Inter Dominion Trot Final Will Be A Thriller

12 December 2018 | Chris Barsby
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The last time an Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final was staged, it was 2012.

It was staged in Melbourne at TABCORP Park, Melton.

And the Kiwi’s got ‘Lucky” when brilliant squaregaiter I Can Doosit proved triumphant for champion horseman Mark Purdon.

In fact, it was New Zealand domination with the first four placegetters all hailing from the Shaky Isles.

Now, the Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final returns to the feature race calendar and again, it will be staged in the garden state.

The Gr.1 $150,000 TAB Inter Dominion Trotters Grand Final is the second leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters and takes place this Saturday night.

While the Kiwi’s are well represented, the locals hold the whip hand through the Andy and Kate Gath prepared Tornado Valley.

Bred in New Zealand and raced by Queensland based Norm Jenkin, the Skyvalley gelding has been a revelation since being under the tutelage of the Gath couple.

A clean sweep of his three heats has him listed as the punters elect and he’s hoping to join I Can Doosit who swept the 2012 series.

But back in 2012, there was only two heats and a final.

Throughout this year’s series, Tornado Valley has looked as safe as a bank with the only concern coming last weekend in his final heat after his hind leg bandage starting to unravel with 300m left to run.

As it turned out, the star trotter never missed a beat.

A winner of 16 of his 20 starts on Australian soil, Tornado Valley will start from gate six in the 2760m mobile start feature while his main danger, New Zealand star Speeding Spur has drawn the ace.

Having met in the second round at Ballarat, Tornado Valley took glory with his all the way victory over his Kiwi rival.

Interestingly, Tornado Valley led Speeding Spur in that event despite drawing on his outside.

But Speeding Spur is a high quality performer, a trotter that is no stranger to the big stage.

And his record at Melton underlines his class, with four wins from eight starts including features and excellent form throughout the series, it shapes as a classic Trans-Tasman battle.

The stunning looking entire won two of his three heats while placed behind Tornado Valley in the other and the John and Josh Dickie prepared gun is looking to crack the million dollar mark if successful this weekend.

While Tornado Valley and Speeding Spur have hogged the limelight throughout the series, several others are looking to take centre stage including several locally trained performers.

And most have strong Inter Dominion connections.

Legendary father/son combination of Graeme and Gavin Lang will combine with in-form trotter Save Our Pennys, a runner-up in all three heats throughout the series.

Both Graeme and Gavin know what’s required to score an Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final, they have five trophies combined.

Back in 2012, they combined with Save A Sixpence who finshed 6th behind I Can Doosit.

Save Our Pennys will start from gate three.

Over the past 45 years, the name Lang has been synonomous with Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Finals.

Astute horseman David Aiken is looking for success with the talented Big Jack Hammer, a runner-up in his past two heats.

Again, the rising star will be handled by Kima Frenning and will start from gate five.

While Aiken has lofted an Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final trophy, his best finish in a Trotting Grand Final is 5th (twice) with Twebby Twotter (2002) and Im Dejazzman (2012).

Richly talented young horsemen Mick Stanley and Ryan Duffy are looking for their piece of history with the talented Sky Petite, but the mare will need to overcome gate seven.

Former New Zealand horseman Brent Lilley is chasing his second Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final after scoring back in 2002 at Harold Park with Game Bid.

Representing his stable is the North American bred evergreen Kyvalley Blur, the 11-year-old gelding will start from gate eleven.

Kyvalley Blur scored a stylish heat victory in the second round of heats at Ballarat and will again be handled by champion reinsman Chris Alford.

Speedy mare Red Hot Tooth is looking to provide Kari Males and Zac Phillips with their biggest triumph but face a massive challenge after landing gate thirteen.

The Yankee Paco mare was placed behind Tornado Valley and Save Our Pennys in her final heat last week at Cranbourne.

Andy Gath is duly represented in the final with Kingdom Come lining-up from gate ten, young Alex Ashwood will take the drive.

The state of New South Wales will have a triple threat through the deeds of Rompers Monarchy (gate four), Tough Monarch (gate nine) and Wilmas Mate (gate twelve).

Husband and wife combination of Joe and Mary Rando along with driver David Morris are hoping for their biggest success through Rompers Monarchy while Rickie Alchin is also chasing the ultimate prize with his talented performer Tough Monarch for the first time.

Champion trainer Tim Butt, now based at Menangle, is chasing his fourth Inter Dominion Grand Final trophy after scoring previously with Lyell Creek and Take A Moment (twice).

Back in 2012, he finished second with Vulcan behind I Can Doosit.

Butt is preparing the talented mare for Christchurch trainer Paul Nairn, a winner of the 1995 Inter Dominion Grand Final with Call Me Now.

And New Zealand horseman Phil Williamson is hoping it’s five times a charmwhen he sends out Monty Python, the talented gelding will start from gate two.

Williamson has previously qualified Allegro Agitato (2005 – 12th), One Over Kenny (2008 – 7th) and Springbank Richard (2011/12 – 8th & 7th).

The locally trained Illawong Armstrong is listed as the emergency runner, he will start from gate eight if he secures a start.

The Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final is steeped in great history and and now another chapter is about to be written this weekend.