Malta's Noel Baldacchino celebrated his first WDC heat victory at Hippodrome 3R on Wednesday night.
The small country of Malta is celebrating the success of Noel Baldacchino in the final heat of the World Driving Championships at Hippodrome 3R in Quebec on Wednesday night. Baldacchino has won more than 900 races in his career and added to that tally when he pushed Tidewater Tomahawk away from behind the leader in the home straight to score. Danzig Moon, the leader turning for home galloped and ensured a comfortable victory for the son of Western Hanover.
It capped off a successful night for Baldacchino as he moved from eighth spot into fifth with only four races remaining in the championship. The remaining events will be staged at Charlottetown on Friday night.
In other WDC action
HEAT 1 – Marcus Miller picked up the first heat of the night when 5yo gelding Maracasso proved too strong for Ninoscredit and James MacDonald. Miller started the evening in third position and jumped up into second spot on the back of the victory.
Miller gave the son of Lis Mara the run of the race before moving out three wide inside the final 400 metres of the event. MacDonald was racing behind the leader and was forced to ease around the tiring horse and it was at this crucial moment Miller and Maracasso pinched the winning break.
Australia’s Shane Graham finished 8th om Cabernet Seelster, while the New Zealand pair of Dexter Dunn and Mark Purdon finished fourth and ninth respectively.
1st Maracasso Marcus Miller USA
2nd Ninoscredit James MacDonald CANADA
3rd Eataam Whosurboy Gerhard Mayr AUSTRIA
HEAT 2 – Federal Strike won the second heat for the local star James MacDonald. Captain Canada was happy to hand the front over to Bjorn Goop inside the final lap but was able to get into the clear up the straight to score narrowly.
The victory stretched MacDonald’s grip on the championship although he was staying level headed after the win.
“There are plenty of talented drivers in this series and it only takes them a race or two to get on a run and the whole series can change,” MacDonald said.
“I’m happy with how everything is going for me right now and hopefully we can keep chipping away in the remaining races.”
Australia’s Shane Graham finished 6th behind Y S Suzanne, while the New Zealand pair of Dexter Dunn and Mark Purdon finished 8th and 10th respectively.
1st Federal Strike – James MacDonald CANADA
2nd Abundasass – Bjorn Goop SWDEN
3rd Chinnys Wings – Mika Forss FINLAND
HEAT 3 – Mika Forss picked up from his disappointment of losing a race when running inside the marker pegs at Georian Downs last night with a victory at Hippodrome 3R. Forss drove Shanghai B G in the event and from barrier one ended up behind the leader. Jolts Prayer driven by Dexter Dunn led for most of the journey only to be grabbed in the shadows of the post.
What made the victory by Forss even more special – the seat on his sulky broke around the home turn and he was forced to balance on the sulky in the straight and lift his horse in a driving finish.
“I knew it (the seat) was broken on the turn but the horse kept going and although it was only a short straight, he managed to win narrowly,” Forss said.
Graham drove Don’t Tell Mom and it finished 8th, while Purdon’s drive Iron Phil was 6th.
1st Shangahi B G Mika Forss FINLAND
2nd Jolts Prayer Dexter Dunn NEW ZEALAND
3rd Davinci Seelster Marcus Miller USA
HEAT 4 – Will be a memorable night for Noel Baldacchino with the victory on Tidewater Tomahawk. Graham was 10th on JDS Caleb Man and Purdon was 8th on Wine After Five.
1st Tidewater Tomahawk Noel Baldacchino MALTA
2nd Hard Rock Dexter Dunn NEW ZEALAND
3rd Winoc Jimmy James MacDonald CANADA
The overall points standing is with four heats remaining
1st James MacDonald CANADA 192 points
2nd Mika Forss FINLAND 166 points
3rd Marcus Miller USA 162.5 points
4th Dexter Dunn NEW ZEALAND 131 points
5th Noel Baldacchino MALTA 120 points
6th Shane Graham AUSTRALIA 113 points
7th Bjorn Goop SWEDEN 111 points
8th Gerhard Mayr AUSTRIA 109 points
9th Eirik Hoitomt NORWAY 108 points
10th Rik Depuydt BELGIUM 85 points
11th Mark Purdon NEW ZEALAND 83.5 points
With only four heats remaining and at least two good drives it is hard to see MacDonald being beaten. He will become the first Canadian driver since Jody Jamison in 2011 to win the World Driving Championship.