What was shaping as one of the weakest New Zealand teams for a modern Inter Dominion has stunned their Australian rivals.

So much so that heading into today's all-important barrier draw in Melbourne the three-strong Kiwi pacing contingent hold the top three spots on the points table.

After plenty of big name New Zealand-trained horses pulled out of the series it looked likely a month ago that NZ Free-For-All winner Cruz Bromac may be the sole Kiwi rep in the series in Victoria.

He was surprisingly joined by four-year-olds Spankem and Pats Delight, for whom the series was almost an afterthought, yet the trio have dominated their heats.


Cruz Bromac jogged around Cranbourne to win his heat on Saturday night and remain unbeaten in the series, beating Pats Delight who lost few admirers finishing second after racing parked.

Spankem made it two wins from three heats and a massive second night third placing to finish second on the points table and leaving co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen with a choice to make as to who she drives in the final.

"Both Spankem and Cruz are flying and I can't believe how well they have handled the series," says Rasmussen, who trains the pair with partner Mark Purdon.

"So we will see how the draw goes on Monday morning and then I will have a talk to Mark to decide who drives who. But exactly who the best winning chance is might come down to where they draw."

Tiger Tara maintained his position as the leading Australian-trained hope with a tradesman-like heat win on Saturday without dazzling like the Kiwis, while others like San Carlo, Galactic Star and Wrappers Delight look place chances in the final but needing plenty of luck to win.

The draw for the A$500,000 final to be held over a 2760m mobile at Melton on Saturday will be held around 1pm (NZ time) today.

The A$150,000 trotting final increasingly looks a two-horse race after series favourites Tornado Valley and Speeding Spur both led most of the way to win their heats on Saturday.

But Tornado Valley has been so efficient during this series he is the $1.60 pre-draw favourite and will start even shorter if he draws inside Speeding Spur, particularly if he secures a handy front line spot.

Of the four New Zealand-trained trotters in the series three made the final, with Wilma's Mate and Monty Python also contesting Saturday classic over the same distance as the pacing final.