Horseman Trent Moffat will use the second edition of the exciting TAB Trot Rods Series in 2021 to continue to build and grow his stable in Queensland.
The Brisbane-based driver and trainer previously worked for the powerful Grant Dixon barn, but has gone out on his own in recent time to make a fist of it himself as a trainer.
He has eight in work and is always looking for more horses, he says.
With the sophomore season of the thrilling TAB Trot Rods Series starting on Wednesday at Redcliffe, there is no more perfect chance for Moffat to show his wares.
He says it can be a test at times running and operating his own stable but is pleased with the way it is going.
“I am finding it challenging, the team is going consistent at the moment and running a lot of placings,” Moffat said.
“I would hope to get a few more winners on the board over the next few months.
“It has been great, a bit of a challenge to cast my eye over the entire operation myself - it is a fair bit of work - but I am enjoying it.”
Trot Rods will kick-start with two heats at Redcliffe on Wednesday and continue with a total of 10 heats run over successive Wednesday nights.
The initiative, which was launched last year, showcases one of the shortest harness racing distances across the globe and will provide a $10,000 cash bonus for the quickest lap throughout the promotion.
Moffat has drives in each of the opening two heats, but is likely to only have one go around, with NaughtyInHeaven likely to be an emergency in the first heat.
The series of races will be conducted over 947 metres, just over one lap of the triangular circuit, with Moffat explaining drivers need to have a “Plan A” and a “Plan B” for such short and speedy races.
He goes into the race with a general plan of what he wants to do but will often have to alter that once the gates are down and most of the field are chasing the early lead.
“The tactics early on in a race, it is more urgent to get the advantage,” Moffat said.
“You need to use your gate speed to get a good spot if they are running hard for the one lap, if you are too far back, you are not going to make the ground up.
“If you end up five lengths off them in the back straight, you are in a lot of trouble, but if you can ping forward early and keep up with them, then you can have a last shot at them.
“You need to judge it as the gate goes, because a lot of drivers want to go forward in this series, you just need to be ready to go.”
Moffat has Jamaican Resort in the second heat, who has drawn the five, but he says the Des Pollock-trained gelding has good gate speed and they should be a big chance.
Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring is hoping the second edition of Trot Rods is bigger and better than its predecessor.
“It was embraced by the entire harness racing community after being a bit of a novelty to start with,” Ring said.
“By the end of the final, it came down to the final race, which was really exciting.”
The Donny Smith-trained With The Band claimed the inaugural series in dramatic fashion, after taking home the final heat of the night and the $10,000 bonus.
Ring, who has served as the president at Redcliffe for seven years after training in his own right before that, believes concepts like the Trot Rods series is showcasing Queensland racing around the world.
“With a few of the innovation things we had, with helmet cams and what not, I had people in the USA sending me messages to try and find information about it,” Ring said.
“It really went worldwide.
“It brought new eyes to the industry, especially overseas.
"We get a lot of product out of the USA and Canada, there are Australian trainers over there and see the great things we are doing.”
The second edition of the TAB Trot Rods Series is set to include drone footage during heats of the series.
Ring thinks heats starting and finishing in front of the on-course punters helps to keep patrons engaged.
The club president was also pleased with the fields for the first set of heats this week and expects they will get even stronger as they progress.
Queensland horseman Moffat thinks different stables will be interested in competing in 2021.
“I thought it was great, I liked it as a concept of one lap, short course racing,” Moffat said.
“It suits a lot more horses that have good gate speed and may not be able to run out the 2100 metres.
“Out of my team, there is one fella there I will target this series with, being Kwasii, he will probably go there in a few weeks - it should suit him.”
A $10,000 bonus will be awarded to the owners of the horse with the fastest time throughout the series, thanks to Otto Tuza.
The winning trainer will also receive an Otto Tuza two-horse angled and fully enclosed horse float valued at over $21,000.