While the S.A Oaks may be over for another year, the Group 3 Coca-Cola S.A Derby is just heating up with four heats run last night at Angle Park. As usual, a host of Victorian greyhounds have made the trip across the border, with many of them likely to stay on and compete in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup in less than a months’ time.
Andrea Dailly’s ever-present team was at the forefront again and has qualified a staggering six out of the eight finalists, starting with young star Spud Regis who increased his already imposing record, with an effortless victory in the opening heat. Starting from box one at a very short quote of $1.70, the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Phiona was untroubled in front and found it no problem to record a slick 29.64 to cruise home with four lengths to spare. The promising black dog has now won seven of its ten career outings and feature race victories are now appearing on the horizon.
Battling away behind Spud Regis for most of the journey was the kennelmate Schnikey Bale, who was game in defeat but would need to improve sharply to trouble to favourites in next week final.
Amongst the beaten brigade in the first heat was Went Wooshka (3rd) and Edmond Bale (6th).
Heat two was a fairly similar occurrence with Dailly again leading home the winner, Bagget Bale. The Paul Wheeler owned dog was coming back in distance after a staying campaign in Victoria, however he found it nothing to worry about, beginning well and running down Allen Dion who had sped to the lead in the early stages. Allen Dion managed to hold on and make the final, giving Dailly all four of the finalists up to this point.
Bagget Bale, from the terrific Go Wild Teddy – Princess Bale litter, brought up its tenth win and completed the trip in 29.66. Sapporo and Hades Jet finished third and fourth respectively, failing to stay up with the frantic pace of the Dailly runners.
On to heat three where it was Peter Rocket for Keith Hellmuth who belted his rivals by five lengths in 29.86. With a bit of natural improvement and at his second run on the track, the sun of Where’s Pedro and Belron Blue will certainly be competitive in the final, especially considering he beat Spud Regis in Melbourne earlier in the year.
Leefull Shot for Rodney Millington qualified courtesy of his second place finish, eclipsing Dannie Bale who recovered from a poor get away to run third.
Gregorieva Bale was to start the long odds-on pick in the final heat of the night, and while he did qualify for the final, he had to settle for second behind Dyna Denny in 30.06. While it was clearly the slowest heat, there was a lot to like about the runs of both Dailly greyhounds, especially Gregorieva Bale who copped three checks and almost went down on its nose past the post the first time. It was a tremendous effort to get within three lengths of the winner, and will be one of the favourites next week given a good draw.
Many may remember Yowyeh who managed to take out the 2011 S.A Derby final before eventuating into a successful stayer. All the finalists this year look destined for bigger things, and the much-anticipated race is scheduled to be run next Thursday, with the Group 1 Adelaide Cup heats to be run two weeks later on October 4th.