The iconic Dapto track on the south coast of New South Wales played host to four heats of the Greyhound Recorder Silver Collar on Thursday night. The fastest two from each heat progressed to next week's $5,000 to the winner final, and there was no shortage of quality in the fields.
The four heats produced two slick times and two moderate times with the Dapto track appearing to be a bit slower than usual. Gaudi set the time standard for next week's final with Pantone Green also producing a quality effort. It certainly augurs well for a top notch event next Thursday night.
While Glama Pak (Box 1) started a short odds-on favourite, it was the Charlie Gatt trained Minza Red One (Box 6) who spoiled the party. Glama Pak began well enough but couldn't quite match motors with Monkey's Soprano (Box 4) and Minza Red One. They raced tight into the first turn and it was Minza Red One who found the least trouble and shot away into the back straight. Fresh off a berth in the Bathurst Soldiers Saddle final, Fancy Rhythm (Box 8) was the margin abbreviator and set out after Minza Red One. But it was a strong display from Minza Red One holding Fancy Rhythm at bay to score by two lengths, with Glama Pak storming home into third. The red fawn son of Bombastic Shiraz and Araluen Valley clocked 30.62 for the 520 metre trip on a night where the track seemed a little slower than usual.
Heat two was taken out by the Margaret Keys trained Pantone Green (Box 8). Showing his customary early speed, Pantone Green carved across from the outside alley to lead at the post the first time in a quick 5.40 first split. The field bunched behind the son of Magic Sprite and Wind It Up, with Encoste Deplente falling shortly after box rise. Pantone made it a one act affair with the chasers struggling to stay in touch as the black dog carved out a slick 30.23, winning by two and a quarter lengths. Ding's Chance (Box 5) found some open space and stormed home to land a spot in the final while Crash Model (Box 6) hung on for third. The win was Pantone Green's 14th from 37 starts and his fourth at Dapto. He could be a major player in next week's final if he can find the front.
Heat three went to the Ben McCauley trained Velvet Fog (Box 4) in a tough display of resilience. After exiting well from the squeeze box, Velvet Fog couldn't quite maintain the lead. When Ariek Viv (Box 6) crossed Velvet Fog it looked as though his race may have been over as he copped slight interference and dropped back to fourth. Ariek Viv prevailed off the back straight with Ritmar (Box 8) in pursuit. As they swung for home, Velvet Fog was still two lengths off Ariek Viv who looked to be under siege from Ritmar. But Velvet Fog hooked to the outside and produced a barnstorming finish to overrun the pair of them and score by a length from Ariek Viv with Ritmar half a length further back in third. The son of Bit Chili and Hannah Jane registered 30.60 for the event but gives the indication he can go quicker with a clear run.
The Silver Collar heats did just as the Whitney Houston song says, and went and saved the best for last, with Gaudi (Box 6) saluting in a zippy 30.10 for Nowra Hill mentor Steve White in the last heat. Firing out of the boxes like a torpedo, Gaudi quickly found the front and proceeded to break the heart of his rivals. What was most impressive about the win was that Gaudi not only ran the fastest first section of the four heats (5.35) but also produced the fastest run home too (12.91) which serves as an ominous warning to his adversaries in the final next week. The son of Collision and Mary Virginia has now won three of his last four, including two at Wentworth Park. He looks the one to beat in the final, especially if he begins in a similar fashion. Supercell (Box 2) chased hard throughout and got within two and a half lengths on the line to book a place in the final, with Mike Lowrie (Box 8) in third.
The qualifiers for next week's final in order of times are;
Gaudi – Steve White – 30.10
Pantone Green – Margaret Keys – 30.23
Supercell – Mary Wright – 30.27
Ding's Chance – Lorraine Roy – 30.39
Velvet Fog – Ben McCauley – 30.60
Minza Red One – Charlie Gatt – 30.62
Ariek Viv – Vivian Jones 30.67
Fancy Rhythm – Marie Burton – 30.78
Mike Lowrie – Frances Harris – 30.39
Crash Model – Keith Waddington – 30.46