Integrity Mate, Muffler progress to Million Dollar Chase semis
It only feels like yesterday we witnessed history when She's A Pearl took out the May edition of the Million Dollar Chase final in spectacular fashion, clocking a blistering new race-record time of 29.32.
On Thursday in northern New South Wales, two regional finals were run and won, as we saw the first batch of qualifiers who will head to Wentworth Park for the semi-finals on September 16.
Star sprinter Integrity Mate left nothing to chance at Casino, stepping cleanly from box 5 from the 484m boxes and punching up underneath Kingsbrae Archie at the first turn. The son of Keybow and Let's Win Meisha scored by 1.75 lengths at the finish in a time of 27.75. It was his second consecutive victory for trainer Robert Andrews and owners Allan & Keith Hilzinger and his 18th career win from just 30 starts. Sunshine Delight for Paul Mcilveen and Shaye for Jedda Cutlack will also take their place in the qualifying events, as the second and third placegetters.
Trainer Melanie Mabbot continued her outstanding run of form in 2022, with Muffler producing a gutsy display to salute in the Gunnedah regional final. Exiting from box 5, the daughter of Fernando Bale and Elcee Jay quickly found the lead after the start and shot clear heading into the back straight. Turning from home, she fought off late charges from pre-race favourite Turbo Cash and Not Today to salute by 0.13 lengths in 30.37. It was her third win from her last five outings, having now taken her career victory total to seven from 19 appearances.
Attention now shifts to heats being conducted at The Gardens on Saturday night and Bathurst on Monday night, followed by regional finals at Gosford and Bulli next Tuesday.
Last night's NSW Sprint Final winner, Simply Limelight, will automatically gain a semi-final spot, along with the National Sprint Championship winner to be determined on August 27, 2022.