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Fame Leaps through standing start test

9 June 2024

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By Adam Hamilton

Christchurch and Redcliffe are the big winners from champion pacer Leap To Fame’s crucial standing-start win at Albion Park on Saturday night.

Trainer-driver Grant Dixon was thrilled with how the five-year-old handled his first standing-start race and the way he dashed right away from his rivals in the closing stages of the Flashing Red Discretionary Handicap.

Leap To Fame made light work of a 20m handicap when he made a mid-race move to sit outside the leader and dashed clear to win easily in a brilliant 1min 55.5sec mile rate for the long 2647m standing start.

“He’s in a great place at the moment, we’re really happy with him,” he said.

“And, as far as the stand went, it ticked an important box and he handled it well.”

Dixon is now talking about how he will build towards the iconic Group 1 New Zealand Cup in Christchurch in November, rather than if the race will be a target.

“We had to be sure the stand wouldn’t be a problem and so far, so good,” he said.

Leap To Fame also needed to step away safely in the Flashing Red to be eligible for the $100,000 Group 2 Redcliffe Cup on June 29.

That’s now a lock.

And, in even better news for Redcliffe officials, Dixon is seriously considering taking Leap To Fame to the track for a lead-up run the week before the Cup.

“Yes, the Patrons Purse is a race he won last year and it’s on eight days before the Cup,” he said.

“I think we’ll give him another run before the Cup, so it’ll either be in the Patrons Purse or a free-for-all at Albion Park the night after (June 22).”



Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 7:02 PM


D: Grant Dixon
D: Kelli Dawson
D: Hayden Barnes

Beyond Redcliffe, Dixon said he would chase Albion Park’s Group 1 double – the $200,000 Sunshine Sprint (July 20) and $400,000 Blacks A Fake (July 27) – with Leap To Fame.

“That’s the plan, then he’ll have a few quiet days while we work out how we build-up to NZ if that’s the way we’re going,” he said.

“He won’t be going to the Len Smith Mile (Menangle, September 7), but the Victoria Cup (October 12 at Melton) is a chance.

“There’s a lot to work through with travel to NZ, when is the best time to go and whether we want to give him a lead-up over there or not.”

Leap To Fame’s older sibling, Swayzee, who won last year’s NZ Cup and upstaged Leap To Fame in the Blacks A Fake, looks primed for another big Queensland raid.

Swayzee made it two slick and impressive wins at Menangle this campaign when he cruised to victory last night.

His trainer Jason Grimson hasn’t ruled out returning for another tilt at the NZ Cup, but did say the Sydney Inter Dominion was his top priority this season.