Art Major gelding Call Me Hector raced himself into Saturday’s Lees Orchard Tassie Golden Apple with a dominant display to take out the second and final heat in Launceston on Sunday night.
Despite starting at $81, the win wasn’t a surprise for owner-trainer Matthew Cooper.
“He had been working up to it.
“The rain we have had on our track has made it really hard to get some work into him, and I know that he improves on racing.
“I knew his work this week was pretty good,” Cooper explained post-race.
Missing the early carnage in the 2200m standing start event, trainer-driver Matthew Cooper positioned the pacer one-out and five-back and was only presented into clear racing room out wide in the home straight at the 200m.
The gelding rundown fellow 30m backmarker and race favourite Ryley Major for a 1.8m victory.
“My plan was that if he stepped away that I would follow Ryley Major everywhere he went, but he just got too far ahead of me early, so I had to drive my own race.
“Halfway up the straight, I thought I wouldn’t get passed Ryley Major, and then I thought I was going to win,” said Cooper.
“I know he has track records over the mile everywhere, but he is a genuine stayer, so I knew he would come home hard,” he added.
The mile rate of the 30m was 1m 58.9s, only 0.2s slower than Blitzern recorded in the first heat on 13 November.
“I just hope if someone leads that they won’t hand straight up to him (Blitzern).
“If he gets to the lead as he did in his heat, then it is almost all over,” said Cooper.
The $50,000 final will be held on Saturday night.