does but I don’t envisage that it’s going to work out too well for us,” said Telfer.
“It’s a shame because tonight he gets out to his preferred distance and he’s very well within himself.
“He’s come through the runs good and I’m happy in that regard.
“It’s just been a tough series that hasn’t gone our way.”
Triple Eight is still only three points off the 12th horse though, and Telfer is thinking a top three finish would be enough to sneak him in the back door to the final.
“Top two definitely, top three probably, so he’s still a chance.
“He’s a better stayer than a sprinter, and these next two 2700-metre races were always going to be his go.”
If things don’t go his way, Telfer will cop it on the chin and turn the page.
“We took our chances and missed the New Zealand Cup to set him for December.
“And if we don’t make this final, we still have the Auckland Cup two weeks later.”
Telfer actually has Dance Time closer to qualifying for the final after running fourth at bolters’ odds on Tuesday.
“He’s way better over the short trip and that was his best chance to get points the other night.
“He’s drawn outside of the back row which won’t help but if he did get a drag in to it, there’s no reason why he couldn’t run in the first six and maybe qualify for the final.”