The race trotting fans have craved is on, with Kiwi superstar Marcoola to take on TAB Inter Dominion hero Tornado Valley.
The pair have dominated the trotting gait on either side of the Tasman this season, with Marcoola stunning in races like the Dominion, Lyell Creek and Flying Mile here before his surprise defeat after an early gallop in the National Trot at Alexandra Park on New Year's Eve.
But that hasn’t deterred driver and unofficial co-trainer Clint Ford from heading to Australia to take on a rampant Tornado Valley in the A$250,000 Whatthehill Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 26.
Ford will take Marcoola and Amaretto Sun, both trained by his father Ken, to Victoria for the GSS and possibly the $50,000 Dullard Cup the following Saturday on Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup night, the finale to the three-week TAB Summer Of Glory that launches with next Saturday's PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup.
Waiting for them both there will be Tornado Valley, who was unbeaten during the Inter Dominion and brilliant trotting a 1:54.1 mile at Bendigo last Saturday in the Aldebaran Park Maori Mile.
Joining the pair in the Great Southern Star will be northern trotter Speeding Spur, so the week of racing in Victoria could decide who the best trotter in Australasia is.
“I’m looking forward to getting over there and it will be fun to take on Tornado Valley,” said Ford, who will drive Marcoola.
Stable junior driver Sheree Tomlinson is likely to partner Amaretto Sun.
While the best version of Marcoola may be stronger than Tornado Valley the latter has stunning speed and, most importantly, gate speed, which could give him an advantage on his home ground.
Marcoola and Amaretto Sun will fly to Sydney next Saturday and then road trip to Victoria.