Gate speed was the key for Sweet Lou gelding Spirit Of St Louis winning tonight’s (Nov. 29) heat of harness racing’s Inter Dominion Pacing Championship at Shepparton.
The five-year-old won the qualifier within the first 400m when reinsman Jack Callaghan speared him straight to the lead from his wide barrier, gate six.
“He came out really quick and we were able to get a breather from there,” said Callaghan.
However, there was slight drama in the final 200m of the race, enough for connections of the second-placed Beyond Delight to lodge a protest against Spirit Of St Louis.
Spirit Of St Louis drifted up the track as Beyond Delight was angled wider to make his run in the home straight.
Harness Racing Victoria Stewards dismissed this protest, declaring the all clear with Spirit Of St Louis the winner by more than a metre over Beyond Delight and Narutac Prince in third place.
Spirit Of St Louis crossed the favourite Beyond Delight in the initial stages of the race and had Torrid Saint posted on his outside.
With the first two quarters run in 28.7 and 31 seconds, Spirit Of St Louis zipped home in 26.7 and 26.6 clocking a mile rate in 1:52.5, equalling the previous track record.
SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS REPLAY
“It was a really good effort by him tonight,” said Callaghan.
“I still think there is improvement in him which is positive.”
For complete race results, click here.
by Amanda Rando, for Harnesslink
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