Brilliant trotter Sundees Son has set himself up perfectly to claim back-to-back Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters titles following his emphatic victory in tonight’s (Friday) Gr.1 $150,000 What The Hill Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland.
With the event not held last year owing the Covid-19 pandemic, the Robert and John Dunn prepared star registered back-to-back victories in the Rowe Cup after scoring in 2019.
The Majestic Son six-year-old becomes the first trotter since I Can Doosit to register back-to-back victories in the North Island’s biggest trotting feature.
As it stands, no trotter has claimed a threepeat although champion performer Lyell Creek did win the event three times (2000, 2001 & 2004).
Sundees Son could become the first trotter to claim the threepeat next year if successful again.
Entering tonight, the title to be crowned Trotting Master for the current season hung in the balance with Majestic Man (160 points – current leader) and Sundees Son (100) appearing to be best positioned.
And both loomed as serious players.
Sundees Son was the punters elect following his excellent performance in last week’s Anzac Cup coupled with a perfect draw while Majestic Man was expected to improve off his effort last when fourth behind his arch-rival following a freshen-up.
Victory in the Rowe Cup for either trotter would carry plenty of momentum and crucial points with only two legs remaining this season.
As the field of ten lined up behind the tapes for the 3200m stand start feature, Sundees Son stepped safely but could not match 2017 winner Temporale for early speed leaving John Dunn to immediately work off the inside.
Majestic Man quickly worked alongside Temporale and took the lead while Sundees Son made his move nearing the 2200m mark and claimed the outright lead from Majestic Man with 2100m remaining.
The lead time was covered in 2:08.1.
Sundees Son dictated terms in front while outsider Anditover was left parked out while Majestic Man sat behind the leader with emerging star Bolt For Brilliance in the one out, one back position.
No driver was prepared to make any moves.
The first half of the final mile was covered in splits of 32.3 and 31 seconds, those times spelt disaster for his rivals and Dunn was going to make them pay the ultimate price.
Entering the back straight, Dunn allowed Sundees Son to stride freely, and the gelding reacted fiercely with a stunning 27.5 third quarter.
At the top of the straight, Sundees Son moved away as Bolt For Brilliance got into second while Majestic Man cost himself dearly by making a crucial error with a late break.
In the end, Sundees Son cruised clear to win by a widening margin of 4 lengths over Bolt For Brilliance with a further 2 lengths back to Temporale who snatched third while Majestic Man finished fourth.
The winning margin of 4 lengths was the biggest since I Can Doosit won by 6.5 lengths back in 2012.
Sundees Son finished his final split in 27.8 seconds – a violent final half of 55.3 seconds.
The winning time was 4:06.6 with the winning mile rate being 2:03.9.
It was another clear illustration of his power racing right-handed.
The victory also was his 7th Gr.1 triumph.
Sundees Son is raced by his breeders, Colin and Nancy Hair.
So, with two legs remaining (Dominion @ Addington & Inter Dominion @ Menangle), Sundees Son has catapulted himself to a clear lead in the APG Trotting Masters race with 200 points while Majestic Man sits in second with 180 points.
Bolt For Brilliance moves into third with 120 points while Australian star Tornado Valley is next with 103 points.
The race is on to be crowned the 2021 Trotting Master and following the Auckland features over the past week, it is clearly still up for grabs.
Sundees Son, Bolt For Brilliance and Majestic Man are expected to be at Addington in November for the Dominion but will they venture to Sydney the following month for the Inter Dominion?
Could you imagine Sundees Son competing on the big spacious oval of Menangle....frightening stuff.
And will Tornado Valley race outside of Victoria?
Who will take it?
Only time will tell.