Kiwi champion Tony Herlihy believes Bolt For Brilliance is the horse that will bring him his fifth Inter Dominion grand final victory.
Despite all the health issues over the past two weeks, Herlihy is making no excuses for Australian fans who won’t see the best of his superstar trotter over the next two weeks.
Winning the Trotting Grand Final on December 10 will be Herlihy’s first win in an Inter Dominion decider since Delft won at Moonee Valley in 2006.
Mark Purdon holds the record for seven Grand Final wins, while Brian Hancock and Natalie Rasmussen are tied for second out of five wins.
Herlihys is one of only three riders – Anthony Butt and Doody Townley to name a few – with four Grand Final victories.
Even though Bolt For Brilliance’s recent decline in health has robbed it of its luster, it remains the favorite for the $2.80 buy-in final.
The biggest push for him comes from Herlihy claiming he’s as good as the former Inter Dominion champions he’s won Pride Of Petite and Buster Hanover.
“At his best, I think he is there for them. He is a really good trotter and hopefully we will be able to show him to everyone over the next two weeks,” Herlihy said.
But Bolt For Brilliance’s Inter Dominion raid looked in tatters a couple of weeks ago when he fared far below his best during Christchurch’s huge Cup Week and came to a halt with junk in his lungs.
“We cured him right here and now, abandoned the big race we went there for, and returned to Oakland to give him every chance to bounce back for this ride,” Herlihy said.
“If we saw one thing or one reason not to take him (to Victoria), we would pull the pin, but he was great. All the tests we did were fine and he worked well again.
“He got here on Wednesday and we’re looking forward to doing it now.”
So, how close is Bolt For Brilliance to its pinnacle in Saturday’s first encounter with Australian star and likely leader Majestuoso?
“Closer than you think,” Herlihy said.
“He didn’t miss a lot of work and we were able to sharpen him at home before he came into the picture. He’s ready to go this week but has to continue working on the series,” Herlihy said.
* Adam Hamilton is a paid sled racing writer for News Corp.
Originally published as Seatbelt Racing: Bolt For Brilliance Fully Recovered From Inter Dominion Tilt