The raiders have stepped to the fore in the TAB Inter Dominion pacing championship as Blake Redden deep dives runner-by-runner in who's stepped up and who's on the verge of stepping out after two nights of pacing heats.
In addition to detailing the official points score, which can be viewed by clicking here, Redden has given each runner a race-by-race rating.
32 Points – Cruz Bromac (16.5/20)
Night 1: 8/10 – Didn’t do anything unexpected when leading and breezing away as a short-priced favourite.
Night 2: 8.5/10 – A simply spectacular drive which meant he could just control this race.
29 Points – Im Pats Delight (17.5/20)
Night 1: 8.5/10 – Had to work hard to shoot for the front but came back underneath Gavin Lang and was trying all the way to the line.
Night 2: 9/10 – Did it very easily and it’s quite clear he is building into this series perfectly.
27 Points – Galactic Star (16/20)
Night 1: 8/10 – Sprung a surprise at the start and changed the complexion of the race. He was entitled to win in the end but still a super win when it’s all told.
Night 2: 8/10 – After the early speed the heat came out of this race so for him to take the ground he did in the straight was the perfect indicator that he’s right on track after night 1.
27 Points – Spankem (18/20)
Night 1: 9/10 – It’s easy to look at the drive of Nat Rasmussen and underrate just how strong this bloke was through the line. Proved he is a serious contender.
Night 2: 9/10 – Ran the hands off the clock in an unsuitable race, into equal favouritism for the series and it’s not hard to understand why.
24 Points – Tiger Tara (16.5/20)
Night 1: 8/10 – Got shuffled back but hit the line with great gusto late. Nice to see him back after a too-bad-to-be-true run in the NZ FFA.
Night 2: 8.5/10 – Driven aggressively and was ironically able to get a relatively nice run from the breeze. Banked points and couldn’t be shaken off late.
24 Points – Wrappers Delight (16/20)
Night 1: 8/10 – Ended up in an awkward spot and was one of the only horses to come wide on the track and make ground for the night.
Night 2: 8/10 – Found the lead as expected, got a soft time and ripped home in a quarter. We didn’t learn anything new about him and he’s largely still an unknown commodity in this series.
21 Points – Audi Hare (13.5/20)
Night 1: 6.5/10 – Had a quiet time along the pegs but probably just held his ground like most of the beaten brigade behind Audi Hare.
Night 2: 7/10 – Had to work very hard early, got plenty of respite in the middle stages but was just controlled by a better horse late.
21 Points – Cant Refuse (15.5/20)
Night 1: 7.5/10 – Didn’t have to go around a horse but he was finishing hard up the inside.
Night 2: 8/10 – Another soft run and was able to burst through to snatch second late. He’s probably going to need luck right through this series but his turn of foot will give him knockout chances going forward.
21 Points – San Carlo (15.5/20)
Night 1: 8.5/10 – Sat parked and just kept finding all the way to the line despite not winning. The Galactic Star formline looks fine for this series and he’s only going to improve.
Night 2: 7/10 – Understandably was happy to hand the breeze over once Tiger Tara arrived so quickly, he didn’t make any ground in the lane but he didn’t need to, it’s his staying prowess that brings him into the final.
20 Points – Mach Doro (14/20)
Night 1: 6.5/10 – Had every possible and while he didn’t lose anything late, he didn’t gain anything either.
Night 2: 7.5/10 – Worked hard early and was finishing off as well as anything, the big question now looms, is he better over the sprint trip?
20 Points – Maximan (14/20)
Night 1: 7/10 – A terrific plan from Team Tritton to punch the breeze in a race where no horse was likely to make much ground. Battled away willfully late.
Night 2: 7/10 – Looked a stone-cold certainty to run a drum at the top of the straight and he didn’t throw in the towel but the class just got to him late.
18 Points – Cash N Flow (12.5/20)
Night 1: 7/10 – Trailed home Cruz Bromac who controlled the race but he held everything else.
Night 2: 5.5/10 – Got back and was never a factor over the sprint trip.
15 Points – Im The Boss (14/20)
Night 1: 6.5/10 – Was never really in the hunt and while well beaten, no great knock on his effort.
Night 2: 7.5/10 – Got fired up from the breeze as is customary and while it was hard for the others to make ground, he still gets a big tick and some much needed points heading into the suitable staying heat.
15 Points – Our Uncle Sam (14/20)
Night 1: 7.5/10 – Ended up getting shuffled back but his run was full of merit to get as close to the winner as he did.
Night 2: 6.5/10 – Came three-wide solo and he was still fighting hard late for sixth. He’s not far off them, but may just lack the absolute class required.
14 Points – Franco Nelson (13.5/20)
Night 1: 6.5/10 – Ended up being an awkward race for him and he didn’t find the front as expected so overall there was merit to his performance.
