Seymours searching for ‘crowning glory’ in The Eureka

Just weeks after their Blacks A Fake heartbreak, Kevin Seymour has declared victory in the upcoming The Eureka would be the ‘crowning glory’ of his time in the sport if Leap To Fame can be the first pacer to win the world’s richest harness race.

The Queensland mega star of the track has long been locked into a slot for the first running of The Eureka, which will be held at Menangle on Saturday evening.

The Seymour clan – led by husband and wife owners Kevin and Kay – selected their quality colt to race in their own slot for the first running of the show-piece race.

The new race will be held for $2.1 million in prize money and will feature elite three and four-year-old Australian-bred standardbred pacers competing in an exciting 2400 metre “slot race” exclusive to 10 slot holders.

The bookmakers have Leap To Fame as the raging hot fancy to claim the event, judged as a $1.60 shot as of Tuesday afternoon.

Now into his early 80s and having been in the sport of harness racing for nearly six decades, Kevin says that if their powerful pacer was to claim glory on Saturday night, it would be the greatest achievement he and Kay have enjoyed in their tenure in the game.

The family have tasted Group 1 success on home soil and interstate on numerous occasions with the hundreds of standardbreds they have owned and bred but Kevin has declared this race would be a new frontier.

“The Eureka will be run over 2400 metres, which again will suit him,” Kevin said.

“Who knows what will be the outcome of The Eureka, but he will be in there fighting for first place.

“That would be the crowning glory for Kay and myself if he could win a $2 million race, the richest race in the world for harness racing.

“A race like this should be everyone’s ambition.”

Grant Dixon behind Leap To Fame in his most recent victory.

Leap To Fame’s Eureka plans became slightly disjointed at Albion Park on Blacks A Fake night last month.

The Grant Dixon-trained and driven four-year-old was sent out as a $1.40 favourite in the Sunshine State’s Grand Circuit event and was forced to settle for second position behind his older brother Swayzee.

Dixon’s sulky carried a flat tyre for the final 300 metres of the race, which played a role in the shock upset.

Despite the Blacks A Fake heartbreak for the Seymours and Dixon, the Eureka-bound star returned to the track with a strong victory on the first Saturday of August to prepare for his upcoming ‘grand final’ event in Sydney.

He scored by just over 10 metres as he looked right on track for The Eureka.

Leap To Fame was set to have a second run in Brisbane following that but the race did not eventuate.

While Leap To Fame was unable to grab Grand Circuit glory at his first attempt in the Blacks A Fake of 2023, Seymour thinks the way their colt’s runs have been spaced out will allow him to race on the big stage through his career.

Leap To Fame has only had 30 starts – 23 of which he has won – as a four-year-old.

“Grant wants to make sure he spaces out the races so he can protect him,” Seymour said.

“That is to make sure he has a horse for the Grand Circuit for the coming years.”

Leap To Fame arrived in Sydney on Sunday and will have the week to settle into the new surrounds.

Grant Dixon and his family with Kevin and Kay Seymour alongside Leap To Fame following the Sunshine Sprint earlier this year.

“Grant and Trista Dixon are really happy with how they have been able to attack this race,” leading harness commentator Chris Barsby said on Monday morning.

“He is going excellent. I think he is the best horse in Australia and I have been saying that for some time.

“I think Queensland will stand tall in this new race.”

Leap To Fame won the Sunshine Sprint over 1660 metres through the recent Brisbane winter carnival in commanding fashion.

And, while the pacer they call ‘Larry’ around the stables has won over the mile trip, Seymour believes the extra distance of races such as The Eureka and others will play right into his hands.

“His main aim has been to win the distance races, such as the Inter Dominion, the Hunter Cup and things of that nature,” Seymour said.

“He is a great stayer, you will only see the best of him in these staying races.”

The Hunter Cup is held over 2760 metres at Melton in Melbourne while the Inter Dominion Grand Final will be contested on Leap To Fame’s home track of Albion Park around the 2680 circuit in December of this year.

The $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup is also on his agenda with Leap To Fame, which will be run on October 14 at Melton.

Trainer and driver Dixon is happy with how his star colt has settled into NSW.

“He’s right where we want him,” Dixon told harness writer Adam Hamilton.

“Sure, we didn’t get that last lead-up race we hoped for at home, but he’s had a really good past week and it’s just a matter of keeping him ticking over until the race now.

“He won’t need any serious workouts or anything like that. He’s ready. It’s great for the sport that the race has brought together such a strong field and we know he’ll need to be at his very best.”

By Jordan Gerrans