The last night of spring provided ideal conditions for two heats of the Group 3 Summer Cup at Wentworth Park on Saturday night. Some of the best stayers in the country contested the heats hoping to finish in the top four and grab a spot in the $25,000 to the winner final next week.
The racing certainly didn’t disappoint, with the big guns all progressing to the main event next week, where the box draw looks to have given all dogs a chance.
SCHWEPPES SUMMER CUP – HEAT ONE
Most astute judges would have predicted that Infinite Wish (Box 4) would lead the field. This proved correct, with the Angela Langton trained bitch carving out a fast early section of 16.13. What very few expected was that the favourite Lucy Wires (Box 2) would be sitting in second place only five lengths off the leader as they passed the post the first time. Given that she came from a lot further back to only go down by a half head at group one level last start, the result looked liked a fait accompli from that point. But if there was any worry it was that last year’s champion Bell Haven (Box 8) was sitting in third, poised to strike.
Infinite Wish managed to lead until they came off the back but that’s when little Lucy Wires turned on the afterburners and zipped away. Bell Haven tried valiantly to reel in the favourite, but the daughter of Flying Penske and Okgo Box To Wire had enough in the tank to stave her off and take the event by 1 3/4 lengths in a personal best of 42.09. Infinite Wish clung onto third place, while National Distance champion Smart Valentino grabbed the all important fourth place and a spot in next week’s final. Lucy Wires’ win will give trainer Rob Britton a shot at more Group staying glory after he landed the quinella in the Group 1 Bold Trease just over a week ago.
SCHWEPPES SUMMER CUP – HEAT TWO
Many had thought that the second heat may have lacked the depth of the first heat, and punters had predicted it would be a one act affair, with Cawbourne Looney (Box 7) starting at odds on. When the boxes opened, Victorian Dyna Willow (Box 6) speared the lids and wasted no time in opening up a three length margin en route to a 16.14 first section. Seven Straight (Box 1) was parked in second place and in hot pursuit.
But the Steve Collins trained daughter of Collision and Horizon Bale was exemplary in her very first look at the Glebe circuit and careered away to score by 9 1/2 lengths in a brilliant 41.91. Seven Straight stayed on well to secure second place with My Friend Mitch finishing third. Set To Shine qualified for the last spot final by finishing fourth. The favourite Cawbourne Looney found herself a long way back early and never really got into the race, finishing fifth and gaining the second reserve rug for next week.
The two exciting heats served as a great precursor to next week’s big final, and would have whet the appetites of staying connoisseurs.
BOX DRAW – GROUP 3 $25,000 SCHWEPPES SUMMER CUP
1- Inifinte Wish
2- Smart Valentino
3- Bell Haven
4- Lucy Wires
5- My Friend Mitch
6- Set To Shine
7- Seven Straight
8- Dyna Willow
10- Cawbourne Looney