JOYANNA stepped out of the shadow of his superstar litter brother Ritza Lenny with a sensational victory in a semi-final of the Group 2 Richmond Riches (535m) on Saturday night.
Beginning evenly from box one, the son of Barcia Bale and Lagoon Lowanna was able to use the rails draw to perfection, barging up along the fence in the run around the first turn to assume the lead and kick clear.
Once out in front the blue dog was never in danger of being beaten, striding to the line to score by a widening eight lengths in a sizzling 30.31.
Trained at Grafton by John Antonelli, the 36.7kg heavyweight went into the race with just one win from six starts, a 30.81 success over the track and trip on May 4, with a further three minor placings, but will now be one of the fancied picks in next week’s $100,000 to the winner final following Saturday’s win.
One of the favourites to take out the entire series, Thirty Talks, stepped out in the second of four semi-finals and didn’t disappoint, overcoming a slow beginning to drive up behind the leader, Paua To Avoid, around the first turn.
Once into a clear second, the brindle dog slipped into another gear, circling around the lamplighter around the home turn before sprinting away, crossing the line three and a half lengths ahead of the fast finishing Struggle Street in a fast 30.37.
Ritza Lenny was sent to the boxes as the dominant favourite in semi final four following a slashing 30.32 win in his heat the week prior, but the Mark Gatt-prepared sprinter was caught off the track in the early stages.
Taking full advantage of the favourite’s misfortune was the classy Vidi Vici off box two which pinged the lids and went straight to an early lead.
Despite taking a stack of ground off the front runner throughout the race, Ritza Lenny was unable to get to the front in time, with Vidi Vici holding off a late challenge to score by three quarters of a length in 30.71.
The other semi saw Unique Gatsy and Brock On start as the equal favourites from boxes one and four respectively, with the latter doing the better for trainer Vince Bennett. Although only stepping fairly, the son of Collision and Marley’s Memory was able to push up on the inside of Kay Dee Em around the first turn to take the lead.
On the bunny it was a case of times and margins, with the blue dog striding to the line to win by three and three quarter lengths in 30.66, bringing up his seventh career win at start 20.
The Group 2 Richmond Riches final will be run next Saturday night at Richmond and is worth $100,000 to the winner.
Group 2 Richmond Riches – box draw
Box 1 – Struggle Street
Box 2 – Thirty Talks
Box 3 – Unique Gatsby
Box 4 – Joyanna
Box 5 – Brock On
Box 6 – Megaladon
Box 7 – Ritza Lenny
Box 8 – Vidi Vici
1st Res – Paua To Avoid
2nd Res – Blinky’s Idol