Turnbull has called in the big gun for the Inter Dominions

Race 8, Pacing Heat, 9.40

$2.60: Bling It On

$2.80: Cruz Bromac

$5.50: Thefixer

$14: Triple Eight

$16 Classie Brigade

$18: Atomic Red

$21: Star Galleria

$26: Another Masterpiece

$31: On The Cards

$34: A G’s White Socks

$71: Sicario

$151: Dance Time.


By Michael Guerin

Steve Turnbull has driven over 3000 winners including the two most important races in Australia but he has called in the big gun for the Inter Dominions which start at Alexandra Park on Friday.

And in the Turnbull family the big gun is Steve’s daughter Amanda.

That is a considerable honour considering Dad has won a Miracle Mile and Inter Dominion Final with Smooth Satin, following on from his father Tony who won two Interdom Finals.

But while Steve still drives and drives well, he just isn’t as good as Amanda and he knows it.

“Ever since she was a kid starting out the horses just run for her,” says Turnbull.

There is no hint of parental bias in that statement, it is relayed as a trainer talking matter-of-factly about the best driver for the job.

“I don’t know why she is so good, I have never been able to work it out.

“I will try and do the same things she does but it doesn’t work the same.

“Even in track work or minor races she gets them humming along and you come up to her in the corner and think you have a chance and her ones lifts and finds another gear.

“So she is a better driver than me. That much is clear.”  Amanda’s record proves it too, having won the NSW state driver’s premiership three times and she sits second on that ladder this season, her 117 wins putting her only five behind superstar steerer Luke McCarthy.

Friday night she will partner both Conviction in the first Interdom pacing heat but more crucially Atomic Red in the second and the comeback pacer could be one of the most tactically important horses on opening night.

A titanium-hard stayer at his best, Atomic Red has only had two starts back this season after his “buggered up knees” forced him off the track for a year.

“He has horrible knees but he has never broken down and he has been very sound this time in,” assures Steve.

“And he is getting fit now and has developed more gate speed. So I won’t be giving Amanda instructions from barrier one but he does tend to roll along pretty well.” What decision Amanda makes in the first 600m of the race could decide the fate of several favoured runners.

If she wants to hold the front that greatly aids last season’s New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer who is drawn on her back and would mean favourites like Bling It On and Cruz Bromac could have to work during the run as they would have little chance of getting to the marker pegs.

But if Atomic Red looks to trail the right horse, more than likely a favourite, then the complexion of the race changes and Thefixer could end up three back on the inside.

And whoever assumed that pacemaking role could become the horse to beat.

Dad Turnbull has no firm opinion on tactics and laughs that daughter Turnbull may not listen to him anyway.

As for the perennial Inter Dominion concern about the Australian visitors handling the right-handed track, of which there are none in their homeland, Turnbull isn’t concerned.

“I have worked him five or six times at my place right-handed and he has been fine and my track is only 550m,” he offers.

The race is shaping as the heat of the night and potentially one of the most deciding of the series for which Cruz Bromac and Bling It On are the favourites.

If one of that smashes the other, particularly Cruz Bromac coming off a second line draw, it could have huge market ramifications for the series which moves to 1700m heats next Tuesday and 2700m heats three nights later.

The 2700m mobile pacing final for $500,000 is on December 14. 

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