Tornado won't defend crown
By Adam Hamilton
TORNADO Valley won’t defend his Inter Dominion crown in Auckland.
It’s not because trainer Andy Gath doesn’t want to, it’s simply because the star trotter is such a notoriously awful traveller.
“It’s a real issue for us,” Gath said. “We’ve had to cancel other travel plans with him before. It’s not just getting to Auckland, it’s the travel from wherever we stay to Alexandra Park on those busy Auckland road. He just wouldn’t cope at all.”
Tornado Valley returns from a spell at Melton on Saturday night.
Although he will be staying at home, Gath still has his sights set on an Auckland raid with his other top trotter McLovin.
“He’s gone out for a break now so we can time him preparation around an NZ trip, starting with the Dominion during the Cup Carnival and then onto to Auckland if he’s racing as well as we expect,” Gath said.
“I don’t think there’s too much between he an Tornado Valley, but McLovin is a good traveller so he’ll be our horse for NZ and Tornado can stay home.
“McLovin has just kept getting better and better. I think if he had the run Tornado Valley did in that Inter Dominion final last year, I’d have expected him to win as well.
“Tornado Valley would be the better of them in sprint races, but the longer the they go, the more it would suit McLovin. We really like him.”
Tornado Valley sharpened up for his return with an all-the-way Melton trial win against the pacers on Monday night.
“It was a good trial. He ran home in 27.9sec and hit the line strongly. He’s ready to go,” Gath said.
Tornado Valley will need to be at his best from a wide draw (gate six) in a small but select Touch Merchant Trotters’ free-for-all (2240m) on Saturday night. His major rivals include: Big Jack Hammer (gate three), Save Our Pennys (four) and Kyvalley Blur (five).
“He’s had a strong build-up and his work at home as been good. He seems to have come back well,” Gath said.
“We timed his return with McLovin going out for a spell so they didn’t have to race each other. McLovin will be back in early October for a couple of runs here before he heads to NZ.”