On a wet Wentworth Park circuit last night, four sensational heats of the Group Three John Stollery Christmas Gift were conducted over 520 metres.
Rue De Kahn started as the $2.20 favourite in heat one after returning to the winner’s circle at Gosford last week, clocking an impressive time of 29.74. Exiting from box one, the Dean Swain trained chaser got away well, however had to settle for second place with Zipping Angel simply brilliant from box three. Effectively leading all the way in a solid time of 29.95, the daughter of Dyna Lachlan and Agent Gibbs scored by three and a half lengths at the finish, with the performance assured to please astute trainer Jason Mackay. Zipping Angel recorded her seventh career win last night from start number twenty, and is another regally bred prodigy of illustrious owners Martin and Fiona Hallinan.
All eyes were on the undisputed queen of Wentworth Park Zipping Willow in heat two, heavily supported by punters at just $1.30. The daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass was looking to secure win number twenty at the track and did so in style, stepping brilliantly from box one and recorded a fast time of 29.78.
Notching up her thirty third-career win from just forty-nine starts, Zipping Willow gave her owner’s Martin and Fiona Hallinan and trainer Jason Mackay a successful running double. Anthony Azzopardi’s Zipping Tank was gallant in defeat, after suffering several checks heading into the first turn, finishing eight and three quarter lengths behind the winner. The son of Azzopardi’s Group One winning chaser Smooth Fancy and Navigator Miss has a genuine chance in next week’s final after coming up with a favourable box three draw.
Group One National Sprint Champion Chica Destacada was attempting to overcome a difficult box five draw in heat three last night, with punters confident in her ability, starting at short odds of $2.80. Jumping brilliant from the middle alley, the Doreen Drynan trained greyhound gapped her rivals by seven and a quarter lengths in a best of the night performance of 29.77. The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Eluthra recorded her first victory at Wentworth Park, since taking out the NSW Sprint Championship Final back in August. Notching up career win number thirteen, her trainer will undoubtedly be ecstatic after coming up with box one for next week’s final. Outsider Peter’s Pick made up a stack of ground from box six and is deserved of his place in the final for trainer John Callaughan.
The fourth and final heat saw a few greyhounds well supported by punters, with Neville Brown’s King Cobber made the $3.10 favourite over Group One Vic Peters winner Bessy Boo, who started at $3.70. Craig Chappelow’s Jumble was best away from box five, with Jodie Lord’s Cawbourne Kayono taking full advantage of a beautiful rails run, to position himself nicely behind the early leader. Heading for home, Cawbourne Kayono again stuck to the rails and pulled away at the finish to salute by two lengths in a time of 30.09. Jumble was brave in defeat and held on for second, with box greyhounds defying the odds and securing a spot in next week’s final.
Group Three John Stollery Christmas Gift Final – $25,000 to the winner
1 – Chica Destacada – Doreen Drynan
2 – Peter’s Pick – John Callaughan
3 – Zipping Angel – Jason Mackay
4 – Jumble – Craig Chappelow
5 – Rue De Kahn – Dean Swain
6 – Zipping Willow – Jason Mackay
7 – Zipping Tank – Anthony Azzopardi
8 – Cawbourne Kayono – Jodie Lord
9 – Cawbourne Cobra – Jodie Lord
10 – To A Tee – Harry Sarkis