Barastoc Grand Circuit Series
Stories: Trotters 2007/2008 Season
In a season where there was not a stand-out in the trotting ranks on either side of the Tasman, only two performers were able to win two of these Group 1 events with Mountbatten NZ claiming the Barastoc Grand Circuit title by one point over Galleons Sunset NZ.
A son of the imported Canadian stallion Earl CA, the well-named Mountbatten NZ is trained by Tim Butt and was driven by the trainer’s brother Anthony for the Foxtrot Syndicate, P. Derby, K. Schmack and Mrs B. Hickman.
The Butt brothers previously won the Grand Circuit for Trotters with the outstanding Lyell Creek NZ and then Take A Moment NZ. Mountbatten NZ seems to fall short of those two outstanding stars, but he did a good job in 2007/2008 carrying the flag for the squaregaiters in the land of the Long White Cloud.
Both of the wins by Galleons Sunset NZ were in Melbourne. These were Leg 4, the Bill Collins Mile, and later Leg 7, the Inter Dominion Trotters Championship, when then trained in Victoria by Chris Lang, though driven by his regular reinsman and former Kiwi trainer Derek Balle.
New Zealand administration reacted to the outbreak last spring of the Equine Influenza in Australia by announcing Kiwi horses that went to race in Australia, would then have to go into quarantine before they could be returned.
This restricted the number of Kiwi-trained horses being sent across to Victoria to three smart performers – One Over Kenny NZ, Galleons Sunset NZ and Whatsundermykilt NZ.
Following the sale of Australia’s top trotter A Touch Of Flair to the USA last year, Australia’s hopes on the Barastoc Grand Circuit rested largely on the shoulders of the up-and-coming Acacia Ridge and Sundons Gift NZ. Early betting for the Inter Dominion had this pair on the second line beyond the outstanding mare One Over Kenny NZ.
2008 Trotting Masters Champion
Unfortunately, for the Australian public in particular, the racing schedule for all three of these gifted trotters would run off the rails leading up to the prestigious Inter Dominion series hosted by Moonee Valley in Melbourne. One Over Kenny NZ did make it to the series, but obviously had a problem, racing well below her best.
Australia did discover a rising star during the season when the Bendigo-trained Viva La Fever seemed to improve with every outing. Little further improvement seems to be needed in the coming season to keep Acacia Ridge and Sundons Gift NZ on their toes when they return to the racetrack.
Phil Williamson, trainer of One Over Kenny NZ, left his mare in Victoria with trainer Ross Payne. Her subsequent few starts suggests she has yet to return to anything like her best.
Once again New Zealand took the breeding honours for this latest Barastoc Trotters Grand Circuit with its champion sire Sundon USA capturing five of the nine events. The only Aussie-based sire to be successful was the pacing-bred Village Jasper USA. Its son Viva La Fever won the Dullard Cup.
TROTTERS GRAND CIRCUIT RACING
Five points for first, two for second, and one for third. (Prizemoney for New Zealand legs are in NZ dollars.)
Leg 1: $75,000 First Sovereign Trust
New Zealand Trotting
Free For All 2600m
Leg 2: $150,000 The Southern Trust Dominion Trotting Handicap
3200m (Christchurch) Nov. 23.
Leg 3: $100,000 SEW-Eurodrive Australian Grand Prix 2575m (Moonee
Valley) Dec. 8.
Leg 4: $50,000 SEW-Eurodrive Bill Collins Mile 1609m (Moonee Valley)
Leg 5: $75,000 Lindauer New
Zealand National Trot
(Auckland) Dec. 31.
Leg 6: $50,000 Sky Channel Dullard Trotters Cup 3065m (Moonee Valley)
Leg 7: $250,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Inter Dominion Trotting
Championship Final 2575m (Moonee Valley) March 1.
Leg 8: $100,000 Garry Thompson/Fred Shaw
New Zealand Trotting
(Christchurch) April 4.
Leg 9: $150,000 Pacific Sheet & Coil Rowe Cup 3200m (Auckland) May 2.