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Drivers excited for third edition of TAB Trot Rods

It is fast, exciting and high octane racing – drivers cannot wait to get back to The Triangle for the third edition of TAB Trot Rods in 2022.

The first two heats for this year will be run at Redcliffe this Wednesday evening, with five more weeks of heats to follow over the unique 947-metre distance, which is one of the shortest distances raced over in harness racing across the globe.

The quickest time over the six weeks and 20 heats of racing will receive a $10,000 cash bonus and Otto Tuza three horse float.

The current leading reinsman in the Sunshine State – Nathan Dawson – looks forward to the “hot lap” period of the season every year.

Dawson’s cousin – Pete McMullen – claimed the 2021 Trots Rods prize with pacer Adam Crocker in the scintillating time of 63.8 seconds.

Dawson, who has already driven more than 70 winners this season, thinks the new and exciting format of racing in Queensland helps to bring more interest into the code.

“It is good for the industry, racing something like this over a shorter trip,” Dawson said.

“Hopefully racing like this, being different, brings new people into watching racing.

“It is exciting and fun being only one lap, there is not a lot of it around Australia, it is our own thing in Queensland.”

North Maclean-based trainer Graham Dwyer believes the extra speed in Trot Rods is exciting for punters and viewers.

“It is a new idea and there is no such thing as a bad idea, I think this is something that has worked in the past and it can only grow going forward,” Dwyer said.

“People are curious to see who can hold the lead and what sort of speed goes into the race.

“Speed is a very good thing to sell as people like to see things going fast and that is certainly what Trot Rods is.”

Driver Mathew Neilson, who will compete in Trot Rods for the first time this year, says Redcliffe’s Triangle track is a perfect venue for quick racing.

“You have to get them up and going, they need to be going quick, you cannot back them off,” Neilson said.

“The rails is the best place to be, that is always the shortest way around.

“Redcliffe is good, it is a front runners track, leaders usually dominate there.”

Neilson has two drives on Wednesday across the opening two heats. 

With the first two heats to be run on Wednesday evening, the 26-year-old Dawson has just the one drive, set to partner Downtown Lucca for trainer Allan Sanders in the second of the two heats. 

Downtown Lucca has been racing on the show circuit of late and Dawson is hopeful he can post a fast time with the gelding.

“He is coming back from a bit of a spell and he should be getting good with his fitness now,” Dawson said.

“He should have the speed there for it.

“I have had a few drives on him and have won on him before.

“With the draw of three, we have options to lead or sit behind the leader.”

In the same heat, Dwyer will present Left In The Wind, who will be driven by last years champion Trot Rods driver – “Leader Peter”.

“I think with the right run she could go ok,” Dwyer said of Left In The Wind.

“I am not sure if she has that high speed to take control of the race.

“Pete does very well in these sorts of things and we are hoping for the best.”

Left In The Wind will be competing in Trot Rods for the first time in her career this week while Dawson’s Downtown Lucca is a veteran of the series, set to be involved for the third straight year.

Dwyer has other pacers from his stable he will look to run in heats in the coming weeks.

The Triangle will host weekly heats each Wednesday, culminating in a finale night on Wednesday, May 25, which will be isolated to 10 Trot Rods races and showcased on SKY 2.

In 2022, a new ‘time to beat’ line – much like the swimming world record graphic – will also be introduced, enabling viewers to experience the thrill of the pursuit for the fastest series time. 

By Jordan Gerrans