Track records fell and bonus’ were earnt at Cambridge Raceway on Tuesday night with the inaugural running of the Melbourne Cup Day 2 Mile Handicap Pace and Trot (3200m) races.
Group One winner and Inter Dominion hopeful Temporale lowered the previous track record by more than three seconds when he won the trot in 4.05.8, while eight-win gelding Comic Book Hero set a new mark of 4.04.6 in the pacers race.
With their respective times, the pair earnt their connections a $2,500 bonus, and it was a great surprise for Comic Book Hero’s trainer Ray Darby.
“I didn’t realise we were up for that. It was a very nice surprise,” he said.
Comic Book Hero had finished ninth in his previous two runs at Alexandra Park, but that didn’t faze Darby who thought they were better runs than the result showed.
“His last two runs had been good, circumstances just went against him,” he said.
“You see two nines by his name, but the first one was over a mile and he ran 1.56.3, which is the best mile time he has run.
“The other night he got three back on the fence and didn’t get a real run at them at all.
“Whereas on Tuesday night he made the pace himself to start with, then they quickened up in the middle stages and his staying ability just came to the fore.
“I thought he got the best run of the race, there’s no doubt about that.”
While the Tony Herlihy-trained Temporale will be vying for one of the most coveted prizes in Australasian harness racing next month, Comic Book Hero will be competing for accolades on a different surface.
The eight-year-old gelding has a penchant for grass tracks, having won several cups last season, and Darby said that was a leading factor towards contesting the two mile distance for the first time on Tuesday.
“He won two grass cups last season, the Te Aroha (2200m) and Rotorua (2600m) Cups. Both times he was finishing over the top of them,” Darby said.
“Because of his record on grass tracks I thought he was ideally suited to the two miles.
“We will definitely have a go at the grass track circuit this season if he is still up and running well.”
Darby was delighted to see a two mile race on offer and the Patumahoe trainer believes the distance should be a regular occurrence in race programmes in the future. – Cambridge Raceway
Race Replay: MELBOURNE CUP DAY 2 MILE HANDICAP TROT
Race Replay: MELBOURNE CUP DAY 2 MILE HANDICAP PACE