Leap To Fame being driven by Grant Dixon.
The champion pacer in Queensland? Certainly.
The leading harness horse in Australia? Most likely.
The best standardbred in the world? Maybe so.
The Sunshine State’s pin-up horse Leap To Fame is creating waves around the globe ahead of what is set to be a massive 2023 campaign for the reigning Horse of the Year in Queensland.
Following Leap To Fame’s most recent stunning victory at Redcliffe in the Group 3 Patron’s Purse, there were calls from far and wide that Grant Dixon may just have the best harness horse in the world at his Tamborine stable.
Administrator Greg Gangle declared “he’s the best in the world right now” about Leap To Fame and the voice of harness racing in Queensland Chris Barsby has followed in the same chorus.
Ahead of Leap To Fame’s tilt at the Group 1 The Rising Sun this Saturday night, the champion horseman is hoping those bold claims about his colt are proven to be true by the end of the year.
“I think they have all gone off a bit early,” Dixon said when he was asked if he agreed with the claims that he was training the best pacer in the world.
“But, it is obviously nice to hear those comments and hopefully they are all correct.”
The powerful colt walks around his home stable with serious ‘swagger’, Dixon says.
It is set to be a jam-packed year of feature racing for Dixon and his emerging superstar.
The trainer and driver is mulling over heading to the Sunshine Sprint following The Rising Sun.
Leap To Fame being driven by Grant Dixon.
And, from there, his likely path is the $400,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park to headline the 2023 Constellations Carnival before turning the focus to the inaugural $2.1 million Eureka at Menangle on September 2.
With the Inter Dominion series at Albion Park in December, there is another sizeable carrot for the team to chase.
The 20-time career winner from just 26 career starts is raced by prominent owners and breeders Kevin and Kay Seymour.
Like retired champion Blacks A Fake did on the national stage for the Queensland code, the Seymours also want to use their record-breaking colt to promote the game.
“We’re unashamedly proud Queenslanders and just as Blacks A Fake did amazing things to promote Queensland, we hope and want Leap To Fame to do the same,” Kevin told News Corp this week.
“We’ve been in the game 51 years and he’s the horse we’ve been dreaming about.”
He is the horse the Seymours have been dreaming about for half a century while Dixon – who picked him out at the sales – says the colt is a standardbred that he has worked his entire life to find.
“We have been a little bit protective in what we have raced in,” Dixon said.
“He has got to race the big boys soon and that will be the true test for him.
“I have probably worked all my life for this horse and he gives you a great feel in the way that he gets over the ground.
“He has got the racing manners to match, he is probably everything you wish for in a horse.”
Kevin is of the belief that Leap To Fame is the greatest Queensland pacer since the retired champion Blacks A Fake.
Blacks A Fake was a four-time Inter Dominion king, being the only pacer ever to do so, and now has Queensland’s only Grant Circuit race named after him – which Leap To Fame is aiming to win later this year.
Blacks A Fake provided the sport in the Sunshine State with rare general public cut through that is often difficult to come by for harness racing.
The sport’s current administrator’s hope Leap To Fame can also provide the same.
“To have one of the best in our own back yard is great,” Racing Queensland’s Senior Harness Racing Manager David Brick said.
“It is 10 or 15 years ago that we had Blacks A Fake in our own back yard and it is great to have another one that is starting to build that kind of profile.
“I am looking forward to seeing his story to continue to develop.”
Leap To Fame with Trista and Grant Dixon.
He tackles The Rising Sun – an event for three and four-year-olds – this week before the bar is likely to be lifted through the carnival.
“I think by plenty he is starting to develop a name certainly as the best horse in Australia,” Brick said.
“Some have even gone on to say he could be the best horse in the world, time will tell on that front.
“He is certainly one of the best to ever come out of Queensland seeing as he is already a three-time Derby winner.”
When planning the star pacer’s campaign, Dixon notes that the inaugural $2.1 million Eureka at Menangle on September 2 is his ‘big goal’ and ‘main focus’ for the year.
Then, the Inter Dominion on his home track, which is an attractive prospect, the trainer and driver believes.
“It certainly makes it easier for us to be able to prepare him at home and not have to travel him,” Dixon said.
“It makes it a lot easier with the kids and everything, not having to manage everything else.”
From gate seven, Leap To Fame is an $1.45 shot in Saturday’s The Rising Sun.
By Jordan Gerrans