North Island briefs
Inter Dom noms shaping nicely
By Garrick Knight
Australian interest in the upcoming Inter Dominion series is strong, according to early nominations received by the Auckland Trotting Club.
Racing Manager Regan Cotter says 11 of the 25 pacing nominations received to date are Australian-trained, and there have been indications from connections of a further half-dozen that they are likely to nominate ahead of Monday’s deadline.
Among those officially nominated are five from Amanda Turnball’s Sydney stable, two trained by Melbourne’s Craig Demmler and the familiar names San Carlo, Our Uncle Sam, Cruz Bromac and Sicario.
Defending champion Tiger Tara, comeback millionaire pacer Bling It On and rising Queensland star Colt Thirty One are all expected to nominated by Monday.
Leading trainer Emma Stewart is expected to make a decision over the weekend on a few of her stars, including Shadow Sax and Poster Boy while Kiwi trainer Tim Butt will do the same with Our Field Marshal.
In the trotters section, there are already 29 names, including the Australia-trained Kyvalley Blur and Fratellino.
At least another six are expected by Monday, including the likes of Tough Monarch, McLovin and Big Jack Hammer.
Defending champion Tornado Valley has been ruled out by his trainer, Andy Gath, citing the horse’s dislike for travel.
Cotter says while the on-track stuff largely takes care of itself, it’s the off-the-track stuff that is consuming most of his team’s time.
“It was always going to come around quicker than we thought and that has sort of been the case.
“And for us with 40 other meetings a year, life still goes on, so we’ve been very busy.
“The planning for the event is coming along quite well and there are some really exciting things in the pipeline that we hope to announce within the coming weeks.”
A massive crowd, possibly the biggest seen in decades, is expected at most of the carnival’s four meetings.
“The carnival falls at the same time as Christmas at the Races, which on any given year would see two or three thousand people on course.
“Add in all the racing purists and fans that turn up for the sheer fact it’s the Inter Dominions and we are expecting a massive attendance.
“We are pretty confident that everything is tracking quite well.”
Retirement for injured trotter
Well-performed trotter Heard The Whisper has been retired after fracturing a pedal bone during a race at Alexandra Park last Friday night.
Initially disappointed with the run given he didn’t gallop, trainers Jason and Megan Teaz soon realised why he had dropped away from the field down the straight.
“As soon as we took the gear off, he was standing on his tip toes, which was unusual,” said Jason Teaz.
“Then as we went to walk him away for a wash, he couldn’t put the foot on the ground.”
The attending race night vet suspected a fractured pastern and put a special splint on the foot to stabilise it.
Heard The Whisper was dropped at a veterinary clinic in Cambridge at 1am, his trainers fearing the worst and hoping for the best.
Saturday morning x-rays identified the broken pedal bone and, while far from ideal, it was a best-case scenario.
“A broken pedal bone is better news than a broken pastern.
“He won’t need surgery, just a bar shoe and being confined to a small yard for a few weeks.”
Eventually, the seven-race winner will return to owner Gerald Cayford’s property in North Otago.
“Gerald said he will give him a home for life down there in Waikouaiti.
“He’s going to put him in a paddock next to his horse and they hope one day to be able to ride him along the beach.”