Louis Drawn For Biggest Win Yet In Nullarbor

17 April 2024 | Adam Hamilton
Spirit Of St Louis - Ballarat Cup

Spirit Of St Louis - Ballarat Cup Photo by Stuart McCormick

MILLIONAIRE pacer Spirit Of St Louis is drawn to go one better than last year and snare the biggest win of his stellar career in Friday night's $1.25mil Group 1 TABtouch Nullarbor at Gloucester Park.

The Luke McCarthy-trained star blasted out to lead from a wide draw and then took a trail on eventual winner Betterzippit in last year's inaugural Nullarbor.

This time, he has the treasured pole position, giving his young gun driver Jack Callaghan a big advantage over key rivals and plenty of options in Australia's second-richest pacing race.

So often a runner-up at the highest level, most notably in two Miracle Miles and a Hunter Cup, Spirit Of St Louis is ideally placed to land his biggest win just days before heading to North America to continue his career.

Part-owner Aaron Bain, who is also involved in the slot Spirit Of St Louis runs in (Aaron Bain Racing and Summit Bloodstock), declared the tactics would be different to last year.

"We'll be telling Jack (Callaghan) to hold (the front) and go for an all-the-way win. We've got the draw to do it, and we'll be making full use of that," he said.

"He's been a fabulous horse for us across a couple of years in so many of the sport's biggest races. If you turned some of his minor placings into wins, he'd be one of the richest of all time."

"It would be a perfect and fitting way to go out (of Australia) with a win in a huge race like this. He really deserves it."

Interstate raiders dominated last year's Nullarbor with Betterzippit and Spirit Of St Louis coming from NSW and the three interstate runners in Friday's race – Spirit Of St Louis (gate one), Hot And Treacherous (three), and Catch A Wave (four) – all drew well.

Trainer Andy Gath was delighted with the draw for Catch A Wave, another millionaire pacer and former Miracle Mile champion.

"I wasn't really fussed where he drew, but four is certainly good," he said.

"He's got options from there, even though the pre-race favourite (Hot And Treacherous) is drawn inside him. A few opposition trainers would love to swap draws with us."

Catch A Wave has blistering early speed, but both Spirit Of St Louis and Hot And Treacherous also begin quickly.

Hot And Treacherous, who re-opened as a $2.80 favourite after the draw, gives trainer Jason Grimson and driver Cam Hart a chance to go back-to-back after winning with Betterzippit last year.

Catch A Wave is a $4 second elect from Spirit Of St Louis ($5).

If Bain is right and Spirit Of St Louis leads, the other big winner from the draw will be the youngster of the race, Justin Prentice's four-year-old Never Ending, who will be the lone back-row runner (gate 10). He's into $9.

Driver Gary Hall Jr gets the chance to drive through hard at the start and try to hold the back of Spirit Of St Louis and trail him throughout.

In contrast, one-time favourite Minstrel ($6), who has won six of his past seven starts, drew horribly outside the front (gate nine) and now faces a huge task.

It's a similar story with hugely popular WA pacer Lavra Joe ($18), who landed gate eight.

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


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