Stirling Barrier Still A Tontine Edge

16 June 2010
The Lance Justice-prepared Ay Tee Em, pictured winning when trained by owner Peter Salathiel, is one of the hardest to beat for Stirling Charmer in the Tontine final

The Lance Justice-prepared Ay Tee Em, pictured winning when trained by owner Peter Salathiel, is one of the hardest to beat for Stirling Charmer in the Tontine final

Punters who took long odds-on about Stirling Charmer from barrier one in his Tontine Pacers Series heat last Friday might think twice about backing him from the same gate in tomorrow night’s Group 3 final at Terang.

The Kiwi import scrambled for a few strides just as the starter released the field, but was lucky enough to find his gait quickly and land the spot behind the leader, enabling him to sprint-lane to victory.
It gave those who backed him into $1.40 favouritism palpitations, but trainer Glenn Douglas put it down to the shoes he was wearing on the wet Hamilton track, leaving him confident there will be no repeat in the $30,000 decider.
“He hasn’t done it any other times, so I hope it’s a one-off,” Bendigo-based said.
“We blamed the state of the track and the type of shoes we had on him that night. I still think he’s got the gate speed to lead and got the ability to win.”
One thing punters aren’t questioning is the son of Live Or Die’s ability. After crossing the Tasman with one win and two minor placings from five starts, the gelding has won all three Australia starts to justify Douglas’s opinion of him.
“He looked to have ability in New Zealand and on what he’s done at home against who he’s been working with we certainly thought he was capable of doing what he’s done since he's been here,” Douglas said.
But as confident as Douglas is in the five-year-old, he knows his toughest test awaits in tomorrow night’s 9.30pm final despite HRV price assessor marking him a $2.30 favourite.
Fellow Kiwi imports Captain Dale ($7) and Dream Deposit ($9), trained by Geoff Webster and Kerryn Manning respectively, and the Lance Justice-trained mare Ay Tee Em ($10) are other classy types engaged in the prestigious final.
The pacers’ decider is one of two Tontine Series finals at Terang with the squaregaiters to go around in the $16,000 trotting decider, in which dashing heat winner Zanzi Bromac appears the testing material.
The David Murphy-trained-and-driven son of Red River Hanover made light work of his 20m handicap when a 7.5m heat winner at his first run since flashing home for third behind Let Me Thru in the Vicbred Super Series final.
Two of the beaten brigade from that heat, runner-up Prince Of All and untapped Kiwi important Continentalcastleton (fifth), shape as the hardest to beat for Zanzi Bromac along with fellow heat winner Billy The Brat.
Tomorrow night’s card also features an open $10,000 Vicbred Super Series heat for the two-year-old fillies in which Milliara Lombo, Chi Serasera Lombo, Lifelittlesecret and Blucolla Tigerpie look like fighting out favouritism.


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