The family of late Christchurch breeder Bob McArdle hope Cruz Bromac can honour his memory by winning the Inter Dominion Pacing Final at Melton on Saturday night.
The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained pacer enters the event as the top qualifier for the A$500,000 after three scintillating heat wins.
Cruz Bromac’s form this season has already shown that McArdle, who died in January, has left a legacy that will live on through the stock that he has bred for many years.
Some of McArdle’s family, including his wife Denese and daughter Lisa Fabri, will be on hand to cheer Cruz Bromac on when he starts second favourite for the 2760m feature.
Fabri said she was hoping the late breeding great will be looking down fondly on the horse he bred.
“We will certainly be proud if he wins, it is such a nice legacy for Dad.
“It has brought some smiles to our faces this year.
“We are meeting up with some friends of Dad’s, so it will be lovely.
“When we booked the trip, we didn’t know he would be in the final, but he is well and truly in it and we a very happy to be here.”
Cruz Bromac is by former sire Falcon Seelster, a stallion McArdle imported and was a huge advocate for.
Sentiment has led Natalie Rasmussen to drive Cruz Bromac over his stablemate, race favourite Spankem.
She told Australian media this week she had formed a special bond with Cruz Bromac during the Inter Dominions and did not want to break it.
“He is just a dear old horse.
“It was more probably a sentimental decision as opposed to which one I thought was a better chance.
“I felt I would let down if I didn’t stick with him.”
Cruz Bromac is unbeaten in five starts with Rasmussen in the sulky, including the Group 1 $200,000 New Zealand Free For All at Addington last month.
Drawing barrier two on the second row saw some form pundits say Cruz Bromac is at a disadvantage.
Rasmussen thinks quite differently.
“The draw I am wrapped with actually and I just think it gives me so many options.”
“I think the horse has a lot of strengths, so if they go quick it will suit, I will sit off them.”
“If they go slow I will get amongst them.”
Mark Purdon will attempt to win his third consecutive Interdominion Pacing Final as a trainer and driver with Spankem.
The four-year-old has been the break out performer of the series, with three stunning heat runs.
“He has just got better and better and I think he is in amazing form,” Rasmussen said.
Canterbury pacer Pat’s Delight will also represent New Zealand in the 2750m final.
Like Spankem, the Cran Dalgety-trained four-year-old has also thrived and performed beyond expectations in the series.
Dalgety has been outspoken in the Australian media this week about race tactics.
He has told several news outlets Pat’s Delight will be driven aggressively from barrier three.
Australian hopes in Saturday’s final largely rest with Galactic Star and Tiger Tara, who are both New Zealand-bred horses.
Galactic Star and driver Ryan Warwick can decide their own fate after drawing barrier one.
Proven warhorse Tiger Tara did not fare so well, drawing the outside of the mobile in barrier seven.
Australian trotter Tornado Valley and New Zealand representative Speeding Spur have dominated the Inter Dominion trotting series and that is set to continue in Saturday’s $A170,000 Final.
The race has set up for a fascinating tactical battle with Speeding Spur starting from barrier 1 and gate flyer Tornado Valley launching from barrier 6.
Oamaru trotter Monty Python will also represent New Zealand in Saturday’s final.