Five heats of the Group Two Laurie Healion Memorial Maiden were conducted in freezing conditions at The Gardens last night, with many youngsters making a good first impression on the race track.
Heat one went to local trainer Clifford Clark and Surfection, who exploded from box four and led throughout in a flying time of 29.68. The beautifully bred son of Surf Lorian and Teenage Dream was very impressive on debut, recording best of the night figures over the 515m. A sizzling first section of 4.93 will give connections plenty of confidence heading into next week’s semi-finals. Race favourite Cherokee Fiddle put in a brace effort to finish second and Invisible finished third, both moving through to next week.
Favourite backers were rewarded in heat two, with $2.80 favourite Best Honour getting the cash after a fierce battle with Zulu Onyx. Jumping smartly from box one, the Ronald Lambert trained chaser drew away at the finish to score by three and a half lengths in 30.43. Zulu Onyx finished second and Zipping Jacob wound up in third position.
In the third heat all eyes were on Jason Mackay’s only runner in the series Zipping Amelia, who started at $2.90 from box seven. After missing the start, the superbly bred daughter of Spring Gun and Agent Gibbs quickly crossed the field at the first turn to take the lead in the back straight. The 29kg chaser streaked away by four and three quarter lengths over second placegetter Effective Miss, clocking a fast run home of 12.25. Favourite runner Kiddie Cutts missed the start from the inside alley, however made up good ground to finish in third position.
Lochinvar Cobra was all the rage in heat four at $2.30 after a sensational performance trial, however after a slow start he found early trouble and was forced to the back of the field, finishing seventh overall. Devine Lad began best and led into the back straight, with Lightest Touch sitting right on his heels. The Robert Glover trained chaser shot past his rivals at the home turn to salute by five and a half lengths in a solid time of 29.98. Devine Lad held on to finish second for Pat Parrelli and Don’t Point finished third.
Luke Azzopardi’s runner Dragon Emgrand was made favourite in the final heat at $3.30, however failed to fire after a poor start and being squeezed out at the first turn. Outside runner Zulu Zenith began beautifully from box seven and lead all the way in time of 30.13. The impeccably bred son of Brett Lee and Fancy Mandy will give trainer Frank Sanotti plenty of confidence heading into next week. Bedlam Bridge for Christopher Carl finished second and Lika Jay Jay ran home for third.
Next week two semi-finals will be conducted, with the first four runners moving through to the Group Two $25,000 final.