HE MAY be going in as one of the longer shots, but pacer Ripp has already made history.
The gelding has been officially named a runner in the inaugural TAB Eureka, the world's richest harness race, and will join nine of Australia's best three and four-year-old pacers in the first ever running of the $2.1 million event.
And driver Doug Hewitt - who has a very busy schedule between the horses, competing in the Peter McDonald Premiership semi-finals for Bathurst Panthers and enjoying the early stages of fatherhood to his daughter Tilly - is looking forward to being part of a race that will go down in the history books, no matter the result.
"At the moment we've been labelled as a bit of an underdog and we're pretty far out in the market, but that doesn't phase us one bit," Hewitt said.
"It takes the pressure off and we know we have a horse that can finish well."
The event is being run as a slot race, which is also a first for harness racing in Australia.
When the Eureka was first announced, people purchased slots and could allocate a horse of their choosing.
Bathurst locals, and owners of Ripp, Wayne and Julie Loader, secured a slot early on with the hopes of seeing their gelding compete in the highly anticipated event.
However, the gelding struck a bout of bad luck and fractured his splint bone in April, putting a big question mark on his chances of competing in the Eureka.
And being an event for three and four-year-old horses, missing this year would mean the four-year-old gelding wouldn't get the chance again to participate.
"When they first announced [the race] and people started buying slots, Ripp was always the first option [for Wayne and Julie]," Hewitt said.
"Then after the setback it was pretty much open book, it was going to take a long time to get Ripp back to be 100 percent right before we said it was going to be him.
"Now he's made his way back to the track bigger and better than ever and we've locked him in."
Ripp is engaged to race at Club Menangle on Saturday night, August 19, which will be his final race in the lead up to the Eureka.
It will also be the start of a big weekend for Hewitt, who is expected to run onto the field at Carrington Park this Sunday, helping Bathurst Panthers secure a spot in the Peter McDonald Premiership grand final.
The inaugural running of the Tab Eureka will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday, September 2, in what is expected to be a fantastic night on and off the racetrack.