The opening night of the Auckland Inter Dominion was a disaster for the Australians with only Big Jack Hammer escaping with a positive result. (I’m not including Cruz Bromac)
New South Wales entrants, Bling It On and Tough Monarch led in their respective heats and both dropped out badly. Both performances were hopefully too bad to be true.
Ultimate Sniper was the performance of the night, despite many – including his trainers – suggesting he was not as tractable going right-handed. He sat wide late in a sizzling 1:53 last mile to record a thunderous win over stable mate Chase Auckland.
The other pacing heat went to forgotten horse A G’s White Socks. Now trained at master Barry Purdon’s, the Group 1-winner scorched the last 200m to claim victory from Cruz Bromac and a much improved Thefixer.
In the trotting divisions, pre-race favourites Marcoola and Habibi Inta went under as Paramount King won at big odds and oft-troublesome Winterfell motored home after working throughout.
Tuesday night sees night two get under way with a few pre-series favourites really needing to get busy to score crucial points.
Here’s how they could/should/might/might not unfold…
RACE FIVE – INTER DOMINION PACING CHAMPIONSHIP, HEAT 3 (1700m, $30,000)
Chase Auckland lands the pole and comes up as a dominant $1.70 fave but I am far from certain he can hold up early. At least a couple of Colt Thirty One, Atomic Red, A G’s White Socks and Henry Hubert could have a sniff early.
Ashley Locaz bungled the score up on night one and missed away badly but he made up serious ground late to finish a mighty fourth. He follows out A G’s White Socks here which may help him get past a few early. Thefixer draws poorly in 12 but his night one run was excellent and the hard racing may be getting him fitter and stronger.
1 Thefixer $7
2 Chase Auckland $1.70
3 A G’s White Socks $5
4 Colt Thirty One $8
RACE SIX – INTER DOMINION TROTTING CHAMPIONSHIPS, HEAT 3 (1700m, $30,000)
Habibi Inta lands gate two but will need to perform far better than Friday to be figuring in the finish. Majestic Man was enormous and draws well here so his chances of a heat victory are strong whilst Winterfell can do many things wrong but his engine is massive and he can win from the lead or parked up.
McLovin follows out Habibi Inta but nearly has to win or run second to have a shot at making the Grand Final after missing the opening heat with a virus.
It’s hard to see anything else winning this heat.
1 Majestic Man $3.75
2 Winterfell $2.40
3 Habibi Inta $4
4 McLovin $8
RACE SEVEN – INTER DOMINION PACING CHAMPIONSHIPS, HEAT 4 (1700m, $30,000)
Okay, Australia, let’s see what you’ve got. San Carlo finally draws a gate where he should lead throughout and although 1700m is not his go, he can turn this into a staying test to suit. Bling It On failed on night one but he will be hard on San Carlo’s back here in a role he has made his own over the years. Opening night hero, Ultimate Sniper, will be parked and pressuring San Carlo but Natalie Rasmussen may be kind to the four-year-old to ensure he’s a fresh horse when it counts. Cruz Bromac faces a terrible gate (8) over the sprint trip but his class should see him there abouts.
Classie Brigade and Mach Shard were good last week and both can figure somewhere near the placings here.
1 Bling It On $5
2 San Carlo $8
3 Ultimate Sniper $2
4 Cruz Bromac $4
RACE EIGHT – INTER DOMINION TROTTING CHAMP, HEAT 4 (1700m, $30,000)
Some say Marcoola was good night one, some say he was poor when it mattered. Either way, he gets his shot here thanks to gate one.
Temporale looked the winner for a while on Friday and will again go a big race from alley four whilst Tough Monarch simply must bounce back and could do following the pole-marker throughout.
1 Marcoola $1.55
2 Temporale $4
3 Tough Monarch $7.50
4 Ronald J $101