Chris Halse and Shayne Williams dominate final after WA Oaks doubles at Cannington
Three greyhound trainers will start six of the eight finalists in the 2023 Group 2 WA Oaks after four heats were run last Saturday night at Cannington.
Chris Halse, Shayne Williams and Andrew McLaren will be hopeful of securing a win in the $40,000 to-the-winner final after all qualifying two greyhounds each, with Halse and Williams holding the upper-hand having each trained two of the four heat winners.
Flying Freda took out the opening heat of the Group 2 series for Halse leading all the way from box eight in 29.76, starting the race as a +100 favourite with greyhound betting sites.
The daughter of Tommy Shelby and West On Violet was having her seventh career race start having previously recorded the one maiden win at Cannington in 29.99.
Tweak Freak (Fernando Bale x Wynburn Mia) for Andrew McLaren used box one to advantage to jump straight on to Flying Freda's heels and did well to hang on to the leader for the majority of the 520m trip to run second and qualify.
2023 Group 2 WA Oaks Heat 1 (Cannington, 520m) – Flying Freda (29.76) T: Chris Halse
Halse struck agin in the third of the Oaks heats to qualify his second finalist when West On Blossom seized the lead from the outset and maintained it to record a commanding victory in 29.89 by 5.0 lengths from Canya Mia.
West On Blossom, by Vanderworp out of Times Square has been a beacon of consistency for Halse winning five out of her previous seven races and was sent out as a +140 second favourite with greyhound betting apps.
Canya Mia, a litter sister to heat 1 runner-up Tweak Freak, provided McLaren his second Oaks finalist after getting in to second place early and maintaining her position until the post.
2023 Group 2 WA Oaks Heat 3 (Cannington, 520m) – Flying Freda (29.89) T: Chris Halse
Bell Mac Blazer gave Shayne Williams the first of his two heat winning Group 2 Oaks finalists taking out the second heat on Saturday night.
The daughter of Mepunga Blazer and Tina's Magic, showed good track sense from box seven to race outside early leader Leg Press before powering away to beat +100 race favourite Disco Daisy by 2.5 lengths in 29.94.
Both Bell Mac Blazer's two previous wins from 22 starts had been from box one which contributed to her being sent out a +440 third favourite with online greyhound bookies.
Wide running Disco Daisy (Vanderworp x West On Lilly), who was ideally boxed in box eight, made up many lengths at the start, and in the run to the line to finish second, and adds plenty of interest to the final for trainer Enzo Crudeli.
2023 Group 2 WA Oaks Heat 2 (Cannington, 520m) – Bell Mac Blazer (29.94) T: Shayne Williams
Shayne Williams trained the Group 1 Galaxy (Cannington, 715m) finalist, Rippin' Grace, to win the last of the four Oaks heats in the second quickest qualifying time, running 29.80 winning by nine lengths, with an ever-widening margin back to second.
The daughter of Bernardo and Slingshot Spirit was last early before railing up under the field and avoiding trouble on the first corner, then firing to the lead halfway down the back straight along the rail.
Rippin' Grace has made a very successful transition back to the sprint distance racing since finishing runner-up in the 2023 Group 3 The Miata over 715m in late April at Cannington, having had three starts over 520m at Cannington for two wins and second.
Whatever Shorty (My Redeemer x Ants In Pants) claimed second to give trainer Colleen Pierson a 2023 WA Oaks finalist.
2023 Group 2 WA Oaks Heat 4 (Cannington, 520m) – Rippin' Grace (29.80) T: Shayne Williams
The box draw for the Group 2 WA Oaks final was performed trackside after the heats and has delivered Bell Mac Blazer her preferred box one, while both Flying Freda and Rippin' Grace will have to overcome middle box draws in box four and five.