Leap To Fame could race in NZ next season - twice
By Michael Guerin
The trainer of Australasia’s most exciting pacer has made a surprising admission about the races he would most dearly love to win with Leap To Fame.
The four-year-old stallion has been stunning during the Queensland winter carnival, thrashing his older rivals in the A$200,000 Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park on Saturday night and he is red hot to repeat that in this Saturday’s Blacks A Fake.
While trainer-driver Grant Dixon says his main aim for the season is the A$2.1million Eureka, the new Sydney slot race on September 2, longer term the race he would love to win most is in New Zealand.
“It has always been a dream of mine to compete in a New Zealand Cup and obviously to win it would be amazing,” says Dixon.
“If I could win any race with him it would be the Eureka, because it is worth so much and that has been his main aim this whole year.
“But obviously he can’t race in it again next season (it is for three and four-year-olds) so the New Zealand Cup is the next race I’d love to win out of the big ones.”
Leap To Fame won’t be turning up at Addington on the second Tuesday in November this year though, with the Inter Dominions being in his home state of Queensland so they will be his next big target after the Eureka.
But being well-mannered, qualified from a standing start and a wonderful stayer, Leap To Fame could target the 2024 New Zealand Cup while he is certain to be sought-after by slot holders for the $1million The Race by Grins at Cambridge in April.
So it wouldn’t surprise to see him race in New Zealand twice next season.
While that is all a long, long way away it provides plenty of time for Leap To Fame’s New Zealand equivalent Akuta to further embellish his record before the two sons of champion sire Bettors Delight eventually meet.
Dixon is very measured for an Australian harness trainer, having been involved with some great horses, none better than the remarkable Blacks A Fake.
So he stops short of suggesting Leap To Fame is the best pacer in the world or even too good for all his Australian rivals.
“I watch quite a bit of US harness racing but I can’t judge where he sits against their best horses.
“I am confident if he went to North America he would race well but then again, their best horses would come down here and race well.”
Dixon says fellow Australian four-year-old Catch A Wave, who won the Miracle Mile in March, may be as talented as Leap To Fame and if he draws to lead in the Eureka then Leap To Fame would struggle to sit outside him and beat him.
“He (Catch A Wave) is a good horse so he will be hard to beat any time we meet him and who wins could come down to draws.”