BUCK Forty has firmed into favouritism to win the 2016 Group 3 John Dillon Memorial (595m) after a stunning win in his heat of the feature at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
Trained by Jason Thompson, Buck Forty was rated an $8.50 chance to win the series heading into the heats, however Crownbet now have him installed as the $2.60 top elect to claim the $25,000 first prize next week.
Starting from box eight in his qualifier, the son of Buck Fever and Fancy Jaffa was poorly into stride, weaving his way into fourth spot on the fence in the run through the catching pen.
From there the 37-kilogram heavyweight was always going to be hard to hold out, circling the leader Bulkender (box two) down the back and sprinting clear to score by a widening 7.89 lengths in 34.08.
Running on well to grab second was Star Torana (box six), with Bulkender tiring in the run home to finish third.
The victory took Buck Forty’s career statistics to 14 wins and 15 minor placings from 38 starts, with a win in next Thursday’s final set to take his prize money earnings above $369,000.
Bookmakers believe Dundee Osprey is the biggest threat to Buck Forty in the final, with the champion chaser currently the $3 second favourite.
However, Dundee Osprey only just scraped into the final, finishing third in his heat behind Polijuice Potion.
Beginning well from box four, Polijuice Potion was able to boot up along the fence and hold a prominent spot underneath White Bandit (box eight) in the run to the line on the first occasion, taking the lead entering the back straight.
Meanwhile, Dundee Osprey (box three) had managed to overcome interference to find himself in third coming off the back, however he was unable to reel in the leader which clocked a respectable 34.34.
Flying home to grab second was stayer Dublin Bull (box seven), with Dundee Osprey finishing 2.63 lengths behind the winner in third.
The third heat of the night saw a rough result for punters, with race favourite Dyna Boomer (box two) finishing well back in the field behind Dash Of Rose (box seven) at $18.
Carving across from the wide alley, Dash Of Rose took the early lead but was soon joined and headed by Bruce Tycoon (box five).
Coming off the back straight Bruce Tycoon started to shorten stride, with Dash Of Rose hooking to the outside to reassume the lead, powering away to register a 1.67 length success over Mepunga Rosie (box eight) in 34.32.
Aeroplane Tommy ran on to finish third, with his finishing time also booking him a spot in the final as one of the two fastest thirds.
The Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial will be run and won at Sandown Park next Thursday night and is worth $25,000 to the winner.
Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial – market
1 – Dublin Bull $15
2 – Aeroplane Tommy $6
3 – Buck Forty $2.60
4 – Dash Of Rose $21
5 – Polijuice Potion $8
6 – Star Torana $11
7 – Mepunga Rosie $23
8 – Dundee Osprey $3 with Crownbet
1st Res – Bulkender $15
2nd Res – He’s A Boomer $17