By Jonny Turner
New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac set up an Australia versus New Zealand battle in next week’s Interdominion Pacing Championship with a faultless display to win the last heat of the series on Friday night.
The All Stars pacer was rewarded both for his consistent form in the series and for his massively improved manners when holding out his stablemate Thefixer by three-quarters of a length.
Cruz Bromac showed no signs of the wayward tendencies he displayed during and before the Interdominion series with his third perfect display of the championship.
The 8yr-old’s love of right-handed racing, where he can stride out more fluently than in the opposite direction, has him ready to give his stablemate and series rock star Ultimate Sniper a stern test in next week’s final.
Part-owner Peter O’Shea said there was no doubt who Cruz Bromac will be representing when the pacer takes to Alexandra Park for that battle.
He and his fellow Australian owners could pull off a masterstroke that would win them an incredible New Zealand Cup and Interdominon double while flying the Australian flag, following their move to place the horse with New Zealand champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen for the spring and summer.
The final heat of the Interdominion pacing series bought mixed emotions for O’Shea, who races the horse with wife, Zilla, and Danny and Joanna Zavitsanos.
The O’Sheas also race Bling It On, who dropped out to run a shock second last in the second of Friday night’s pacing heats.
“I am excited about Cruz, but it has been disappointing with Bling It On,” Peter O’Shea said.
“I thought he was really going to run a big race tonight and we were going to have a two pronged attack.”
“He has had a shocking series, he choked down the first heat and he couldn’t get out in the second heat.”
Driver Luke McCarthy put Bling It On’s chequered Interdominion campaign down to the horse being out of his comfort zone.
“He just hasn’t been himself here, he is out of the routine he has been in at home.”
“He has been collected three times a week at home and obviously his routine has been totally different over here.”
McCarthy said Bling It On would not contest next week’s Interdominion Pacing Consolation.
The All Stars quinella makers gapped in the final heat, with Triple Eight heading the rest of the field home to take third and qualify for next week’s final.
Triple Eight has already made one Australian owner’s dream come true by making the series final.
Popular octogenarian owner, Father Brian Glasheen, has landed a final starter with his first runner an incredible 69 years after attending his first Interdominion series in 1950.
Sicario was next home behind Triple Eight, ahead of dual heat winner, A G’s White Socks, who was sound in fifth.
The final field for the Interdominion Pacing Final in qualifying order.
Ultimate Sniper, Cruz Bromac, A G’s White Socks, Chase Auckland, Thefixer, Mach Shard, Ashley Locaz, Sicario, San Carlo, Triple Eight, On The Cards, My Kiwi Mate.
Emergencies: Classie Brigade, Solid Gold.