BURN One Down stamped himself as Australia’s most promising stayer with a scintillating victory in a heat of the Victorian Distance Championship at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
The talented chaser only began fairly from box seven and was kept off the track in the early stages, settling midfield entering the straight on the first occasion.
Running past the winning post and the 36.7 kilogram heavyweight started gaining momentum, weaving his way through the pack to level up with the leader, Mepunga Rosie (box six), half way down the back straight.
Trained by leading conditioner Jason Thompson, Burn One Down has now won eight of his 17 starts including two of his last three starts over the testing ‘half-mile’ trip.
The second heat of the night was an open race, with Wayne Vassallo’s It’s A Bird (box four) starting as the favourite. However, the fawn bitch could only manage third as grand campaigner Lady Toy produced a stunning last to first victory off box seven.
Despite seeing every runner entering the home straight the first time, the Norma Gost-trained bitch was able to work her way through the pack, storming home to score a narrow 0.34 length win over Ringer (box eight) in 42.25.
The third and final qualifier was a keenly contested race, with Dublin Bull (box one), Ring The Bell (box three) and No Donuts (box seven) going stride for stride in the early stages, with Son Of Bekim (box two) stalking the trio and railing through to take the lead past the post the first time.
Heading through the catching pen and the Brooke Ennis-trained dog was able to kick three lengths in front of Ring The Bell which had managed to work his way into second spot.
Turning for home and it was a race in two, with both dogs toughing it out in the run to the line, however Ring The Bell was able to finish off just a little bit better, recording a one quarter length victory in 41.99.
The top two from each heat as well as the two fastest thirds will progress through to the Victorian Distance Championship, to be held next Thursday night. The winner of that event will qualify for the group 1 National Distance final which is set to be staged in South Australia on Saturday August 27.