Victorian champion Tornado Tears is $1.65 with TAB to make it third time lucky in a Western Australian feature final in Saturday night’s Group 3 The Miata (715m) at Cannington.
Tornado Tears broke the Cannington track record in a heat of the Group 1 Galaxy last March before finishing runner-up in the final, while he also had to settle for second prize in the Group 1 National Distance Championship in August.
“He was unlucky in both those races; his runs were full of merit,” said master trainer Robert Britton.
The son of the great Fernando Bale returned to Perth for last weekend’s heats of The Miata, where he stifled betting on the first of two run-offs, starting at $1.10 in a four-stayer field.
But the long odds-on favourite received a massive scare from up-and-coming local Flake Monelli, which led until the shadows of the post before Tornado Tears dragged himself off the canvas to score by one length in 41.78s.
While Tornado Tears struggled to reel in Flake Monelli and his winning time was more than half a second – more than seven lengths – outside his 41.25s course record, Britton says the performance was better than it may have appeared at first glance.
“He got the job done,” Britton said matter-of-factly.
“He’s probably not going as well as he was but when you look at his time, it was the third or fastest time ever over 715m so it wasn’t as bad as it might have looked.
“I’ve been told that the only dog to run a faster time is himself!
“The difference is that he was winning 80 per cent of his races and now he’s winning 40 per cent.
“If you had a kennel full of dogs winning 40 per cent of the time you’d be very happy but he’s just set the bar so high for himself.”
Tornado Tears will once again have to overcome box four in the $25,000 to-the-winner final, this time against a full field, including Britton’s former Group 1 winner Barcali ($12), now trained in WA, with Britton ruing a surprisingly poor run of draws.
“He’s only drawn box one once in his 56 starts aside from Speed Star series, which are only two-dog races, and that was at his 13th start,” said Britton.
“He’s got another middle box on Saturday, which doesn’t help, but he should strip a bit fitter.
“There’s a bit of pace in this race and he’ll probably get back and have to work his way through. We’ll just have to see what happens.
“The young pup (Flake Monelli) seems to go alright and Barcali’s heat run was really good. He’s lost his early dash as a result of dropped back muscles but when he winds up he’s still going as well as ever and it would be good to see him finish in the money.”
Tornado Tears will return home after The Miata to tackle the fast-approaching Australian Cup Carnival, with Britton saying there are no plans to retire the five-time Group 1 winner.
“I haven’t got anything to replace him with!” he laughed.