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Herald Sun Form Guide : March 28th 2009
heraldsun.com.au Herald Sun, Saturday, March 28, 2009 73 GOLD COAST + Great team: Natalie Rasmussen and Blacks A Fake are chasing a fourth Inter Dominion crown. Hancock hails the new king Adam Hamilton INTER Dominion ‘‘King’’ Brian Hancock has surrendered his crown. Hancock, who drove a record five Inter Dominion winners, says the title now belongs to a horse, not a person. ‘‘Blacks A Fake is the Inter Domi- nion King now, not me,’’ he said. ‘‘Win, lose or draw in this final, the fact he’s near enough to favourite in a bid to win his fourth successive final is almost unthinkable. ‘‘I know how hard it was nursing Beach boys: Barry Lew and and his eight-year-old Karloo Mick train at Cabarita in northern New South Wales. Pictures: DAVID CLARK Just try to write off mighty Mick Adam Hamilton BARRY Lew should be an ambassador for the Inter Dominion. Sure, a lot more people would associate legendary harness racing names such as Brian Hancock and Vic Frost with the sport’s marquee event, but Lew encapsulates what the Inter Dominion is about: an avenue for dreams to come true. Dubbo-based Lew grew up around horses, but it was not until he sold his auto-electrician business for quite a few quid about seven years ago that he had the time and means to chase his dream. ‘‘I guess you’d say I decided to smell the roses because too many of my mates were getting crook or having heart attacks,’’ Lew said. Around the same time Lew named one of his yearling pacers Karloo Mick. All of Lew’s horses carry Karloo in their names, a legacy of the block of apartments Lew stayed in during a Gold Coast holiday in the 1970s. Lew, a tough, hard-working customer, saw similar qualities in Karloo Mick from day one. They were a good fit. Fast forward another few years to the 2006 Hobart Inter Dominion series. Karloo Mick had carved an encour- agingCVas a three and four-year-old, but most felt Lew was kidding him- self having a dip in the biggest league of all. ‘‘I’m the first to admit I went there just so I could say I’d competed in an Inter Dominion series,’’ Lew said. Karloo Mick did better than that. After two terrific heat runs he ran down the track in the other, but even with a self-confessed terrible drive by Lew he made the $1.5 million final. There was more to come. In what turned out to be the first of Blacks A Fake’s three successive Inter Dominion final wins, Karloo Mick Look left, look right: after stretching Karloo Mick’s legs in the shallows, Dubbo trainer Barry Lew and his gutsy veteran wait for a break in traffic on their way home. They race tonight in the Inter Dominion final. produced the run of the race for second. Not bad from a horse who was $151, and virtually unheard outside of New South Wales, going into the series. Karloo Mick was back at the Inter Dominion in Adelaide the next year, but failed to match his Tasmanian deeds. He still managed to win the consolation final. When the Inter Dominion came around again in Melbourne this time last year, Karloo Mick and Lew were home in Dubbo. ‘‘The EI outbreak really ruined things for us,’’ Lew said. ‘‘It put us behind the eight-ball, there was no lead-up racing and it all just became too hard with the quaran- tine needed to compete in the series.’’ Most thought the Inter Dominion had seen the last of Karloo Mick. They were wrong. Lew nominated the now eight-year- old for this year’s series on the Gold Coast, but nobody took him seriously. Thebookies opened him $151 again. This time, knowing it was his last gasp in the big league, Lew did what very few people would be able to do. He conceded his talent as a driver was limited and he booked top NSW freelancer Greg Bennett to partner Karloo Mick on the Gold Coast. Expecting Bennett would improve the horse, Lew had his first bet in 20 years — $300 each-way on Karloo Mick for the final at $151 with TAB Sportsbet. Just as he was three years ago in Hobart, Karloo Mick has been the revelation of the Inter Dominion. And his refreshingly self- deprecating trainer has won every- body’s hearts. Karloo Mick goes into tonight’s $1 million final the only unbeaten pacer of the series, including claiming the scalp of champion Kiwi pacer Auckland Reactor on opening night. ‘‘I cried after that one,’’ Lew said. ‘‘That photo is going on the wall for sure. ‘‘I’ll be telling people for years that’s the night old Karloo beat Auckland Reactor.’’ The $151 for the final has long gone. Even from a back-row draw tonight, Karloo Mick is a $10 shot with TAB Sportsbet. Lew, who admits he misses driving, hopes Bennett can make the differ- ence and take Karloo Mick one spot better than he went in Hobart three years ago. ‘‘Mate, I can’t drive and the horse ran second in the Inter Dominion final for me,’’ Lew said. ‘‘He’s as tough as old boots, but he’s got speed, too. ‘‘I’ve always said that, but the way I’ve driven he hasn’t had the chance to show it. He’s a different horse with Greg driving.’’ Blacks A Fake and Karloo Mick share one thing in common. They are the only eight-year-olds in the final. Lew hopes they will also both be Inter Dominion winners after tonight. Our Sir Vancelot through four Inter Dominion campaigns. He won three of them, but ‘Blacky’ is a serious chance of winning four. ‘‘The history of the Inter Dominion is full of great moments, you know how much it means to me, but another Blacks A Fake win this week would top them all. ‘‘It’s got everything. He’s in front of hishomecrowd and taking on a horse (Auckland Reactor) who some say could be the best of all time.’’ Hancock’s praise extends to Blacks A Fake’s trainer, driver and closest friend, Natalie Rasmussen. ‘‘I’ve seenNat with the horseandthe bond they have is amazing,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s the reason Nat’s been able to get Blacky through the setbacks he’s had in the past six months or so, she knows him so well.’’ Top Kiwi trainer Geoff Small has one of Blacks A Fake’s main dangers, Changeover, in tonight’s final, but admits feeling like a bit of a villain when his pacer upset Blacks A Fake in a heat last week. ‘‘The people up here expect Blacks AFake to win every time, nothing less is good enough,’’ he said. ‘‘Iknowhe’ll be a lot harder to beat in the final.’’ Small trained Elsu, NZ’s best pacer of the past eight years, to take a clean sweep of the 2005 Auckland Inter Dominion series. Injury ended his career soon after. ‘‘He’s why I’m in awe of Blacks A Fake and the job Natalie has done with him,’’ he said. ‘‘People say the injuries only happen to the really good ones and there’s somemerit to that because theygo the fastest and try the hardest. The good horses push the boundaries to the limits and sometimes go beyond. ‘‘Blacks A Fake has already gone beyond what anybody would think possible of a top horse in today’s very tough world of racing.’’ MULTIPLE FINAL WINNERS THREE WINS BLACKS A FAKE (2006-08): Made three fi nals and won them all. Going for his fourth win tonight. OUR SIR VANCELOT (1997-99): Knocked down when a winning hope in 1996 Perth fi nal, then won the only other three fi nals he contested. TWO WINS CAPTAIN SANDY (1950 and 1953): Made four fi nals. Ran last in 1951 and fourth in 1954. GAMMALITE (1983-84): Also made the 1985 Melbourne fi nal and ran fi fth to Preux Chevalier. HONDO GRATTAN (1973-74): The ‘Bathurst Bulldog’ also made the 1975 Auckland fi nal and ran sixth to Young Quinn. +
March 30th 2009
March 27th 2009