Balliang trainer Mark Delbridge is hoping that his dynamic duo Tomac Bale and Allen Makoto can make it one step closer to snaring his first group one triumph when they tackle the semi-finals of the Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic at the Meadows tonight.
Delbridge has already tasted success at group level with Tomac Bale who took out the group two Launching Pad earlier this year, as well as his star bitch Flash Of Light who took out the group two Hume Cup, group two McKenna Memorial, group three The Dawson and the group two Rookie Rebel however to this date the coveted group one win has eluded him.
Tomac Bale will be the first of Delbridge's pair to face the starter when he lines up in race seven- the third semi. Drawn out wide in box eight, the red fawn dog will have to be on his best behaviour at box rise with a great deal of speed on his inside.
The son of Dyna Lachlan has only had twelve starts so far but has managed to put together eight wins, all of which have been from wide or middle draws, leaving Delbridge confident that he can overcome the less than ideal alley.
“He is getting used to being out wide”, Delbridge said, “He has never drawn inside box three throughout his career”.
“I wouldn't mind seeing him near the fence but he does seem to handle it out wide, he just needs to begin”.
Tomac Bale stamped himself as one of the series favourites last week as one of only two heats to break the30 second barrier.
Beginning well from box eight, the 34 kilogram chaser speared to the front and never looked in danger, stretching out to score by six and a half lengths in 29.98 seconds.
The performance was typical of the talented youngster who now holds the impressive record of five wins from five starts over the track and distance, with Saturday's time his new personal best.
Tomac Bale will have to work hard to find the front with the speedy Hoover Jack, Blaster and Quiz Bale drawn in boxes one, two and three respectively.
Blaster was a great winner last Saturday showing good early dash to claim his race in 30.33 seconds. The son of Premier Fantasy is a fast beginner and loves an inside draw which should make for a compelling duel between the two heat winners.
Tomac Bale's litter sister Quiz Bale is another fast customer who will be challenging early for the top spot. The recent W.A Oaks winner is another who should be suited by the draw and showed the potential to go close in this event when one and a half lengths second behind Crump in her qualifier.
It is hard to talk about semi three without mentioning Xylia Allen boxed precariously in the five. The dual group one winner has freakish ability but had no luck in her heat last week when running a battered third behind Hawk Alone. As strange as it seems, the black bitch might be suited from the middle draw. As a poor beginner she should miss the early trouble and avoid interference as the runner's crash to the rails. If she makes it through the first fifty metres unscathed, expect a big performance from the daughter of Turanza Bale.
Delbridge's second crack at the Maturity series is the well preformed Allen Makoto in the final semi (race eight). The son of Meticulous has drawn the coveted rails alley against boom pup Paw Licking out wide in box seven. Paw Licking is an explosive beginner trained by Kel Greenough who recently took out the group two Traralgon Cup and even though he is drawn in the black, he has a good record from out wide and a slick best time of 30.03 seconds at The Meadows.
Whilst Paw Licking pinged out in his heat last week and led all the way, Allen Makoto uncharacteristically missed the kick but showed excellent field sense to navigate through the field before sprinting clear to salute by one and three quarter lengths in 30.38 seconds. Delbridge expressed surprise at Allen Makoto's poor beginning in his heat, claiming he is normally fast early. Subsequently a reversal is expected tonight.
“When he missed it I thought ‘Geez', I was shocked because he is normally a fast beginner”, Delbridge explained.
“They both came back from Brisbane and trialled before the heats and based on that I expected him to lead. He has a personal best of 29.78 so the time tells you what happened in the race because he can go half a second quicker”.
“As long as he comes out he has a chance. I expect him to come out and run close to five seconds early”.
Whilst Delbridge has runners engaged in the last two semi-finals, the first two also pack plenty of punch.
In the first semi Graeme Bate's improver Schroder Bale will exit box three. The Dyna Lachlan dog seems to get better and stronger with each run and should prove hard to beat from the good draw. As a winner of his heat in 30.08 seconds and ten races overall, the striking black and white dog has been racing competitively in group race company for quite some time now and a feature win does not look far away.
Looking to bring him undone will be Jason Thompson's Black Magic Opal although he is drawn poorly in box five. The son of Magic Sprite has won 19 races from just 25 starts and was very eye catching in his heat, leading all the way from box eight in 30.08 seconds.
Also well in contention is fellow heat winner Farmor Las Vegas (box one) and handy runner up Banjo Boy (box four).
Fastest heat winner Dyna Nalin will make his anticipated appearance in the second semi from box six. Trained by Paul Stuart, Dyna Nalin used box one to perfection last week to score by eleven lengths in a blistering 29.89 seconds. Whilst the draw is not favourable, this heat does not have an abundance of early pace so he should be able to place himself well in the run to the first turn.
Veyron Bale won his heat in a neat 30.28 seconds and looks an ominous threat from box one for Andrea Dailly.
The first semi-final of the group one Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic is race five at The Meadows tonight and will jump at 8:40pm (VIC time)