MISTER Twister has been installed as the odds-on favourite to win Friday night’s $100,000 Richmond Riches (535m) after scoring a dominant semi-final victory.
The series is open to greyhounds purchased at the 2015 Richmond Riches Puppy Auction – with Mister Twister owned by the Tiger Seven Syndicate, managed by Luke Murray, who bought the youngster for $21,000.
Trained by Jason Mackay, Mister Twister jumped from box eight in the opening qualifier on Friday night and was able to carve across from out wide, settling in second spot behind Queenslander Opal Nera (box three).
Down the back, the black dog was still spotting the leader four lengths, but approaching the home turn Opal Nera began to paddle. When Opal Nera drifted off the fence slightly around the bend, Mister Twister was able to secure the rails run, surging to the front and kicking clear to score in 30.80.
Donna Campbell’s Big Black (box one) flashed home to grab second, two and a half lengths behind the winner, ahead of a tiring Opal Nera back in third.
A son of Collision and former NSW Greyhound of the Year Double Twist, Mister Twister has now won 11 of his 28 starts with 11 minor placings. The speedster has been installed as the $1.65 favourite with Bet365 to win the final after drawing the coveted rails alley.
Leading Sunshine State conditioner Tony Brett, who narrowly missed out on qualifying with Opal Nera, will still have a big shot at securing the title with his talented sprinter Fast Times.
The 33.5-kilogram powerhouse overcame a moderate beginning from box two, mustering pace to take the lead in the early stages. Once on the bunny it was a case of times and margins, with Fast Times holding off a late challenge from Victor Charlie (box one) to score in 30.74.
Fast Times will jump from box seven in the final – a draw from which he is yet to start from throughout his 11 start career which has already seen him score seven victories and one minor placing. He is currently the second elect with bookmakers at $4.50.
Exciting youngster Bronze Gambler (box two) started as the short priced favourite in the third semi, however the Jason Magri-trained dog got shuffled back in the field and was never really in contention.
Meanwhile, after a mix up on the first turn, Arden Emgrand took the lead from box three ahead of Dean Swain’s Bobby Rudd (box one) which found itself in a beautiful spot on the fence behind the leader.
Swinging for home, Bobby Rudd sneaked through along the inside, grabbing the lead and sprinting clear to defeat Arden Emgrand by one and three quarter lengths in a moderate 31.24.
The final semi was another dominant affair, with Kong (box two) producing an enormous effort to score after being in last spot past the post on the first occasion.
Down the back straight, the 39-kilogram dog found clear room and began working his way into the race, hooking wide around the home turn and storming down the centre of the track to score in 30.89.
Pick It Up (box five) held on for second after leading all the way and will also progress through to the final for Joanne Zammit.
Group 2 Richmond Riches – box draw
1 – Mister Twister
2 – Arden Emgrand
3 – Big Black
4 – Pick It Up
5 – Victor Charlie
6 – Kong
7 – Fast Times
8 – Bobby Rudd
9 – Opal Nera
10 – Swift Ella