FEATURE RACE COMMENT
Tax Credit, originally balloted out in the New Zealand Cup, then wiped out at the start after getting back into the field, silenced his knockers by brilliantly nosing out his illustrious stablemate Luxury Liner in the $100,000 Air New Zealand Free-For-All.
The son of the Scotland-line American stallion Sir Dalrae started at 56-to-1 - false odds considering there was an excuse for the only real lapse in his lead-up form. Sir Dalrae was also responsible for the 50-to-1 winner on Cup Day - the Waikouaiti trotter, Francis Dalrae. Coincidentally, Tax Credit is raced by Colin and Mrs Pat Harvey, of Dunedin, and Francis Dalrae was formerly trained and is regularly driven by another Dunedinite, Alec Hastie, from whom Harvey took over his current bread delivery contract.
First leasing and then purchasing Tax Credit from Otama breeder Colin Baynes, Harvey trained him for his first six wins and then entrusted him to the Purdons. Right through, the big gelding's form has been solid, and his win on Friday took his career record to 13 victories, four seconds and four thirds from 36 starts for $198,515.
The Cup Day disaster began when, just prior to the start, he had to have his sulky changed. It stirred him up, and when the tapes were released he swung sideways and ruined whatever chance he had, finishing last. Before and after that episode Tax Credit worked brilliantly, and after Mark Purdon speared him into the early lead he was able to enjoy a perfect trail from the point where Luxury Liner moved past him to take over ending the first 600m. Tony Herlihy dictated the play from there, turning a solid pace into a torrid 56.6 sprint from the 800m. It was too much for thr opposition - except Tax Credit, who came off his back to grab him on the line.
Speedy Cheval followed his Cup third with another fine effort for a similar berth, a short length back, after being awkwardly placed five back on the rails until working out 600m from home. Maestro, who from his bad draw passed the stands with a round to go with only one behind him, was forced to race very wide outside Speedy Cheval's wheel to make his ground. Although two and a quarter lengths from third he again showed his class. An agitated Vin Knight insisted that had Maestro been given a fair go he would have won.
Colin Baynes, who was quick to congratulate the Harveys after the Free-For-All, is breeding from Tax Credit's dam, a Dancer George mare Taxi Dancer, who was injured as a youngster. Baynes who makes no secret of the fact that he let Tax Credit go to the Harveys "because we had too many three-year-olds and he was the worst mannered and wanted some individual attention," has a two-year-old brother by Surmo Hanover to Tax Credit named Star Credit and a yearling by Del Cavallo from the mare, who is in foal again.
Credit: Ron Bisman writing in HR Weekly