THE Tornado Valley juggernaut rolled on at Lord’s Raceway on Saturday night when the star seven-year-old scored another Group 1 win in the $50,000 Maori Mile.
The slick gelding downed another quality field in his first outing since claiming the Inter Dominion Trotters Championship at Tabcorp Park on December 15.
It was career win number 24 for Tornado Valley, who was superbly driven by Kate Gath, and the gelding’s eighth-on-the-trot.
The New Zealand-bred has now won 18 of 22 races, including four Group 1s, since joining the Long Forest stable of Andy Gath.
While expectations were high for Tornado Valley, who started a short-price favourite at $1.30, his humble trainer said the horse still needed to get the job done.
“It’s never as easy as people expect it to be, even though he was a short-priced favourite you still have to get the job done,” Gath said.
“He’s up against top quality opposition every time he races – they don’t gift Group 1 races to you – but he has a knack of getting the job done every time he steps out.
“The fact he has never let us down yet gives you confidence going into races, but we never get over confident – we know how hard racing is.
“But 18 out of 22 is pretty amazing in this day age.
“Kate’s drive was spot on, she obviously has a great affinity with the horse.
“His gate sped is his biggest weapon and that makes it a lot easier to get the job done every time when you are out in front.”
The Graeme Lang-trained Save Our Pennys ($22.40) stuck on well for second, with Red Hot Tooth ($25.50) running a solid race to finish third.
The next target for Tornado Valley will be Australia’s richest trotting race, the $250,000 Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park on January 26, with Gath open to giving the gelding a start in between in the E. B. Cochran Trotters Cup on Ballarat Cup night (January 19).
More certain was that the gelding could follow in the path of last year’s Maori Mile winner Sparkling Success in garnering interest from overseas suitors, particularly in Europe.
“He’s probably got the opportunity to be invited to Sweden, they’re pretty keen to have him over there,” he said.
“Again we have to weigh things up; he’s not a real good traveller – he can play up a little bit getting on the float.
“That’s our main concern about travelling so far that he could injure himself on the way over.
“We’ll just get through the next few big races and we will see where we go from there.”