Leap Taking His Fame to Cranbourne

04 February 2024 | Adam Hamilton
Leap to Fame - Hunter Cup Win 2024

Leap to Fame - Hunter Cup Win 2024 Photo by Stuart McCormick

LEAP To Fame's most important win yet has earned him an extension to his Victorian raid.

The Queensland sensation added the iconic $500,000 Group 1 Hunter Cup at Melton last night to his Inter Dominion crown, taking another step towards greatness.

It was his first "major" win on the road and set him up for a crack at harness racing history in the $1mil Miracle Mile at Menangle on March 9.

No horse in the modern era has won the "big three" – Inter Dominion, Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile in the same season.

A chuffed trainer-driver, Grant Dixon, said Leap To Fame came through last night's win well and was set to back up in next Saturday night's $100,000 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup (2550m).

It's a coup for the Victorian provincial club and its decision to move the Cup to a new timeslot.

"I'm happy to go there, as long as Kevin and Kay (Seymour) are OK with it, too," Dixon said.

"He seems well this morning, and it's a suitable race- over a distance he loves, with a random (barrier) draw and good prize money."

Dixon also likes the timing because it fits with his plan to try and qualify for the Miracle Mile by winning the $100,000 Newcastle Mile on February 23.

"I'd prefer to go to Newcastle, which gives us two weeks between it and the Miracle Mile. It's better than going to the qualifying sprints just a week before the (Miracle) Mile," he said.

Leap To Fame's Hunter Cup win was his 32nd from just 42 starts and $2,103,957 in earnings.

The five-year-old can blast past $3 million in coming months with targets like the Miracle Mile and the $NZ1mil Race by Grins at Cambridge in New Zealand on April 12.

Leap To Fame gave the Seymours their second Hunter Cup win, following star North American import Mr Feelgood's victory in 2009.

"This is different … it's better," Kevin Seymour said. 

"Mr Feelgood was a thrill, but Leap To Fame is Australian-bred, and we've had him since day one."

"Grant (Dixon) said he's been waiting his whole career for a horse like this, but I've been waiting longer."

"It's 55 years in the game for me, and right in the twilight of it, along comes Leap To Fame. Grant's not even 55 years old, so I've got him covered as far as how long we've waited."

Dixon added: "I grew up watching great horses winning these biggest races like the Hunter Cup, and now I've done it myself."

"Nothing will beat winning Inter Dominion at Albion Park with so many of my friends and family trackside, but getting a big one like this, a really big one like the Hunter Cup, away from home is very special."

"It's something I hadn't done in my career and wondered if I ever would … now I have."

"Sharing the ride with Kevin and Kay (Seymour) adds an extra layer because they've been such huge supporters of mine for so long."

·      Adam Hamilton is a paid contributor writing on harness racing for News Corp.


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