Upsets have been the flavour of the 2014 Group One Maturity Classic so far and that didn’t stop on Saturday night; with two of the four semi winners at double-figure odds while the other two winners were not sent out as favourites.
Lamia Bale set the time standard into the finals, stopping the clock at 29.99 and paying a very juicy $22.90. The Steve Collins trained bitch by High Earner and Maple Bale (Spiral Nikita – Vista Bale) narrowly defeated Sisco Rage (1) who unleashed her customary finish to miss victory by a nose. Lamia Bale was fast away and this worked to her benefit as race favourite Spring Leaf (4) was slow away and never fired a shot. The Darren McDonald trained Sisco Rage, a bitch by High Earner and Sisco Power (Sisco Buzz – Sisco Yep) joins Lamia Bale in the final next week.
The other long-odds winner was Grand Legacy (5) for Peter Dapiran. The El Grand Señor and Premier Babe (Premier Fantasy – Ikari Babe) dog saluted at odds of $17.30 as he pulled off a win from a bad draw. It was also his first win at the track. Favourite Eliza Blanche (8) was beaten by the box and the other dog in the market, Luca Neveelk (7), demonstrated that he really needs to lead to show his best work. When the lids opened, Crackerjack Rose (2) showed the best speed, leading into the first turn. Take Charge (3) also got away well and took the lead turning into the back straight. Grand Legacy was third at this stage and down the home straight he put in the long strides to secure a two and a half length win in 30.17 over Take Charge. The Stephen McKenna trained Take Charge, a dog by Bartrim Bale and Witch Fantasy (Premier Fantasy – Witch Magic), will take a spot in next week’s final with Grand Legacy.
The other two winners, Mepunga Hayley (5) and Humphrey Bale (1), both saluted at odds of $6.00. Mepunga Hayley, a bitch by Bekim Bale and Mepunga Harmony (Pure Octane – Mepunga Shiraz) lowered the colours of $1.80 favourite Hooksy. The Jeff Britton trained Mepunga Hayley led easily, crossing other noted beginners Rue De Kahn (4) and Push It (2) quickly and shooting away to win in 30.00. Hooksy was pushed wide at the first turn but he managed to put himself into second and finished two and a half lengths behind Mepunga Hayley. The Tanya Auld trained Hooksy has scraped through all series but the black dog by Hondo Black and Uno Witch (Primo Uno – Proven Tops) may well just peak in time for the final.
In Humphrey Bale’s race, Shoulders (3) and Where’s The Surf (2) vied for favouritism. Humphrey Bale trumped them all, leading all the way in 30.18 for trainer Andrea Dailly. The Bartrim Bale and Pindari Bale (Collision – Maple Bale) dog won his seventh race at the track and is considered something of a track specialist at The Meadows. Where’s The Surf and Shoulders squeezed each other for room early with Where’s The Surf worst affected. Shoulders finished impressively to finish second, grabbing Samus Allen down the home straight and in turn, snaring himself a spot in the final. Shoulders, a black dog by Cosmic Rumble and Bit Stressed (Bit Chili – Stresa) will be the only NSW trained dog in the final for trainer Anthony Azzopardi’s
The box draw for next week’s final is:
Box 1 – Sisco Rage – Darren McDonald (30.00)
Box 2 – Shoulders – Anthony Azzopardi (30.20)
Box 3 – Take Charge – Stephen McKenna (30.33)
Box 4 – Lamia Bale – Steven Collins (29.99)
Box 5 – Humphrey Bale – Andrea Dailly (30.18)
Box 6 – Grand Legacy – Peter Dapiran (30.17)
Box 7 – Hooksy – Tanya Auld (30.16)
Box 8 – Mepunga Hayley – Jeff Britton (30.00)
First Reserve: Trail Blazing – Tina Womann 30.12)
Second Reserve: Wind Whistler – Angela Langton (30.29)