INTER DOM TROTTERS HEAT 1:
NEW Zealand showed it would play a part in this year’s Inter Dominion with fighting victory by Majestic Man in the first heat of the Trotting Championships at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight.
Even though he had to fight all the way to the line for reinsman Anthony Butt, Majestic Man showed why he was favourite to prove the best of the square-gaiters.
At the finish Majestic Man prevailed by a head from The Penny Drops (Grant Campbell) with Illawong Stardust (Luke McCarthy) a further head back in third place in a track-record equalling mile rate of 1:58. Lota muscle was the only runner come from well back and nabbed fourth spot out wide.
Butt, who is looking after Majestic Man for New Zealand trainer Phil Williamson was really happy with the win.
He raced a bit keen and considering that was his first run for two or three weeks it was a good effort,” said Butt.
“We haven’t done much with him since he arrived from New Zealand and when he saw those other horses coming, he really knuckled down and was actually holding them on the line.”
Butt explained that this was also his first drive on the highly-rated Kiwi trotter: “We’ll both be better for the run,” he grinned.
“I do think he’ll be an even better horse when he can be driven from behind.
“But he has such good gate speed you really have to make the most of it and use it most of the time.”
Majestic Man kept the pressure on with opening splits of 30.7 and 30.2 before closing with a last half of 55.3 (27.8 and 27.5) for an impressive effort.
Disappointment of the race was second favourite Funky Monkey who galloped and lost ground at the first turn.
“The occasion got to her a little bit,” said reinsman Robbie Morris.
“It was one of those races with a second-row draw when everything was coming back at her. She was keen and climbing over the top of them but didn’t really handle it at all.
“It was not ideal – but that’s the beauty of having another two heats, I suppose.
“Her run after that I was quite happy with. She probably lost 30 to 40 metres on the first turn.
“She’ll be better for the outings here but she’ll learn a lot from this series.”