Bendigo reinsman Chris Svanosio gets chance to drive in New York City



CHRIS Svanosio’s Group 1-winning association with Sparkling Success is set to take the Bendigo driver all the way to the bright lights of New York.

In a coup for his dairy-farming trainer John Meade, Sparkling Success has been invited to contest the $1.3 million Yonkers International Trot in New York in October.

Meade, who is based at Cudgee, between Warrnambool and Terang, said it was ‘team’ invite and that meant Svanosio, who partnered the gelding to a pair of Group 1 wins earlier this year, best start packing his bags.

Svanosio is viewing the trip to New York as a lifetime experience.

“I have always wanted to go to America and see how they do things over there,” he said.

“To be going with a horse like Sparkling Success makes it even more exciting.

“I’ve been to Europe, but never North America. To be going to the races in New York for a $1-million-plus race is a marvellous opportunity.”

The invite-only race aims to bring together the best trotters from around the world.

Sparkling Success has certainly earned the tag of Australia’s best following his win in Australasia’s richest squaregaiting race, the $171,000 Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton in January.

Just three weeks earlier he won the $28,5000 Maori Mile on Bendigo Pacing Cup night and gave Svanosio his first ever Group 1 success.

The Sparkling Success team will be breaking new ground, with few Australasian trotters invited to contest the race, let alone eventually make the trip.

Trainer Brett Lilley strongly contemplated running his champion Keystone Del at Yonkers in 2016 but failed to go through with it.

One star who did take the plunge into racing in the US was the New Zealander Lyell Creek, who had 31 starts in that country for 11 wins and seven minor placings for prize money in excess of $1-million.

Also known as ‘Creek the Freak’, the 2000 Inter Dominion winner raced in seven countries during his career, including Canada, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

The enormity of the task of taking on the northern hemisphere’s best was not lost on Svanosio or Meade.

“We understand it will be a big ask for the horse - the horses he’ll have to race over there will be the best trotters from America, Canada and Europe,” Svanosio said.

“But just to be part of it will be great.”

The 35-year-old trainer-driver said he was pleased with Sparkling Success’ effort in last Saturday night’s group 1 Australian Trotting Grand Prix when second behind the Andy Gath-trained Tornado Valley.

“He did a lot work from a wide draw and the winner was too good in the finish, but they were pretty spread out behind us,” Svanosio said.

“He couldn’t have gone much better with the amount of work he did in the run.

“He’s had little breaks along the way, but he’s done a lot of racing.

You have as much chance of doing this again as you have winning Tattslotto and I don’t even buy a ticket.

John Meade

“He will have another break now, but he’ll have to be pretty fit when he goes to America.

“He’s been a great horse for me; two Group 1s and he’s been running in all the big races. Driving him the whole way through has been fantastic.”

Svanosio has seven wins and seven minor placings from 18 starts in tandem with Sparkling Success since first partnering the horse last July.

With the trotter required to be quarantined for five weeks following his Yonkers run, Meade said Sparkling Success would be absent from some of the rich races back in Australia at the end of the year.

“For us (the race) is at a bad time of the year, it’s on October 13 and I’m booked to go on September 15,” he said.

“We have to put him into quarantine coming back and you can’t work him, so it will be nearly the end of November before we get him back home and it will take another two months to get him ready for the big Group 1 races which will be all over.

“We are taking a bit of a risk, but we may never get a horse like this again and an opportunity to do this again.

“You have as much chance of doing this again as you have winning Tattslotto and I don’t even buy a ticket.”