Champion Stable Chasing Another Record In Inters Final

13 December 2018 | Chris Barsby
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The All Stars stable of Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon knows no boundaries.

Their pursuit of excellence continues to defy belief, constantly rewriting the pages of history, producing brilliant talent season after season and across all age groups.

The Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final is a time honoured feature that tugs at the heartstrings of both Rasmussen and Purdon.

After all, Rasmussen and her mighty champion Blacks A Fake won the event a record four times while Purdon has lifted the trophy on six occasions – 3 pacers and 3 trotters.

This will be Rasmussen’s 7th Inter Dominion Grand Final, her previous six coming with Blacks A Fake – 4 wins and 2 seconds.

In fact, the last time the Pacing Grand Final was staged in Melbourne (2008 - Moonee Valley), it was Rasmussen and ‘Blackie’ that proved victorious.

And now they’re chasing another slice of history this weekend.

The All Stars have qualified two runners for the Gr.1 $500,000 TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final, the top two point scorers following the three rounds of heats over the past week.

Cruz Bromac and Spankem are the two combatants, both striving to provide the stable their third straight Inter Dominion hero.

Yet all with different horses after Smolda scored in 2016 while Lazarus took honours last year.

And here’s the magic, no stable has won the Inter Dominion three times and with a different champion each time.

The famous stables of Bob and Vin Knight fell short back in 1990 after both Our Maestro and Jane Ellen scored in the previous.

It was Thorate who scored at Globe Derby while the Knight trained Jane Ellen and Rockleigh Victory were both unplaced and therefore denied the Victorian stable a three peat.

Obviously Rockleigh Victory would’ve created history if successful - three different winners in three consecutive years.

But now the All Stars can claim this record if either Cruz Bromac or Spankem deliver.

And both have undeniable chances, Spankem will start from gate five with Purdon driving after Rasmussen elected to stick solid with Cruz Bromac despite drawing gate nine.

Purdon is taking his 9th Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final drive; he has won three finals previously with Mark Hanover, Smolda and Lazarus while he has won 3 Trotting Finals with Pride Of Petite and I Can Doosit (twice).

Cruz Bromac is the only runner during the series to win all three qualifying heats.

With the series undertaking several changes throughout recent years, the last pacer to clean sweep a series (3 heats & Final) was the champion performer Im Themightyquinn back in 2012 at Gloucester Park in Perth while Elsu also achieved the feat in 2005 at Alexandra Park, Auckland.

So, can Cruz Bromac and Rasmussen achieve the sweep?

Will it be his stablemate, rising star Spankem? The professional four-year-old has thrived during the series winning two of his three heats and looks like he’ll relish the 2760m distance.

Another New Zealand four-year-old I’m Pats Delight is also relishing the hard grind of the series and looms as a serious player for a formidable combination in Cran Dalgety and Gavin Lang.

Between them, they have won more features than they care to remember.

However, the Inter Dominion Pacing Grand Final trophy has proven elusive for both future Hall of Famers but can they etch their names into the record books this weekend?

This will be Lang’s 10th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive and second for Dalgety after partnering London Legend back in 2006.

I’m Pats Delight will start from gate three.

Perth powerhouse Greg and Skye Bond are represented by the ideally drawn Galactic Star (gate one) and the Bettors Delight gelding has been outstanding throughout the series to date with top three finishes in each of his three heats.

Last year, Galactic Star finished 5th behind Lazarus.

In 2012, the Bond’s also finished 5th with Can Return Fire behind Im Themightyquinn.

Ryan Warwick takes his third Inter Dominion Grand Final drive when he reunites with Galactic Star.

Interestingly, the only proven Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit winner in the field this year is the tough Sydney trained millionaire Tiger Tara.

And his maiden Grand Circuit victory came recently when successful in the Victoria Cup here at TABCORP Park, Melton when leading throughout.

Placed third last year behind Lazarus and Chicago Bull, the Kevin Pizzuto trained and Todd McCarthy driven will need to overcome gate seven, the outside of the front-line.

McCarthy is taking his 4th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive.

The Bettors Delight entire was placed in all three heats including his victory last weekend at Cranbourne.

Local star San Carlo lines up again following his impressive efforts last year in Perth where he won a heat but in the final, he finished 9th behind Lazarus after drawing poorly.

Although winless during the heats and starting from gate eight, the inside of the second-line, San Carlo still rates as a winning hope.

Prepared by Steve O’Donoghue and handled by Bec Bartley, the Mach Three gelding will carry plenty of local support.

Another local which will have plenty cheering is the David Aiken trained and Kima Frenning driven up and comer Wrappers Delight.

A winner in the sprint heat at Ballarat on night two, the Bettors Delight gelding needs to overcome gate 11.

This opportunity provides Frenning with her first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive.

One of the surprise packets of the series is the Mattie Craven trained and driven Can’t Refuse, responsible for some eye-catching efforts throughout the heats.

The Bettors Delight gelding will start from gate two.

Like Frenning, this is Craven’s first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive.

Another pacer that has thrived throughout the series is the Bathurst prepared Our Uncle Sam for father/son combination of Chris and Anthony Frisby.

Blessed with sharp speed and great determination, the Sportswriter gelding is looking at bringing another Inter Dominion trophy back to the famous region.

Memories of Honda Grattan and Smooth Satin come flooding back when assessing the chances of Our Uncle Sam.

The five-year-old will start from gate 10 and this is Anthony’s first Inter Dominion Grand Final drive.

There’s no doubt rejuvenated pacer Maximan will have the biggest cheer squad, the one-time claimer has thrived under the care of Shane and Lauren Tritton.

It will be their 3rd Inter Dominion finalist.

Boasting owners from all parts of the country, the veteran performer will start from gate six.

And Craig Cross is represented by two runners, just like the All Stars, speedy pacer Mach Doro starts from gate four while Cash N Flow is looking to overcome gate 13, the outside of the second-line.

Luke McCarthy partners Mach Doro while John Caldow takes the drive behind Cash N Flow, McCarthy is lining up for his 7th Inter Dominion Grand Final drive while Caldow is taking his maiden drive in a Pacing Grand Final.

McCarthy has finished third four times previously but is still chasing his maiden victory.

Interestingly, Cash N Flow is a former member of the All Stars operation before joining Cross earlier this year.

Owner Dominic Martello races both Wrappers Delight and Mach Doro.

Audi Hare (gate 12) is listed as the emergency runner.