AS A YOUNGSTER from a harness racing family growing up in Robinvale, Michael Gadsden would dream of having a runner in one of the big finals on Mildura Pacing Cup night.
On Saturday night, he will get his wish when Doitson lines up in the $25,000 Australia Cup Final.
The six-year-old gelding qualified for the final with his second behind Krafty Bart in Tuesday night's heats and should be a strong show after drawing the pole following the early scratching of Waitpinga Lad.
Doitson, or Dewie as his known around their Charlton stable, has quickly become a favourite of Gadsden's and his partner Denbeigh Wade, who will drive the son of Bettors Delight on Saturday, since working his way back from a fractured pastern, suffered in April of last year.
His win in the D.W. (Bill) Foley Tribute Pace at Boort on February 28 came at the gelding's third run back from a 10-month break.
He followed that performance with a fifth on Charlton Cup day before his second at Mildura on the opening night of the three-day cup carnival.
Doitson has had eight runs in total for Gadsden and Wade, including three before being diagnosed with his injury last year.
Gadsden said he was absolutely rapt with Tuesday night's effort.
'He burned early and had no luck and had to go all the way back to last, so to still run on the way he did was a great effort," he said.
"I was pretty confident he could go well; he won well at Boort and his run wasn't bad at Charlton, but not as good as we'd hoped.
"He didn't have a lot of luck but he can throw one of those types of runs in every now and then.
"We changed his work a bit in the lead up to this week.
"This race has been the goal since we bought him and he came over from New Zealand.
"Last year he was leading into it and he broke his leg and that put an end to that, but it didn't go ahead because of COVID anyway.
"To get him in the heats this year was pretty much 12 months in the making."
Doitson will be one of three Charlton-trained horses in the Australia Cup Final. He will be joined by the Shane Sanderson-trained Sea Hawke and Greg Norman-trained Cee Cee In America.
The region will be further represented in the race by Guptas Cullen, who is trained at Leichardt by Shaun McNaulty and will be driven by Rod Lakey.
Gadsden said it had long been a dream of his to have a runner in a Mildura Pacing Cup night final.
"It's one of the nights I really look forward to, especially being part of the festivities on cup night," he said.
"It's one night of the year you always mark in as a social night. Even if you don't have a runner you still head up there to have a night out.
"But having a runner in a final has really topped it off this year."
Wade is booked for six drives on night two of the carnival on Friday, including three for Michael's father Jeffrey Gadsden aboard Miss Mako, Mustang Max, who is chasing back-to-back wins at Mildura, and Little Believer.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.