The Bathurst Soldiers Saddle semi-finals produced some spectacular performances and times on Monday afternoon and next week’s final will be one worth watching. Molong trainer Toby Weekes has qualified three runners into the final, including Soviet Missile, who was the fastest semi-final winner.
Von Ryan (Box 1) started the favourite in the first heat but it was Fancy Rhythm (Box 7) and Bella Senora (Box 6) who were first into the turn. Fancy Rhythm showed great tenacity to lead out of the turn after suffering some mild interference with Bella Senora. Once he hit the lead, Fancy Rhythm finished strongly in 30.44, winning by three and three quarter lengths. Von Ryan overcame a slow start to hunt up along the rails and then head to the outside to get past Bella Senora to book a spot in the final.
Soviet Missile went to the boxes as the short priced $1.70 favourite and he didn’t disappoint the punters. He scorched around the Bathurst circuit in 29.63, leading from go to whoa and running smart sectionals across the board. Soviet Missile won by nine lengths and will go into the final as one of the favourites. The other dog joining him in the final from this semi is Devine Awe (Box 5). The strikingly marked black and white dog by Lochinvar Marlow ex. Devine Style was much improved after his first look at the track last week and showed enough early zip to stay with Soviet Missile into the first turn. Once he settled, no other dog made ground on him and the performance would have pleased trainer Patrick Parrelli.
Toby Weekes quickly got his second winner of the meeting when Crackin Sort (Box 8) gave nothing a chance in the third heat. The $2.00 favourite showed superior early speed to cross the field easily from out wide and romped home a seven length winner. Zipping Genie (Box 7) also cleared out from the rest of the chasers to secure second spot and a place in the final.
In the final heat the David Pringle trained reserve runner Jack’s Joker (9) got a run from Box 5. He produced a well rounded effort to win the heat easily in 29.94. The Collision dog is out of the unraced, but superbly bred, Lachlan’s Gift. Lachlan’s Gift is the sister to Kiacatoo Pearl, who produced the current Bathurst 520 metre track Buck Fever, 2011 Dapto Maiden Classic winner Gundabooka and Coonamble Maiden Final winner Moonshine Sally. The leggy black dog could only manage sixth in the heats but he did everything right in this race and even scored the strongest run home time of all the semi winners. Toby Weekes finished off a great showing when his third runner, Bollee Boy (Box 7) ran into second position, beaten five and a half lengths. He is a litter brother to Crackin Sort.
The greyhounds who will appear in the final, in order of semi-final times, are Soviet Missile, Jack’s Joker, Devine Awe, Crackin Sort, Bollee Boy, Fancy Rhythm, Zipping Genie and Von Ryan. The reserves are likely to be Cheeky Grant and Peta Pitstop. As always, the box draw will be all important in determining who will take out the $10,000 winners purse.