STAR trotter Tornado Valley added to his glittering harness racing resume with an imposing victory in Friday night's Group 1 Aldebaran Park Maori Mile (1609m) at Lord's Raceway.
The Andy Gath-trained and Kate Gath-driven gelding notched an impressive sixth Group 1 win, again downing a crack field of squaregaiters in the $50,000 feature race.
The eight-year-old made history by becoming the first back-to-back winner of the Maori Mile.
He is also the first two-time winner of the race since its inception in 2010.
Tornado Valley entered the race an overwhelming favourite, but justified his short $1.20 starting price with a classy performance.
There was further cause for joy in the Gath camp with Everybody Knows, driven by Alex Ashwood, pushing his stablemate all the way to grab second, ahead of the Michelle Eastman-trained Aleppo Murphy, who ran a bold race to finish third.
After a fifth-placing in last year's race, star mare Dance Craze finished fourth, while the Chris Svanosio-trained Magicool had to setle for fifth.
Gath admitted confidence Tornado Valley could go back-to-back, but was nevertheless relieved to see the gelding pull through.
"Everyone thought that's what he'd be able to do and he's come out and done it," he said.
"It's never quite as easy as it seems behind the scenes, turning up and expecting to win races. A lot of things can go wrong - it's more of a release to get the job done.
"He's been a good horse for us - that's six Group 1s, which is a helluva lot."
Gath, who also won the Maori Mile in 2016 with Glenferrie Typhoon, said there was no doubt Tornado Valley was among the best trotters he had trained.
"La Coocaracha is probably the best I've ever trained, but his record suggests he is getting up there," he said.
"Of course he leads in most of his races and probably doesn't look that spectacular, he just does what has to be done.
"But he keeps getting the job done and has a great winning record since he's been in Australia.
"He was nice and relaxed tonight. You can watch his ears and when they are pricked you know he is on-song.
"He's quite comfortable out in front and every time he's led he's won, and when he's challenged he finds another gear. That gives you plenty of confidence watching him go around."
The Group 2 E.B. Cochran Trotters Cup on Ballarat Pacing Cup night (January 18) is the likely next stop for Tornado Valley before a tilt at the $250,000 Group 1 Great Southern Star in early February.
"He and (fellow star) McLovin will probably alternate where they race - one will go one week and the other will go the next week," he said.
"(McLovin) finished second in a New Zealand race, but he got a bit sick. He had two weeks off, but since he's been back he has been working really well.
"He will race next week. In my opinion there's not much between the two and I don't really know which one is better."
Tornado Valley stretched his career record to 32 wins from 90 starts, with 24 placings.
Twenty five of those wins have come since his arrival in Australia in February 2018.
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