POPULAR driver Kate Gath grabbed a slice of history at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight.
By partnering Tornado Valley to glory in Trotters’ Inter Dominion, Gath became the first reinswoman to secure the prestigious series.
Returning after a six-year hiatus, the squaregaiters’ division was first conducted in 1948 but wasn’t raced on a regular basis until the mid 1980s.
Tornado Valley’s success came in the 43rd edition of the Championship.
“To win the Inter Dominion blows my mind,” Gath said. “It’s the race everyone wants to win and now I’ve won it.
“I can’t believe how lucky I am in my career to win the races I’ve won.
“Winning the Hunter Cup was a career highlight and this is just as good, if not better, because it’s the Inter Dominion.”
Surging Tornado Valley away from the mobile, Gath worked the gelding to the lead from barrier six as his main danger, Speeding Spur, settled on his back.
With Gath maintaining a steady tempo, Tornado Valley was forced to dig deep during the latter staged as $104 outsider got within a neck on the line.
Speeding Spur was eight-and-a-half metres away third in 1:59.5 over 2760 metres.
“I had to use him up a bit early to find the front and then to his credit he kept finding up the straight,” Gath said. “It got close at the finish, but thankfully he was able to hang on.”
Owned by Norm Jenkin, the son of Skyvalley is prepared by Gath’s husband-trainer, Andy.
For Andy the win is an overdue redemption for his 2002 Trotters’ Inter Dominion Final heartache.
After winning her two qualifiers with ease, the Gath-trained La Coocaracha was the $1.60 favourite at Harold Park only to finish second behind Game Bid after being caught three-wide for the majority of the race.
“To win a Trotters’ Inter Dominion is such a big thrill as I love trotters and they have been a big part of my stable,” Andy said.
“Kate drove him a treat tonight and he’s just done such a great job ever since we got him.
“He is unbeaten from seven starts this season and has just done a marvellous job.
“I will give him a short break now then get him going again for the main races in the New Year such as the Great Southern Star, Grand Prix and so on.”