Sundons Gift took his career earnings to $992,818 with Rowe Cup success
Sundons Gift edged towards millionaire status with a win in the Rowe Cup.
Sundons Gift is just one win away from becoming the first Australian trotter to crack $1 million in earnings.
The Chris Lang-trained-and-driven champion edged to within $7182 of the magical figure when he notched the 33rd win of his 62-start career in last Friday night’s NZ$250,000 Group 1 Rowe Cup Auckland’s Alexandra Park.
Kiwi champions Lyell Creek ($2,236,390) and Take A Moment ($1,110,276) are the only Australasian trotters to have won $1 million. Four-time Inter Dominion champion Blacks A Fake holds the pacing record with $4,179,693.
Back-to-back Inter Dominion victories have contributed a large portion of those winnings, but the eight-year-old gave Lang a thrill to rival those successes when he claimed one of New Zealand’s premier trotting events.
It was a sentimental win given Lang’s father, the legendary Graeme Lang, won the race 14 years earlier with Wagon Apollo.
“It will always be special to me,” the Nagambie horseman said. “Dad won the race and now I've won it. The Rowe Cup is a very prestigious race and it’s what we came here for.
“This is such a wonderful feeling, especially after the Kiwis have constantly come over to Australia in recent years and taken all our spoils. I won't ever forget this.”
Sundons Gift bounced back from a moderate seventh at his first attempt racing right-handed seven days earlier to run his rivals ragged in last week’s 3200-metre standing start event.
Afforded no favours at the barrier draw, Lang allowed Sundons Gift time to settle early from his back-row draw before dashing around the field to assume the lead a couple of laps from home.
At no stage after that did his rivals look like catching him. He pulled out a 57.6-second final 800m – which included a 28.5-second last quarter – for a 1-3/4-length win over Stylish Monarch and Lleyton Hest in a 2:04.9 mile rate.
Sundons Gift will now return home for a spell before being set for another trip across the Tasman.
His quest for three-straight Inter Dominion wins will be carried out in Christchurch next April, prompting Lang to give him an advanced look at the Addington track in November’s Dominion Handicap.