Bettors Strike claimed victory in the Gr.1 $400,000 SEW Eurodrive Victoria Cup
Canterbury trainer Cran Dalgety has ridden the emotional rollercoaster this week.
In a dramatic twist earlier this week, Harness Racing Victoria stewards changed the result to the judge's verdict in the $60,000 Cranbourne Cup on November 28 when Bettors Strike was originally awarded the event by a margin of a short half head over Ohoka Nevada.
Connections of Ohoka Nevada objected and after the inquiry re-convened, the placings were amended and a dead heat was declared.
For Dalgety, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
Tonight, in the Gr.1 $400,000 SEW Eurodrive Victoria Cup - no photo print was required when Bettors Strike sprint laned to victory over race favourite and perennial big race bridesmaid Smoken Up with Queensland champion Blacks A Fake finishing third.
It was the first New Zealand victory since Young Rufus claimed the Group One event back in 2003.
The victory provided Dalgety with his third Victoria Cup after his former glamour pacer Desperate Comment went back to back in 1996/97 at Moonee Valley.
Driven by ace reinsman Dexter Dunn, Bettors Strike gained the perfect trail behind Smoken Up before dashing up the inside in a race record time of 1.55.7 for the 2240m journey at the new home of harness racing in Victoria, Tabcorp Park Melton.
Bettors Strike remains unbeaten in Australia with two major victories to his credit.
"It's certainly been an interesting week, that's for sure but this is a wonderful result and Im absolutely thrilled" Dalgety stated.
"He got the perfect trip, let's be honest and many others could have won with the cover he received but tonight we were the fortunate players" Dalgety added.
The Bettors Delight gelding posted his 13th victory tonight and takes his earnings in excess of $616,000 after claiming his biggest victory in his 51 start career to date.
Smoken Up set a solid speed up front running quarters in 30.4 and 29.5 seconds during the first half of the last mile with defending champion Melpark Major forced to race without cover whilst Blacks A Fake was poised in the one out, one back position.
The speed went into overdrive with the third quarter timed in 28.2 and still it was Smoken Up fighting off all challengers in the home straight but he couldn't stop Kiwi raider Bettors Strike who rallied well in a final quarter of 27.3 seconds.
Monkey King, who was aiming for his fourth straight Group 1 victory finished strongly for 4th beaten only 3.2 metres.
The victory was sweet for both Dalgety and Dunn, back in August they combined to claim the Australasian Breeders Crown 2yo trophy with star colt Smiling Shard.
The success of Bettors Strike came off the back of Smiling Shard who resumed only hours earlier in Auckland to take out the Listed $24,250 Northern Stakes at Alexandra Park for stand-in driver Shane Walkinshaw.
"We certainly ended the week on a high, I must praise all my staff for their hard work and dedication" Dalgety said happily.
Bettors Strike now moves to second placing with seven points on the Barastoc Grand Circuit leaderboard which is headed up by fellow Kiwi Monkey King with fifteen points.
Bettors Strike is raced by long time clients of Cran Dalgety in Jim and Susan Wakefield.