What just happened in race three at Gloucester Park tonight is one of the most disgraceful things that I have ever seen in harness racing.
That’s a really big call, because I’ve seen a lot, but I’m making it.
The horse drawn the pole Bird Dancer was the $1.12 favourite.
It had won ten of its thirteen starts, and was unbeaten in eight runs in Western Australia. With that sort of form it looked a certainty, hence the price. There was only one danger, the Gary Hall trained My Carbon Copy drawn outside it in the two, but the chances of that pacer crossing Bird Dancer were minimal, and if it sat in the death it was screwed.
Enter that horse’s stablemate, number seven American Brave.
It was a horse that could run fast time too, but only from the front, and it had always been restrained when drawn wide. Plus it was first-up for three months. There was no chance that it would scream over and try to cross the favorite.
That’s what we mugs thought.
American Brave screamed out off the mobile arm and attacked the Bird Dancer mercilessly. The pair raced 20 metres ahead of the rest of the field, running a lead time almost a second faster than any other run on the night, and a first quarter 1.2 seconds faster again.
It was suicide, hara kiri.
That’s what it was supposed to be too.
Neither of the leaders had a hope in Hades of winning.
The Hall stable’s second stringer and A1 attack dog American Brave punctured from exhaustion at the 700m mark, dropping out so fast that by the time they reached home it was tailed off 130 metres from the winner.
The Bird Dancer did a whole lot better. It stayed in front until the 200, but collapsed from thereon and ended up 16 metres away in eighth place, which all things considered was a pretty amazing run.
Who won the race?
The horse that was supposed to of course.
Gary Hall’s other horse, My Carbon Copy.
The one that sat back and watched its stablemate go berserk up front and kill the leader, then just waited, waited, waited and then went boom.
The one that someone had field/field in the trifecta, and field/field/field in the First 4, both combos having been taken in the knowledge that the fave would get knocked out, but leaving it in so as not to arouse suspicion.
If the trots are really red hot, then this race was lava.
I suppose trot trainers, being self-employed in an industry under huge daily threat of closure, are keener than most to squirrel some cash away before the COVID-19 virus take out the code, and you don’t need a gun to pull a heist on the track like you do to rob banks.
The Stewards report will be very, very interesting.
Watch this space.