Keayang Cullen was the standout performer among the winners of the six Interdominion heats on Saturday night.
The six mobile start heats were run at five venues in Australia and New Zealand in the space of 80 minutes to provide 12 qualifiers for the $750,000 Final at Menangle on March 2.
Pacers finishing first and second in the heats at Menangle (two), Addington and Gloucester Park, along with the first three in the heat at Melton and the winner, Forever God of the heat at Albion Park are assured of berths in the Final.
Keayang Cullen, trained by Marg Lee and driven by Glen Craven, rated a 1.53.2 for 2240m, a track record at Melton (Victoria) when he outfinished the favourite Restrepo by a neck with four lengths to Wartime Sweetheart.
Terror To Love (Ricky May) rated 2.02.7 for 2600m when he won the Addington (Christchurch) heat. He dictated a leisurely pace and sprinted the last 400 in a brilliant 25.6, prevailing by a neck from Smolda, who trailed him.
The 6-year-old mare Forever Gold, trained and driven by Darren Weeks, rated 1.55.9 for 2138m when she led at Albion Park (Brisbane).
Im Victorious rated 1.57.6 for 2536m when he won by half a head from Livingoninterest at Gloucester Park (Perth).
Mach Beauty, trained and driven by Todd McCarthy, rated 1.57.4 for 2400m at Menangle (New South Wales)with no time taken for the other heat winner there, Seel N Print, who downed the favourite Beautide by three parts of a length. The Shane Tritton-trained Mach Beauty, driven by Lauren Panella, was home by head from For A Reason.
Im Victorious is trained by Michael Brennan and driven by Gary Hall jun, who has teamed with Im Themightyquinn to win the last three Interdominion Finals.
Im Victorious, like Im Themightyquinn, was bred in Southland, sired by Washington VC.
Terry McDonald, the Christchurch owner of Terror To Love, bred Seel N Print in partnership with his daughter, Janine McCann and son, Tyson. A gelding by Falcon Seelster- Fine Print, Seel N Print was sold to Australia as a 3-year-old two years ago after three placings in seven starts.
He has since won 20 races, including the Western Australian Derby and $370,000.
Terry McDonald is hoping a change of footwear will help Terror To Love at Menangle, where has raced six times for seconds in a Miracle Mile and Cordina Sprint and fourth in the Interdominion Final 12 months ago.
'' He (Terror To Love) has found the track surface at Menangle too hard. Graham (Court) has changed his shoes and added pads,'' McDonald said.
Keayang Cullen is a 6-year-old by Christian Cullen from Inasafeplace, an unraced mare by Safely Kept-Arvee and thus a half-sister to Patch Adams (eight wins in NZ and a 1.51.2 record in America).
Allan Beck, the Winton horseman, bred the fillies, Black Minx and Sarah Jane from Arvee (Smooth Fella -Aberfeldy) after securing the mare when she was 20.
Mach Beauty is by Mach Three from Falcon Black Beauty (by Falcon Seelster), who was bred at Hilderthorpe by Ray and Maureen Beale.
Caribbean Blaster (fourth at Melton) and The Gold Ace (third at Menangle)have been given wildcard invitations to complete the 14-horse field for the Final with Franco Nelson and Pub Blitz in line to be named emergencies when the field is confirmed today.
- The Southland Times