Kiwi Star Smolda Takes Epic Inter Final

10 December 2016 | Chris Barsby

Champion horseman Mark Purdon knows no boundaries.

The New Zealand based legend won the biggest event in his homeland last month when his rising star Lazarus thrashed his rivals when obliterating the national record in the New Zealand Cup at Addington last month.

Now he’s won the biggest event held on Australian soil.

Aging warrior Smolda outstayed race favourite Hectorjayjay in a thrilling home straight battle to claim the Gr.1 $1.1 million TABTOUCH Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park in Perth tonight.

And just like Lazarus, Smolda also smashed the track record.

Over the marathon distance of 2936m on a warm summer’s night, Smolda rated 1:55.8 which easily eclipsed the mark previously held by My Hard Copy at 1:57.4.

The last horse to win the New Zealand Cup/Inter Dominion in the same season was another New Zealand pacer in Yulestar during the 2000/2001 season.

With the series full of drama, the anticipation for the final gained significant interest following the barrier draw which left Hectorjayjay who was unbeaten during the three heats starting from the outside post, gate 9.

Rivals had a glimmer of hope.

Young driver Josh Aiken elected to ease at the start which was a major talking point all week long while Bling It On, Run Oneover and Bettors Fire all charging the gate.

Run Oneover took the lead from Bling It On left in the trail while Bettors Fire was left parked without cover.

The lead time was covered in 1:35.4.

The first move came via Beaudiene Boaz and Gary Hall Jnr who dashed around the outside to race outside his stablemate before John Of Arc made his move.

Run Oneover became fired up and started to over race.

The first half of the final mile was covered in 29.8 and 29.3 seconds.

As the field worked passed the winning post, Run Oneover dropped off sharply which left John Of Arc as the leader while Smolda kept pushing forward after starting a three wide move at the 1000m point while Hectorjayjay tracked him every step of the way.

Down the back straight, Smolda raced to a narrow lead while Hectorjayjay made his move.

The third quarter was covered in 28.4 seconds.

At the top of the straight, Smolda and Hectorjayjay staged an epic battle while Beaudiene Boaz and Bling It On started to emerge from the pack.

In a thrilling battle, Smolda rallied and fought off the determined challenge from Hectorjayjay by a half neck while Beaudiene Boaz filled third placing some 7m away.

The last quarter was covered in 28.2.

“This is just unbelievable, I can’t believe we just won the Inter Dominion. We’re just living the dream and we’re so thrilled to be here and part of this carnival following on from the New Zealand Cup.” Co-owner Phil Kennard said.

Smolda, an 8-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding was purchased through the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales is races by Phil & Glenys Kennard, Neil Pilcher and Marcus Kirkwood.

The next leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit heads to Alexandra Park, Auckland on New Years Eve.