ANOTHER of the Melbourne Inter Dominion champions will be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with the running of the Young Pedro Free-For-All.
One of the lesser-known winners of the time-honoured series, Young Pedro captured the feature at the Ascot Vale Showgrounds in 1959 in what was the 18th running of the Trans Tasman event.
Owned, trained and driven by South Australian Leo Hunt, Young Pedro became just the second four-year-old to secure the Championship, following Springfield Globe’s triumph in Launceston 20 years earlier.
Foaled in 1954, the chestnut colt was by Van Derby from Pedro’s Salute by Pedro Pronto from Royal Salute by Royal Lulu.
Fifth in his opening heat won by Dusty Miller, Young Pedro was then successful on the second night before running third behind Caduceus in his third qualifier.
Caduceus and Dusty Miller were the only unbeaten performers during the heats.
The rank outsider at 33/1 in the 12,000 pound Final over 14 furlongs (2800 metres), Young Pedro began well from the front line to settle in the coveted one-one as Dusty Miller led.
Angled into the clear on the last bend, Young Pedro dashed past the pacemaker at the top of the straight before scoring by three yards from Dusty Miller, which was second favourite at 9/2.
Billabong Scott, which also won a second round heat, was two yards away third at 25/1.
Caduceus, a 6/4 favourite despite his 36-yard handicap, could only manage fifth.
Young Pedro rated 2:11.8 in front of a crowd of 30,153, which was considered disappointing due to “bad weather conditions”.
Overall, the four-night series attracted 92,042 patrons.
Young Pedro’s triumph rounded out a hat-trick for South Australia, with Radiant Venture winning in Perth in 1957 and Free Hall in Adelaide in 1958.
Young Pedro was also victorious in the 1959 South Australia Cup with Hunt in the sulky.
As for this week’s race in Young Pedro’s honour, a small field of six will contest the 1720-metre event, with star mare Ameretto a $1.50 favourite despite drawing the outside of the front row.
The Kerryn Manning-trained daughter of Million Dollar Cam has won her last two starts – the Group One Queen Of The Pacific and the Golden Reign Free-For-All, which is also part of the Inter Dominion winners’ feature circuit.
“She seems really good, been working well and has taken no harm from a couple of solid runs,” Manning said. “It’s a bit tricky drawing outside all the others over a short trip, so she’ll need the speed to be on.
“If there is a bit of early pace she should get her chance to win, but if they go slow it will make them hard to get past.”