Night one of the 2018 Inter Dominion series produced extremely even and competitive racing and tote prices would suggest two of the three Inter Dominion heat winners were far from expected.
New Zealanders dominated the night in many ways with all five trotting and pacing heats being won by Kiwi bred, owned or trained horses.
The show moves quickly, though, with attention now turning toward Ballarat for the all-important sprinting versions of ID18.
Victorian star Shadow Sax has been withdrawn from the series with an unknown leg injury which is said to be potentially serious. He was a major contender for the series.
We’ve also lost fellow popular elect Let It Ride, his stable mate Italian Delight, Burnaholeinmypocket and It Is Billy, showcasing just how hard it is to a) survive an ID series and B) win one.
Drama aside, we still have extremely important racing to get through on night two with some key performers needing to make tonight count and many of the more fancied participants drawn awkwardly – or horribly.
HEAT THREE – Trotters
Trainer Mick Stanley was quoted on Sunday as saying his mare will be holding the front throughout should they get there. You get the feeling the polemarker, Fabrication, would also be happy enough to lead. So that will be of interest.
Big Jack Hammer is quick early and was solid on night one whilst Maori Law was incredibly impressive at Melton and would be an unbackable favourite trailing the speed should Fabrication hold up.
Kyvalley Blur was plain and will need his customary cart into things from gate 12.
1 Sky Petite (2)
2 Fabrication (1)
3 Maori Law (8)
4 Big Jack Hammer (5)
HEAT FOUR – Trotters
This looms as a corker! Speeding Spur was awesome winning his heat and Tornado Valley did what Tornado Valley has done since arriving in Australia.
Here, Speeding Spur draws five, Tornado Valley draws wide in seven but the one to watch is the horse drawn in two, Save Our Pennys. My two scenarios are Speeding Spur leading, Tornado Valley in the breeze and Save Our Pennys stalking or more likely, all three along the pegs with Tornado Valley leading and being impossible to run down.
1 Tornado Valley (7)
2 Speeding Spur (5)
3 Save Our Pennys (2)
4 Our Twentyten (1)
HEAT FOUR – Pacers
Wrappers Delight’s chances were thrown into a tailspin when the race pattern was thrown a curveball thanks to a spirited Gavin Lang drive aboard Im Pats Delight.
The Kima Frenning-driven gelding gets his chance here, however, with gate one and a seemingly guaranteed lead.
San Carlo will likely again land in the death seat but you’d think connections would be happy enough to do enough to run top three instead of another tough run from the breeze. Surprise packet Maximan draws to get another brilliant run and score huge points whilst night one winner Spankem can afford to run for luck from gate nine.
My Alpha Rock (11) and Tiger Tara (12) are the intriguing runners who will need to overcome horrid draws to score good points.
1 Wrappers Delight (1)
2 San Carlo (6)
3 Tiger Tara (12)
4 Maximan (8)
HEAT FIVE – Pacers
The fifth heat in the pacing series is incredibly shallow but does shape up as a potential quaddie buster with overwhelming favourite Cruz Bromac drawn terribly in 11. Natalie Rasmussen is a wizard in the bike – as we witnessed with Spankem on night one – but there would be some temptation to allow Cruz Bromac an easy one with so many points already banked.
Finding one to provide the knockout is tough. Audi Hare and Mach Doro will be first to the fence but neither seem to be going quite well enough to win an ID heat and Galactic Star was able to win night one but he’s going to have to be freaky to win from the carpark.
1 Cruz Bromac (11)
2 Mach Doro (6)
3 Galactic Star (12)
4 Audi Hare (2)
HEAT SIX – Pacers
Four-year-old Im Pats Delight was simply stunning on night one despite not winning and gets every possible chance to atone in this one. He should be leading and winning.
Joes Star Of Mia and Franco Nelson will need and want to get up near the speed and the surprising Cant Refuse could add value to exotic wagers.
1 Im Pats Delight (2)
2 Franco Nelson (4)
3 Cant Refuse (8)
4 Joes Star Of Mia (3)
The racing will again be fast, competitive and hopefully a few more storylines arise. The highlights for me will be Tornado Valley versus Speeding Spur as well as heat four of the pacers with Spankem, Tiger Tara, My Alpha Rock, Wrappers Delight and San Carlo clashing.
R1: Majestic Player (10)
R2: Herehecomes (10) each way
R3: Wardan Express (11) each way
R4: Sky Petite (2) each way
R5: Tornado Valley (6)
R6: Spankem (9) each way
R7: Im Pats Delight (2)
R8: Mach Doro (6) each way
R9: Radius (8) place
Enjoy – I know I will.