Big draw: The Inter Dominion Grand Final Harness race at Menangle Park in 2013. Photo: Mick TsikasDays out from the Inter Dominion in Perth, Devendra was not even in the series, but heading into next Sunday’s final he is the $4.50 second favourite after a remarkable win in the final heat.
Devendra was the first emergency when the final rankings were released and went to Perth on the chance of getting a run. He did and opened the series by leading all-the-way in the first heat but seven days on he came from last to give James Rattray a huge chance of a third consecutive Inter Dominion after winning the past two with Beautide.
“He has really enjoyed the racing and the win on Friday was outstanding,” Rattray said. “Considering we didn’t even know if he was going to get a run in the series.
“It has been a bit different with all the racing but he has thrived on it and is just getting better. We are in the final with a good chance and the draw is not that important to us because he has shown he is versatile.”
Devendra’s two heat wins were matched by the pre-series favourite Lennytheshark and Philadelphia Man, which were both beaten on the final night of heats at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Lovers Delight got the better of final favourite Lennytheshark as the pair singled out from the 400m mark, beating the rest by 20 metres.
Lovers Delight has been plagued by injury problems and his driver, Chris Lewis, gave the credit to his trainer.
“Stephen Reed has performed miracles to bring this horse back to racing,” Lewis said. “The horse keeps getting better. He’ll be at his peak for the final and he’s a genuine chance in the big race.”
It was a family double in the extra when the Mike Reed-trained Libertybelle Midfrew led most the way and held off series heavyweights Philadelphia Man and Waylade.
It was enough to get Libertybelle Midfrew the final spot in the final after failing the first two nights of the series.
“I think the final is pretty open and the barrier draws and luck in the running will play a big part,” driver Mark Reed said.
The barrier draw for the final will take place on Sunday afternoon.
InterDominion final field: LENNYTHESHARK (VIC) 39; PHILADELPHIA MAN (VIC) 39;
DEVENDRA (NSW) 34; LOVERS DELIGHT NZ (WA) 32;
AVONNOVA (QLD) 27; MY HARD COPY NZ (WA) 26;
WAYLADE NZ (WA) 26; FLAMING FLUTTER NZ (VIC) 22;
OUR BLACKBIRD NZ (WA) 22; LIBERTYBELLE MIDFREW NZ (WA) 21. Emergencies 10
MAJOR CROCKER (VIC) 20, BLAZIN N CULLEN NZ (NSW) 20.
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