Night 2: 7/10 – Was forced to pull three-wide after the tempo had slackened mid-race and he made a 100-metre dash at the leaders so it’s obvious he is on the improve and might be an each-way sleeper in the series.
14 Points – Mattgregor (11/20)
Night 1: 5.5/10 – Was three-wide for a while and finished with the peloton. Pretty inconclusive.
Night 2: 5.5/10 – He came out running and lobbed behind the leader but just couldn’t improve his position inside the final quarter.
14 Points – Motu Meteor (14/20)
Night 1: 7.5/10 – Surprising to see him so close to the action but it was a masterstroke in terms of earning very valuable points for the series. He went right up to his best (if not exceeded it).
Night 2: 6.5/10 – Raced the gate, got shuffled back and wasn’t losing ground late so another solid performance.
14 Points – Yayas Hot Spot (13/20)
Night 1: 7/10 – Wasn’t asked to do much work but when he saw a gap he finished off nicely.
Night 2: 6/10 – Looked in a bit of bother halfway home but the last 50 metres he did lift and he has raced well over staying trips in Victoria before so don’t drop off him yet.
12 Points – Village Witch (12.5/20)
Night 1: 7/10 – Took a while to hit her top but she was finishing off as well as anything.
Night 2: 5.5/10 – Hard to judge exactly where she is at given she was wide on the track. A total forgive run again.
11 Points – Bad Billy (11/20)
Night 1: 4.5/10 – Was probably a bit better than it first looks on paper but was beaten a fair way.
Night 2: 6.5/10 – Was guaranteed a nice run and held his ground well at the finish but showed under these conditions he isn’t quite up to the best in the series.
11 Points – Conviction (13/20)
Night 1: 6.5/10 – He was poking up along the pegs nicely and perhaps a little bit underrated for a race like the consolation based on that.
Night 2: 6.5/10 – He was poking through late in an on speed dominated race. He is half flying but just needs to find the right conditions.
11 Points – Joes Star Of Mia (12.5/20)
Night 1: 6.5/10 – Was left in an awkward spot with over a lap to go and really hard to take much from the night out.
Night 2: 6/10 – Had to chase the helmet of Franco Nelson but when he got wound up he was running through the line.
11 Points – My Alpha Rock (11/20)
Night 1: 6.5/10 – Took his chances in front and did cop pressure but hard to see him leading all the way and winning a heat or final of this series now.
Night 2: 4.5/10 – Another inconclusive run coming wide over the sprint trip.
10 Points – Ellmers Image (11.5/20)
Night 1: 5.5/10 – Ended up in a place he probably didn’t want to be but the tank read empty halfway up the straight.
Night 2: 6/10 – Dropped in three poles and visually was far better with that quiet run but still a little ways off the big guns.
10 Points – Mister Wickham (10.5/20)
Night 1: 6/10 – Never looked likely but went about as good as Magical Marn given he was off the pegs.
Night 2: 4.5/10 – Not much changed for him tonight, he was given an easy time out the back and did as much as expected late.
9 Points – Tee Cee Bee Macray (6.5/20)
Night 1: 2/10 – Didn’t make much ground off a soft trip.
Night 2: 4.5/10 – An improved effort but may have been suited by the 1710 metres.
8 Points – Magical Marn (9/20)
Night 1: 6/10 – Didn’t do any work but he found the line as well as could be expected.
Night 2: 3/10 – He wasn’t able to run on like night 1, he’ll need big points Saturday night or the consolation is calling.
7 Points – Freyberg (8/20)
Night 1: 5/10 – Beaten a long way but wasn’t exactly losing ground late.
Night 2: 3/10 – Settled at the rear and made no impression.
6 Points – Hickstead (10/20)
Night 1: 5.5/10 – Just never involved in any meaningful way from the back of the field.
Night 2: 4.5/10 – Was never in the hunt and while he was OK in the lane he didn’t pick up much ground.
5 Points – Ideal Success (8/20)
Night 1: 4/10 – It didn’t look his race on paper and that’s exactly how it panned out.
Night 2: 4/10 – Found himself further back than expected but he was going up and down late.
3 Points – John Of Arc
Night 1: 2/10 – Beaten very early
Night 2: 2/10 – Never sighted
Scratched – Shadow Sax (7.5/10)
Night 1: 7.5/10 – Got back and made terrific ground, he didn’t get the rewards point-wise but it was a terrific effort
Scratched – Let It Ride (5/10)
Night 1: 5/10 – Had a nice run and got out in enough time but just didn’t have his usual ping.
Scratched – Italian Delight (2/10)
Night 1: 2/10 – The market said he wouldn’t be a factor and that proved true.
Scratched – Burnaholeinmypocket (2/10)
Night 1: 2/10 – Has every chance and was gone a fair way out. We know he is better than that.
Scratched – Is It Billy (1/10)
Night 1: 1/10 – He was beaten to quickly.