Im On Target scores upset win
The John McCarthy-trained Im On Target emerged a contender for the $750,000 Inter Dominion Championship on March 3 when he scored an upset win in the Sydney Christmas Gift Final (1609m) at Menangle on Saturday night.
Six-year-old Im On Target ($15.90), driven by McCXarthy's son Luke, rated 1:54 in his gift final victory over Mantoman ($4.50) and solidily backed favourite No Mans Land ($3.20).
Im On Target is back to form he showed in wins at seven consecutive starts from last July 9 to September 22. His last six wins have been at Menangle, which is the Inter Dominion Championship's venue.
Our Sixpence and EE And EM Stride also shaped as feature events prospects when winning for John McCarthy at Menangle on Saturday night.
The trainer's youngest son Todd drove Our Sixpence ($1.80 favourite) when she ran on to win the 2300-metre Pace by a head in a 1:55.8 rate.
Six-year-old Our Sixpence, a winner of 21 races, is aimed at Menangle's $200,000 Ladyship Mile on March 3.
EE And EM Stride was a $2.40 favourite when Luke McCarthy drove him to win Saturday night's Alabar Stakes (1609m) by 5.2 metres with a 1:54 rate.
The colt, a Menangle winner at four of his past five starts, is in line to tackle Melbourne's $200,000 Victoria Derby on Ferbruary 2.
Meantime, Western Australian pacer Sneakyn Down Under staked a strong claim on a cups double next month when he rated 1:53.6 in leading all the way to win Friday night's Electrolux Pace (1700m) at Gloucester Park in Perth.
Trainer Darren Duffy has set him for the $400,000 SEW Eurodrive WA Pacing Cup (2506m) on January 11 and the $250,000 Yes Loans Fremantle Cup (2906m) a week later.
"Sneakyn Down Under has a high cruising speed," reinsman Morgan Woodley said. "He's showing a lot of class and can run big races in the cups."
The gelding, starting $1.50, won by 4.5 metres on Friday night from Can Return Fire, with Mysta Magical Mach in third place.
Busselton four-year-old Tuxedo Tour benefited from a change of training routine when winning on Friday night and he also looks set for success in carnival feature events.
Tuxedo Tour recorded six wins from 10 starts, but then his form levelled out and he did not win in seven appearances leading up to Friday night's victory.
The gelding, starting $5.80, raced outside leader Mr Nickel ($1.30) in Friday night's Nepean Conveyors third Heat (2100m) and dashed clear at the 300-metre post. He won by 11.5 metres from fast-finisher Tim Kelly and Countess Krista ran third. Mr Nickel faded badly in the run home.
Tuxedo Tour is trained by veteran Tom Marsden and his son Rodney drives the horse.
"We've lightened his training work-outs," Rodney Marsden said. "He seems to appreciate the change."
Im Elmer Fudd ($7.90) stepped up from country success to win lFriday night's Panasonic Pace (2506m) for reinsman Nathan Turvey.
The gelding, trained by Kim Young, won at Williams on December 9.
He fought off challenges when leading lon Friday night and went on to score by 2.5 metres.
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