It was an evening of upsets with no favourites winning their heats and only one (Yogi Blue) advancing to next week’s final.
The Lee Wylie trained Birkdale Beauty qualified fastest, leading all the way to score by a length in 30.18 in the opening heat at bolter’s odds.
The daughter of El Grand Señor and Tricky Uno (Primo Uno – Oxley Magic) speared the lids from box six and set up the victory with the fastest first section of the night (4.34).
She had to dig seep in the run home to stave off the efforts of Mal Rose Hi (4) who finished second and also qualified for next Friday night’s $40,000 to-the-winner final.
Walk With Faith (1) found plenty in the final 50 metres to snatch the second heat by a nose from Yogi Blue (3) in 30.27 for trainer Tom Tzouvelis.
The nicely bred daughter of Fear Zafonic and Surf Queen (Surf Lorian – Queen Size) left the inside box in second place and was still three lengths off Yogi Blue as the pair swung for home. Walk With Faith railed like the lure in the concluding stages and timed her run to perfection to land her 11th career victory and advance to the Group Two final with Yogi Blue.
Second reserve Love Kills continued the upsets when he came from well back to finish over the top of Outa Tempo (1) and claim the third heat in 30.35.
The Brian Partridge trained son of Surgeon and London Lizzie (Brett Lee – Divorce Remorse) was last to leave the traps from box six and was still fifth as the field headed down the back.
Swinging for home, the 34kg black dog unleashed his run home and quickly reeled in the leaders to score by 2 1/2 lengths from Outa Tempo.
The final heat of the night saw Bill’s Fantasy make good use of the outside box to lead all the way and win by two lengths in 30.19.
The Bill Elson trained son of Premier Fantasy and Regal Silver (Surf Lorian – Wongawillisue) put on a polished display and qualified for his second Group final in three weeks. Fusaichi Khan (7) finished second to book a place in next Friday’s final.
Qualifiers for next Friday’s Group Two Lismore Cup final (in no particular order);
Birkdale Beauty – Lee Wylie
Mal Rose Hi – Patrick Lavis
Walk With Faith – Tom Tzouvelis
Yogi Blue – Peter O’Reilly
Love Kills – Brian Partridge
Outa Tempo – Peter Ruetschi
Bill’s Fantasy – William Elson
Fusaichi Khan – Glenda Dart
Dulcie Dee – Edith Hancock
Intensive Storm – Dean Turley