By Andrew Adermann
There’s a new Trot Rods leader after Dattitude blitzed the field in the second heat at Redcliffe last night.
The Donny Smith-trained gelding stopped the clock in 65.73 seconds, almost half a second faster than the benchmark set by Lifes Black during last week’s heat.
Keith Durston had to settle the $1.90 favourite four-wide from its unfavourable barrier draw, but patiently waited to make his way to the fence and pounce on the lead.
It was smooth sailing from that point onwards, cruising away to a devastating 14-metre victory over the 947m distance.
“It was quite exhilarating, I always thought Pete McMullen’s horse would go forward and there was a bit of speed,” Durston said.
“It was interesting to see how it played out, I always knew I’d be four-wide and was just going to play it by ear and just keep kicking up.
“We just put our foot down and had to go for it, but the horse got to the lead and once he got to the lead he just wanted to keep running.
“Halfway down the straight I thought ‘we’ve got this in the bag’ but then I remembered we needed to run a good time so I gave him a few more taps and he grabbed hold and got to the line pretty strong.”
Durston was happy with the time Dattitude set, but with 14 heats to go, he wasn’t confident of staying there come mid-May.
“I’d like to think it’s going to hold but you’re going to have a higher grade of horse come through soon,” he said.
“It just depends on what gate those good horses come out of, they’ve all got that good gate speed.
“Even though that time wasn’t a bad time, you have to take things like the wind into consideration – which was pretty bad last night.
“Next week, you might get a race with no wind and it will allow them to go a bit quicker, it’s luck of the game.”
Redcliffe will host six more weekly heats before culminating in a feature night on Sunday, May 10 which will be isolated to Trot Rods races and incorporated into SKY 2’s free-to-access coverage via Foxtel.
In total, eight heats will be staged on the feature night – swelling the series total to 16 - and will be limited to 20-minute gaps between races.
“I personally think it’s a great initiative for the sport – it needed a bit of a pick-me-up and something to come in and make it a bit more exciting,” Durston said.
“It’s great to allow some of those horses that do have really good speed a format where it suits them only going around the one lap.”
Check out the leaderboard as it stands after heat two: