Bathurst Greyhound Racing Club president Greg Hore believes this afternoon’s final of the Soldier’s Saddle is one of the most open in recent memory after the field was confirmed and the draw conducted at the conclusion of last week’s semi-finals.
Some of the pre-series favourites only just managed to scrape into the field but have drawn well, while some surprise winners through the preliminaries have also shown they have what it takes to win the prestigious event.
“Once again it should be a memorable race with a high-quality final field,” Hore said.
“But to be honest this is the most open Soldier’s Saddle I can remember.”
Two of the favourites before the series started in Spring Lee and Queen Rose will go from the outside half of the track for the 520m trip.
Carolyn Reinke-trained Spring Lee will jump from the extreme outside and will be desperate to improve on her disappointing showing in the semi-final when hammered by Ma Foo Foo.
Having broken the key 30-second barrier at the track she has the pace to win given her draw from box eight but she will need to improve.
Queen Rose drew box seven and though she has been another disappointment to date in the series, a blistering win in the opening round of the Potential Stakes at Wentworth Park on Friday night served notice that she is back nearing her best.
“She came into the series as one of the favourites but only scraped into the semis and then ran second in the slowest of the four races last Wednesday,” Hore said.
“But after what she did at Wentworth Park on Friday night she has to be a big chance.”
Londonderry trainer Kristy Sultana will have three starters in the final with Ma Foo Foo, Queen Rose and Hear Me Roar.
The two most impressive semi-final winners were easily Dana Beatrice and Forest Diamond, and the pair will battle it out for the lead early as they drew the two inside gates.
In the red rug from box one will be the Mark and Allen Wicks-trained bitch Forest Diamond, with the Rod McDonald bitch Dana Beatrice right alongside.
“Dana Beatrice has the pace to get across and lead but I’d expect from box one for Forest Diamond to flash home,” Hore said.
Completing the field are Hear Me Roar (box three), Ma Foo Foo (box six), Pure Light (box five) and Spring Creek (box four).
The two slickest third placegetters from the semis were Lilly Lagoon and Agent Gibbs.
The Soldier’s Saddle final will take place this evening at 5.57pm as part of a big 10-race program.
Courtesy : Sam Debeham, Cowra Guardian