Ultimate Sniper all class

Ultimate Sniper, driven by his co-trainer, Natalie Rasmussen, produces a brilliant performance to...
Ultimate Sniper, driven by his co-trainer, Natalie Rasmussen, produces a brilliant performance to beat stablemate Chase Auckland in the fifth pacing heat of the Interdominion series at Alexandra Park in Auckland last night. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
All Stars pacer Ultimate Sniper sits on the verge of harness-racing history after a superlative win in the heats of the Interdominion series at Alexandra Park in Auckland last night.

The 4yr-old is set to start a hot favourite in next Saturday’s final.

Last night he lifted himself off the canvas to beat stablemate Chase Auckland to win heat five of the series.

A solo three-wide bid from the 1200m looked as if it would take its toll on Ultimate Sniper before the home turn, but he powered up the straight for a jaw-dropping victory.

An ice-cool drive from co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen added to the theatre.

"I just think they were going to going too hard down the back. I wasn’t getting involved down the back," Rasmussen said.

"Then when I asked him in the straight he really came home good for me."

Rasmussen’s calm tactics meant the Australian trio of Colt Thirty One, Our Uncle Sam and San Carlo had their shot to win on the home turn.

But it was short-lived as the All Stars horse-power kicked in in the home straight as Chase Auckland sprinted hard along the passing lane to make his stablemate fight for his win.

Just a head separated the pair on the line.

Colt Thirty One was three-quarters of a length away in third.

The final 800m of the race was paced in 54.9sec. Ultimate Sniper went faster than that as he was well off the leaders at the 800m peg and had to run at least three wide to the winning post.

"He is such a good horse, people don’t realise how quick he is. He is as tough as . . . he is quick," Rasmussen said.

Cruz Bromac continued to relish right-handed racing when winning the final heat of the Interdominion pacing series.

The 8yr-old showed he had put behind him the wayward tendencies that plagued him during the New Zealand Cup Carnival with his third faultless display of the series.

Runner-up Thefixer never looked like catching the winner in the straight, producing a sound but unspectacular effort for second. Outsider Triple Eight took third.

Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy made his rivals pay when controlling the speed of the first of last night’s
trotting heats.

He drove Temporale to beat Paramount King by three-quarters of a length. Tough Monarch was a further head away in third.

It was a case of same again in the final trotting heat. Winterfell led and won easily on a big night for trainer and driver Mark Purdon.

Massive Metro was sound in second, ahead of Otago trotter Majestic Man.

The 5yr-old produced another strong effort in the series after sitting parked for much of the race.

 

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