DYNA Villa looms as the greyhound to beat in next week’s $40,000-to-the-winner Group 2 Queensland Derby after its emphatic 29.68 heat performance on Thursday night.
Stepping flawlessly from box one, the son of Collision and Roxio Bale rolled straight to the early lead and never looked in danger, stretching out four lengths clear of Elusive Desire (box two) and Breathing Fire (box three).
The Jenny Hunt-trained greyhound, a two time Group 1 winner, has been mixing his form in recent months, but seems to be bouncing back to his brilliant best at precisely the right time. He will step from box two in the decider and will be aiming to take his prize money earnings up past $690,000.
Richmond Derby victor Quasi Bale (box seven) started the punter’s elect in the second heat for Victorian trainer Mark Delbridge.
When the lids flew open, the son of Bekim Bale and Amanda Bale stepped well, but was out-paced in the run to the first turn, with Peter Ruetschi’s Bago Kysam shooting through to assume the lead from box two.
Quasi Bale mustered and began weaving his way through the field running through the catching pen but, despite finding second spot down the back, he was unable to take enough ground off the lamplighter, finishing four lengths behind Bago Kysam, which clocked a speedy 29.95.
Golden Easter Egg runner-up Dawkins Bale (box four) and boom youngster Pop The Cork (box five) were the standouts in the third qualifier, but both were slow into stride and found plenty of bother in the early stages.
Up The Attitude took full advantage of his box one draw for Vicki Wisener, railing through to take up the top spot, which he never forfeited from that point in time, scoring in a handy 30.34 over the 520-metre trip.
Dawkins Bale made up a stack of ground to finish second, one-and-a-quarter lengths off the winner which made it win 10 at start 34.
One of the most promising pups in NSW, No Donuts, made the trip north for the Derby series and was well-supported in heat four off box eight.
The exceptionally-bred son of Fabregas and Chevy Princess only began fairly, but accelerated in the run to the first turn, circling around the field before darting to the inside of a wayward Blue I Am (box six) to rail through and take the lead. From that point onwards it was a case of times and margins, with No Donuts clearing out to win by five-and-three-quarter-lengths in a respectable 30.08.
Pacific Harbour (box one) stuck on well to grab second with General Cloud (box four) filling the trifecta back in third.
The fifth and final heat saw the biggest upset, with Don’t Go Quietly getting up at double figure odds.
Starting at $11.30 from box six, the son of Oaks Road and Mercy Rule bounced straight on the bunny with a slick 5.46 first section. SA representative Gun McBain (box three) got a beautiful sit behind the leader, with Fabulous Storm (box two) railing through into third before unleashing a powerful mid-race run which saw him cut the winning margin back to a head at the finish.
It was an impressive performance from both greyhounds, with Don’t Go Quietly clocking a quick 30.01.
The final will be run at Albion Park next Thursday night.
2015 Group 2 Queensland Derby Box Draw
Box One – No Donuts – Brad Canty
Box Two – Dyna Villa – Jenny Hunt
Box Three – Fabulous Storm – Reg Hazelgrove
Box Four – Don’t Go Quietly – Pamela Field
Box Five – Quasi Bale – Mark Delbridge
Box Six – Bago Kysam – Peter Ruetschi
Box Seven – Elusive Desire – Colin Graham
Box Eight – Up The Attitude – Vicki Wisener
1st Reserve – Dawkins Bale – Jenny Hunt
2nd Reserve – Pacific Harbour – Brian Francis