With The Band takes out inaugural Trot Rods Series

11 May 2020 | Andrew Adermann

With The Band has claimed the inaugural Trot Rods series in dramatic fashion at Redcliffe Paceway after taking home the final heat of the night and the $10,000 bonus.

The sizzling time of 64.77 seconds was enough to top the leaderboard after Risky Buziness had set a 65.24 second benchmark in the first heat of the night.

The Donny Smith-trained With The Band was expected to lead the 947 metre clash, but was beaten to the front of the pack by Living Grand and Aqua Cruiser.

Down the back straight, the series’ leading time looked near untouchable as the speed was neutral, however, driver Paul Diebert quickly pulled the five-year-old out of the one-one position and stormed to the lead.

Turning into the final straight all eyes were on the clock, where the mare shaved more than half a second off the time set earlier in the night.

Trainer Donny Smith signaled post-race that the intention was for the $1.50 favourite to lead, and was full of praise for Diebert’s ability to adapt when that plan went out the window.

“She makes my job a lot easier – I knew I had the horse to be able to do that time it was just a matter of doing it on the night and she did so it makes it all worthwhile,” Smith said.

“I think the original plan was to lead but as the good drivers do they have a plan B and when she couldn’t lead Paul found a good little spot for her and played the game his way and she was good enough to play it out.”

Check out the full results and race replays from last night's action

The nine-week series culminated with last night’s feature card, shown exclusively on SKY 2’s free-to-access coverage via Foxtel – with a $10,000 bonus on offer for the quickest 947 metre lap.

In a first of its kind, the series also allowed the public to vote for a driver to wear a fitted helmet cam on a week-to-week basis, giving viewers a first-hand look behind the reins.

The helmet cam became a burden of sorts, with no driver rigged with the vision successful in taking out a heat prior to the final night.

Helmet cam curse aside, the series will go down a success with positive support from both participants and at-home viewers.  

“The inaugural Trot Rods series has well and truly exceeded our expectations,” Racing Queensland COO Adam Wallish said.

“It was designed to attract new audiences – the broadcast enhancements have played a key role in enhancing the coverage – but it has clearly captured the public’s imagination.

“Throughout March and April, the Trot Rods heats have generated a 10% uplift in turnover in comparison to the other races on the Redcliffe card.

“Innovations such as driver cam have performed strongly across social media and have created widespread debate.”

Check out the final leaderboard for the 2020 Trot Rods series: