Vacation Hill horse to beat in Tornado Valley heat
By Adam Hamilton
Former exciting Kiwi trotting mare Vacation Hill can take another major step towards the upcoming Victorian Inter Dominion series with victory at Melton this weekend.
Trainer Andy Gath expects the five-year-old to lead and go very close to winning the second heat of a series named after his former great Kiwi trotter Tornado Valley. The 2240m mobile is due to go just after midnight (12.07am Sunday).
“She’s come back well. I’m sure she’ll lead and she’s a different trotter in front,” Gath said.
“People ask if she’s just a speedster and I don’t think so. It’s up from 1720m last start to 2240m this week, but I think it’s more about her finding the front. She’s led throughout over 2240m (at Melton) before.
“That gate speed of hers is such a weapon. The Inter Dominion is where we are heading.”
Gath’s top trotter and one-time Inter Dominion favourite Majestuoso is no certainty to contest the series.
“He’s heading in that direction, but we can’t afford any hiccups between now and then,” Gath said.
Majestuoso wasn’t himself when he returned a couple of months back so Gath had him fully checked over before sending him for a short break.
“He’s had a couple of weeks on the water-walker and he’s just got back and started jogging,” he said.
“We wouldn’t be fussed going first-up into the Inter Dominion heats if that's what the timing meant.”
Gath’s stable star, brilliant three-year-old Catch A Wave, is out to atone for a shock first-up defeat when he steps out at Melton on Saturday night.
Gath said broken gear caused Catch A Wave’s second defeat in 11 starts.
“He wears blinds which pull up and down, but they broke during the race and Kate (Gath) couldn’t pull them. He absolutely needs them,” he said.
“The only other time he was beaten he raced in an open bridle and laid in and cost himself winning at Geelong.
“We’re removing all risk and just going with blocks for this week and beyond.”
Gath is also bullish about the prospects of recent Kiwi import Pull The Other Leg in the opening race at Melton.
The former Mike Berger-trained pacer looked terrific and ran slick time winning his first Aussie run at Melton last week.
“It’s another step-up this week, but he’s drawn well and we like him as a horse,” Gath said.
Another highlight of the Melton meeting is the other heat of the Tornado Valley trotting series where buzz four-year-old trotter Ollivici steps into the big league for the first time for trainer-driver Chris Lang. (Race 4 is set to go at 9.31pm).
The Kiwi-bred Ollivici has gate five against proven open-class performer Nephew Of Sonoko (gate six) and the talented but sometimes wayward All Cashed Up (four).
Lang has openly declared Ollivici potentially his next trotting star and is aiming at the Inter Dominion.