WITH plans to campaign Tornado Valley in New Zealand scrapped, next month’s Australasian Trotting Champion has become the gelding’s primary target.
Winner of his last four starts, including the Group One Grand Prix, Tornado Valley was being aimed at the ANZAC Cup and Rowe Memorial in Auckland.
Having given the trip across the Tasman further consideration, trainer Andy Gath has elected to set the son of Skyvalley for local races.
“I was looking to take him to New Zealand, but he’s not going,” Gath said. “I just felt going right handed may not suit him as he’d need a few runs to get used to it before the main races, which he wouldn’t have time to do.
“So he will stay here and I’ll keep finding races as we head towards the Australasian Trotting Champion on May 26.”
As such, Tornado Valley will contest Friday night’s Coulter Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton.
To be driven by Gath’s reinswoman-wife, Kate, the six-year-old will begin from a 20-metre back mark, which he shares with Sky Petite.
“He’s racing in great form, but it is never easy coming off handicaps,” Gath said. “He is outside the draw in stands because he missed away in the first start I gave him, but in New Zealand he was good, so I don’t think it will be an issue.”