By Adam Hamilton
The Inter Dominion was just the start of a feature race splurge for Australia’s best trotter Tornado Valley.
The former Kiwi seven-year-old added another Group 1 when he used that blazing gate speed of his to lead and win the $50,000 Maori Mile at Bendigo last night (Saturday).
He trotted the mile in a slick 1min54.1sec.
“He came through the Inter Dominion so well. He didn’t win by a big margin tonight, but it’s become his style. He waits for them a bit. He felt strong on the line,” driver Kate Gath said.
Classy mare Save Our Pennys ran a mighty race for second after making an early move to sit parked and then getting within 1.3m of Tornado Valley in a 55.6sec last half.
Tornado Valley’s mile win – his 18th win from his past 20 starts - sparked more talk of a possible trip to Sweden for the famed Elitlopp trot in late May.
“It’s something we’ll think about, but there’s plenty at home before we have to make a decision,” Andy Gath said. “I will say the timing for the Elitlopp works well, but then there’s the travel factor with him. Even going the 10mins from our stable to the track last night, he played-up.”
Gath said a decision on Sweden wouldn’t made until after the last of the Aussie features, the Grand Prix in late March.
For now, it’s likely Tornado Valley will head to the Cochran Cup at Ballarat on January 19 to sharpen-up for his major target, the Great Southern Star, at Melton a week later.
“Then we’ve got the trip to Menangle for the big mile race up there and back home for the Grand Prix,” Gath said.
As amazing as Tornado Valley’s dominance has been, Gath said he had a “way to go” to challenge former champion mare La Coocaracha as the best trotter he’s trained.
“I’m hoping I’m making the comparison in a year or so from now, but I can’t yet,” he said.
“I rate La Coocaracha as a champion and that’s not a word I use often. Some of things she did were amazing and the sorts of horses she raced and beat regularly, headed by the likes of Take A Moment, stamped her greatness.”