Winterfell decides own Interdominion fate
By Jonny Turner
All Stars trotter Winterfell literally took the bit between his teeth to win heat two of the Interdominon trotting series at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Driver Mark Purdon produced an aggressive steer on the 5yr-old who took the lead at the 600m before clinging on for a tough win.
Though, Purdon admitted he did not deserve all of the credit when his assertive tactics paid off.
The trainer-driver said it was Winterfell who decided to take control of the race.
“He was just starting to get keener and keener and I thought there was no point having him beat himself by pulling hard,” Purdon said.
“So I thought I would let him run and just see if had the ability to cross the horse on the inside, which he did, thank goodness.”
Winterfell drifted wide on the track from his second row draw after the start because he was so keen.
“There were a few hairy moments early,” Purdon said.
“After that he put his best foot forward.”
Otago trotter Majestic Man produced a sensational run in defeat in heat two of the trotting series.
The 5yr-old produced a flying finish to run third behind Winterfell after receiving a luckless run.
The Phil Williamson trained trotter was forced to race three back on the markers after Marcoola, the horse he followed out at the start, took an early trail.
Driver Brad Williamson said he expected Marcoola, who was the hot favourite for the race, to lead throughout and it surprised him that he did not.
"Marcoola getting crossed at the start wasn’t something we expected, which probably cost us the race, really,” Williamson said.
An attack on the lead by the winner relegated Majestic Man to a horror position four back on the markers in the back straight the final time.
Eventually Williamson was able to find clear air in the straight and Majestic Man let down with a stunning finish to get within a nose of the runner up, Marcoola.
“He was flying home … he threw in a real long step — felt like more or less galloped for one stride — which cost himself half a length or a length.”
“And at that stage, round the last bend, that probably cost him the win.”
Marcoola’s driver Sheree Tomlinson also had to do some manoeuvring to secure a run for her charge before he flashed home to get within a head of the winner.
Tomlinson said she was rapt with her horse’s effort after he balanced in the straight.
“A real good run — really happy — good to see him sprint like that from behind the other horses,” she said.
The reinswoman said she had no concerns after Marcoola did not display the same kind of gatespeed he did in his sensational Ashburton win two starts ago.
“I wasn’t too phased about it — it all planned out good.”
Australian raider Tough Monarch produced the shock performance of heat two after his brilliant New Zealand Cup Carnival.
The Victorian faded in to a distant seventh placing after leading.