by Adam Hamilton
THE Inter Dominion Queen is about to join the Inter Dominion King.
Victory for Natalie Rasmussen on raging hot favourite Ultimate Sniper will bring her level with Brian Hancock as the most successful driver in the history of the Inter Dominion pacing final.
Hancock won five finals and Rasmussen already boasts four, all on the great Blacks A Fake.
Ultimate Sniper is an odds-on favourite to give her a fifth win next Saturday.
And Hancock will be cheering loudly for Rasmussen.
“You bet I’m in her corner,” Hancock said from his home near Wollongong. “Records are made to be broken, or in this case, equalled.
“Nat’s a really good friend of mine. She and Vi (Hancock’s partner) are great mates, they talk all the time. I’d love to see her win another final this week.”
Hancock said he spoke with Rasmussen during the week.
“I did have to remind her the other day, even if she does win this, I’m still ahead of her … I won my five finals on three different horses, Nat will only have done it on two,” he laughed.
Hancock, long retired from driving, still educates horses for a few trainers, including his nephew Darren Hancock.
And he said he’s been watching the Auckland series with interest.
“They’ve really dominated it, haven’t they, Nat and Mark. But it’s been great to see Barry (Purdon’s) horses all going so well, too,” Hancock said.
“I’ve got so many great Inter Dominion memories and the Purdon family have been such a big part of them.”
Mark Purdon held the combined record for Inter Dominion final driving wins, three pacing and three trotting.
He’s odds-on to add to that with Winterfell in Saturday’s trotting final and drives second favourite Cruz Bromac in the pacing final.
Purdon already stands alone with seven Inter Dominion titles (two pacing and five trotting) as a trainer.
With Winterfell in the trotting final and five runners, headed by Ultimate Sniper in the pacing final, he looks certain to add to that on Saturday.
Two of Purdon’s training wins came in partnership with Grant Payne with I Can Doosit in 2011 and ’12.
Now he’s got a chance to add to that in partnership with Rasmussen across both finals on Saturday.