No, it is not Niatross breaking Steady Star's world record in a time trial, but we can't let Smoken Up's 1:48.5 (time revised) at Tabcorp Park Menangle go without mention, being the first pacer in the Southern Hemisphere go break the magical 1:50 mark. To see the race, click on this link (WMV) which comes to us courtesy of Harness Racing Australia. From what is reported, the track conditions were not optimal. The fractions for the race were :25.7 :56.1 1:23.7 1:48.5, with the individual fractions :25.7, :27.4, :27.6, :27.9. Congratulations to trainer/driver Lance Justice.
Something interesting happened in this race. When Lance Justice took Smoken Up to the rail, he apparently crowded Mr Feelgood and received an eight day suspension after the race but the horse remained up. If this happened in North America, Smoken Up would have likely been disqualified for interference. Which way is the fairest way to handle it for the gambler? An argument can be made either way.
Traditionally in North America, you get disqualified for interference, no if and or buts; none of this did it change the outcome of the race. The runners, make a disqualification only if it impacts the outcome of the race which apparently is the way they did it in Australia.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.