Sound the alarm!
Ace Victorian pacer Lennytheshark ($2.10 favourite) outstayed game local Lovers Delight ($6.80) and Flaming Flutter ($28.10) to win the $1.3 million TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final today (Sunday) at Gloucester Park.
The winning performance broke a fifteen year drought for Victorian trained pacers in the sports premier event.
Lennytheshark, the series favourite, raced without cover for the 2536m feature and staged an epic battle with Lovers Delight over the concluding stages before prevailing in a thrilling encounter.
The winning performance propels Lennytheshark into the elite club of millionaires after banking $780,000 in winning stakes.
Prepared by astute horseman David Aiken, the Four Starzzz Shark entire is raced by father/son combination of Kevin and Martin Riseley who embraced strongly as their pride and joy returned to the winner’s enclosure.
Winning driver Chris Alford, a winner of the Inter Dominion back in 1995 at Addington aboard the Victorian trained Golden Reign, was full of praise for his charge.
“He was awesome, there was no excuses for his rivals today and he proved his greatness with his winning effort. I felt great in the early stages and he travelled really strongly throughout, once we turned up the heat at the bell lap, he really knuckled down great. He’s a great horse.” Alford declared.
With Lovers Delight leading comfortably from his inside draw, Lennytheshark challenged briefly while Queensland pacer Avonnova pushed forward three wide before easing back to the rear of the field.
The lead time was covered in in a solid 66.2 seconds.
Lovers Delight continued to set the speed while Lennytheshark sat without cover with Flaming Flutter tucked behind the speed and Waylade occupied the one out/one back trail.
The first half was covered in 30 and 28.8 seconds.
At the bell, Lovers Delight led the way with Lennytheshark drawing closer to apply strong pressure while Devendra was the first pull three wide to get closer to the action.
The speed only intensified with Lovers Delight and Lennytheshark going to battle while rivals struggled to keep up.
Heading off the back in 27.4 seconds, Lovers Delight and Lennytheshark raced clear while Flaming Flutter and Avonnova made ground on the inside.
In the straight, Lennytheshark drew level with Lovers Delight and pulled clear at the line to score by 4.8 metres with a further 2m away to Flaming Flutter in third.
The last quarter was covered in 28.4 seconds.
The winning mile rate was 1:54.8 – just outside of the track record held by champion pacer Im Themightyquinn at 1:54.7.
“I’m so proud of the horse, he’s a great horse and it’s great to see this plan come off because it’s been months in the making. He’s been great throughout the series and I was confident of a forward showing today.” Winning trainer David Aiken said.
“I’ve got to thank both Kevin and Martin (Riseley –owners) for their patience with the horse and this is great reward for them. What more can we say about Chris, he’s just a champion driver and a big thanks for my staff back home in Avenel.” He added.
The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit is the Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland on December 31.