Zav­it­sanos chases In­ters suc­cess

Herald Sun - - INTER DOMINION 2018 - MICHAEL HOWARD

DANNY Zav­it­sanos “got the bug” a lit­tle less than 10 years ago and it has evolved into an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for Group 1 suc­cess that could have its great­est pay­day at Tab­corp Park Mel­ton next Satur­day.

The Gee­long busi­ness­man and trots owner’s sta­ble of tal­ented horses has quickly ex­panded and it has been a year of suc­cess from trot­ter En­hance Your Calm’s $125,000 vic­tory in New Zealand’s twoyear-old Ruby to Cruz Brom- ac’s $100,000 Len Smith Mile win.

But it’s Cruz Bro­mac, who Zav­it­sanos and wife Joanna bought with a syn­di­cate of five in March, that could pro­vide the great­est prize in Aus­tralasian har­ness rac­ing — the TAB In­ter Do­min­ion.

“He is a re­ally nice horse, the All Stars have done a re­ally nice job with him,” Zav­it­sanos said of famed co- train­ers Mark Pur­don and Natalie Ras­mussen.

Ras­mussen steered the sta­ble’s Cruz Bro­mac and Spankem to four bold ID18 per­for­mances, in­clud­ing three vic­to­ries in four heats.

So dom­i­nant were the pair they shared series favouritism, an ex­cit­ing but heavy crown with so much rac­ing left be­tween Cran­bourne tonight and the grand fi­nal next Satur­day.

“I don’t re­ally get in­volved in who’s favourite, I just hope he runs a good race for us,” Zav­it­sanos said.

“It feels good. I was over in Perth last year. I had some horses who were only go­ing through their grades there, it was a good ex­pe­ri­ence, but now that we’re back here at the home of the trots it’s fan­tas­tic.

“I think the fi­nal will be won with the bar­rier draw; who has the right luck at the right time. I just hope it’s me.”

Ras­mussen has been flaw­less to date, driv­ing with a per­fectly-timed ag­gres­sion to give her horse the best chance of win­ning without tax­ing them in a war of at­tri­tion.

“I was just rapt with him,” she said af­ter Cruz Bro­mac’s Bal­larat heat win on Tues­day. “It wasn’t a gut buster for him, which I was re­ally pleased with, it was just a nice run.

“He’s a bit of a highly strung old fella, but if you can just keep him calm — I’m stay­ing out with Clin­ton and Sarah Welsh (in Mel­ton) and it’s re­ally quiet and lovely and the horses have just set­tled in beau­ti­fully. Just rapt.”

It cre­ates a de­light­ful dilemma that Ras­mussen will con­sider af­ter tonight’s fi­nal heats — whether she steers Cruz Bro­mac or Spankem in the fi­nal, with Pur­don likely to ven­ture across the Tas­man to take the reins of the other. “Mark and I will just sit down and work it out,” she said.

Danny Zav­it­sanos (right) with trainer-driver Natalie Ras­mussen af­ter Cruz Bro­mac’s heat one win. Pic­ture: STU­ART MCCORMICK

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