Date with destiny
By GREG WHITE
PLANS for the much-anticipated match race between Takeover Target and Natural Destiny get closer to reality with Racing New South Wales general manager (Commercial and Racing) Greg Rudolph giving his tick of approval.
"It's a worthwhile proposition and one that could generate plenty of interest," he said.
"Two top sprinters showcased against each other would be a shot in the arm for the industry leading into the rescheduled return of racing to Sydney in December."
Not to mention the spotlight it will shine on the thriving racing industry in Coffs Harbour.
Racing Club CEO Russ Atkinson is thrilled his bright idea has captured public imagination and momentum is building towards 'Takeover's date with Destiny', November 10.
"That will be a TAB meeting and final approval will mean an actual time for the race and all the trimmings that go with it," he said.
Proposed betting options should include win and order-of-finish (quinella/exacta) and possibly times, margins and other Sports Bet activities.
"The race is planned for 1200 metres under handicap, rather than weight-for-age conditions," Atkinson advised.
"On his record Takeover Target is likely to be allocated 58kg with Natural Destiny receiving 4kg less.
"Then, once the trainers have signed off their horses are race fit, the race will be on."
A purse of around $300,000 to the victor has been mentioned with the owners possibly contributing a component and sponsorship topping up the remainder.
But for two great racehorses destined to be deadly rivals on the track, how do they get on away from it?
Thoroughbreds, especially those with championship qualities, are notorious for their intolerance to those they consider inferior to themselves, both equine and human.
"Actually, they are great mates and got on well with each other when we put them in special stabling under the grandstand when the quarantine was established," Atkinson said.
"The relationship between Joe Janiak and Takeover Target he's more like a pet has been seen all over the world and believe it or not, 'Natural' also loves Joe.
"Whenever Joe walks past his box he goes trotting over to him for attention."
Yorke and Natural Destiny's mutual affection and mateship is also legendary with the great grey horse following his trainer around the stables like a faithful puppy.
"These animals are pretty special," Atkinson said.
"When they meet in the match race next month it will be a thriller."