Barastoc Grand Circuit Series
Stories:   Pacers 2008/2009 Season
Leg 2 Harness Racing Queensland Trans-Tasman           2008/2009Results   Points
            25/10/2008  Albion Park, Brisbane, Qld  2680m  Mobile Start  $150,000
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Blacks A Fake went on his winning way Saturday night to take his earnings past $3 million after winning the Queensland Trans-Tasman, the second leg of the 2008/2009 Barastoc Pacers Grand Circuit. 

The improving Iron Hudge NZ, still only an M02 horse and now flying the flag for NSW, was second, with Be Good Johnny plugging home well to collect third prizemoney of $15,000.  This former Miracle Mile winner is not showing quite the dash he did two years ago. 

Following his slashing win in the Queensland Pacing Championship the week before, Blacks A Fake (Natalie Rasmussen) was sent out an almost unbackable favourite in the Trans-Tasman from Gate nine. 

Iron Hudge NZ, still looking a little burly in condition, began best with trainer-driver Mark Rolfe keen to lead around the first corner.  When Blacks A Fake motored forward with its driver making a bee-line for the lead after just 600m, Rolfe wisely decided not to test the favourite by trying to hold the lead.    From then on it was a matter of who would run the minor placings.  

Blacks A Fake has shown in much of its racing that when out in front, he only seems to become fired up when he hears another horse coming up behind him. Once again his winning margin was not substantial, with Australia’s top pacer going to the line with something in reserve to win by 4.10 metres. 

Much of the event was paced at a leisurely speed with the first of the last four quarters in 31.3 secs., followed by the next in 31.2.  The crowd favourite moved up a cog or two for the next quarter in 28.8, coming home in a swift 27.3 to return an overall mile rate of 1:59.9. 



Natalie Rasmussen and Blacks A Fake win the Trans-Tasman,
second leg of the 208/2009 Barastoc Grand Circuit Series
photo copyright Corey Pearce and used with permission

The rest of the other 9 starters were simply outclassed, though Be Diligent did not have much luck in finishing 5th.  The top mare from last season, Good Lookin Girl, is not racing near her best this time in. 

Natalie Rasmussen, trainer-driver of Blacks A Fake, was again full of praise after the victory. “He was so comfortable and relaxed out there tonight,” she said at the presentation.  

“It is a huge honour to be the first for Queensland to pass the $3million mark.  ‘Blackie’ deserves all the credit for this, as he is such a good old boy,” she added. 

In confirming the gelding will go to Sydney for the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile, she said they were still undecided on which path to take. “But he will not go to Newcastle for the sprints there.” 

Barrier draws are always important for Australia’s premier sprint, and the field is selected only by invitation from club directors. 

While Blacks A Fake was posting win number 45 from 58 starts, Victorians, the following day at Kilmore were quick to label the exciting Melpark Major as the only real Aussie pacer likely to test the Queenslander later in this Grand Circuit series.  

This Alan Tubbs-trained five-year-old is looking awesome with its constant improvement. On Sunday it sat three wide throughout the Popular Alm Sprint before moving away up the straight to beat Jagged Knight and Smoken Up NZ in a smart 1:55.4.   

It is scheduled to meet Blacks A Fake and possibly New Zealand’s latest pacing sensation the unbeaten Auckland Reactor NZ in the $500,000 Sew Eurodrive Miracle Mile at Harold Park on 28 November, in what will be a promotor’s dream.  

The more the Victorians see Melpark Major improve since joining the Tubbs stable at Bacchus Marsh, the more he is shaping up to be a real chance when he steps onto the Grand Circuit stage for the first time. 

It is interesting to note that his only failure for many months now was his trip to Sydney for the Chariots of Fire.  Tubbs was quick to state this was not because the big horse did not handle the tricky corners there, but because Melpark Major went into that race under a cloud.  “In hindsight, he should probably not have started.”

Daughter Amy Tubbs said her drive on Sunday was probably her worst effort ever.  “He’s really going places, especially if I drive him better.” 

Meanwhile, Lance Justice, trainer-driver of Smoken Up NZ, Australia’s fastest pacer on times, is confident his horse might be able to turn the tables on Melpark Major and even Blacks A Fake, stating his pacer was only now working up to anything like its best following niggling back problems. 

Melpark Major and Smoken Up NZ are likely to clash again in The Legends at Moonee Valley on 8 November.  Should it be decided to rush Blacks A Fake down to Moonee Valley, it will be some race.  The horse, along with five others from Queensland, has been booked in at the Melton stables of Clinton Welsh, though nothing has been said to indicate ‘Blackie’ might start in The Legends.  

Otherwise, we will all have to wait for the SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile near the end of November for what is emerging as the most eagerly anticipated clash in recent years.  



All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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