RITZA Lenny burst into calculations for this year’s Group 2 Bob Payne Sprint Sprint (520m) with a dominant heat victory at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Jumping well from box six, the blue dog was able to work his way into second spot behind speedy front runner Magic Spring (box two) in the early stages before railing underneath the lamplighter heading down the back straight.
Once he hit the lead it was a case of times and margins, with the son of Barcia Bale and Lagoon Lowanna sprinting clear in the run to the line to score by a widening seven and one quarter lengths in a hot 29.60.
Magic Spring did well to hold onto second spot, with Lochinvar Dash (box seven) running a gallant race to finish third.
Trained by Mark Gatt, Ritza Lenny has now won 13 of his 26 starts with a further six minor placings, with Saturday’s victory being his first at Wentworth Park since scoring impressively in 29.80 when taking out a semi-final of the Group 1 Peter Mosman back in June.
Also qualifying for the $40,000 to the winner final was Ritza Lenny’s litter sister, Lagoon Jazzy, who ran second in the opening heat of the night behind Victorian sprinter Aqua Cheetah.
Trained by Sharron Webster, Lagoon Jazzy began beautifully from box eight and carved across to take a clear lead in the run around the first turn, however Aqua Cheetah also got a nice run in the early stages and was able to slot straight into second spot.
The pair went stride for stride coming off the back, but Aqua Cheetah proved too strong at the finish, with the red fawn dog striding to the post to record a one and one quarter length triumph in a handy 30.00.
Trained by Jason Thompson, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Dalta Bale has now won four of his past six starts and he looks set to play a part in the final if he can repeat his 29.90 personal best recorded at Wentworth Park late last year.
Thompson will have two runners in the feature next Saturday night, with the leading mentor also putting the polish on Buck Forty which finished eight and three quarter lengths second behind Brad Hill Billy in heat three.
Trained by Ray Smith, Brad Hill Billy was only fairly away from box two but was able to barge his way to the front along the inside of Compare (box one) down the back, kicking clear to defeat Buck Forty (box three) in a fast 29.70.
A model of consistency, the son of Kinloch Brae and Break Even took his career standings to 27 wins and 30 minor placings from 73 starts, while he will be looking for back to back wins in the feature next week, having won the 2015 Bob Payne Spring Sprint in a fast 29.84.
The remaining heat of the night went to in form sprinter Maja Mahi Mahi which was able to muster speed from box eight and cross the field in the run to the line on the first occasion. A runner-up in the Group 2 Black Top at The Gardens at her start prior to Saturday’s heat, the black bitch was never in danger once out in front, defeating Too Many Daddys (box one) by three and a half lengths in 30.00.
The final of the Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint will be run next Saturday night at Wentworth Park and is worth $40,000 to the winner.
Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint – box draw
Box One – Lagoon Jazzy
Box Two – Magic Spring
Box Three – Brad Hill Billy
Box Four – Too Many Daddys
Box Five – Ritza Lenny
Box Six – Buck Forty
Box Seven – Maja Mahi Mahi
Box Eight – Aqua Cheetah
1st Res – Lochinvar Dash
2nd Res – Berzerk