Tornado Valley to defend title in 100th start
Andy Gath almost can’t believe it himself.
Just days after resigning himself to missing the Great Southern Star with Tornado Valley, Gath changed his mind and the champ will defend his title on Friday night.
A sparkling workout at home, which pleasantly surprised Gath and wife Kate, prompted the shock change of plans.
“He just worked so well, almost out of the blue a bit, and we have to run him off the back of that. He convinced us,” Gath said.
“We’ve changed him training around a bit, added some more speed work, and it’s really sharpened him up.”
It will be remarkable story if Tornado Valley wins, given he hasn’t raced since finishing eighth in the Bill Collins Sprint at Melton back on October 10.
Tornado Valley hasn’t won since March 21, last year and has only raced four times since.
Friday night’s Great Southern Star heat will be his 100th start in a career which has netted 35 wins and $775,617.
Tornado Valley’s surprise inclusion is consolation for Team Gath after a minor injured sustained forced their emerging star Majestuoso out of the Great Southern Star.
“It’s very, very minor and he should be right to race in the Knight Pistol a week later, but he just got on himself a bit when he galloped in the home straight last week. It’s just not worth trying to rush him for him this week. It’s a six-day back-up,” Andy Gath said.
So Team Gath’s hopes will rest with Tornado Valley and the rejuvenated McLovin, who has returned to his best form with four successive wins.
“We’re the hoping the old brigade can do us proud,” Gath laughed. “Majestic Man is obviously going to be very, very hard to beat on what we saw last weekend.”
Tornado Valley clashes with Majestic Man and buzz young mare Pink Galahs in the second of Friday night’s heats.
Fascinatingly, Tornado Valley drew superbly in gate two and Majestic Man outside him in gate five . Pink Galahs has inside back row (eight) and the emerging Im Ready Jet (three).
The big question is whether Team Gath want to try and hold the lead with Tornado Valley when Majestic Man comes hard at him early.
The star players in the first heat include McLovin (gate five), Tough Monarch (two), Magicool (four) and Red Hot Tooth (nine).
Tough Monarch looks the leader with McLovin likely to have to sit outside him.