The headline event was the $10,000-to-the-winner Gold Rush Maiden Final, ultimately won by Nallak in a flying 23.85.
This performance, coupled with the success of past winners, means the Dallas Massina trained pup is definitely one for punters to keep an eye on. The real gold however, worth putting in your black book at Sportsbet.com.au, is likely to be found in those who were well supported or performed during qualifying, yet don’t have the five-figures in prize money.
After winning her heat (from box five), and semi-final (box eight), Nallak drew the pink again for the final. With a lightening first sectional of 6.49, the daughter of Barelen Beauty and Swift Fancy was able to lead and cross to the rails, eventually pulling away in the straight to join the likes of Ima Geisha Girl (winner of 17 of 32 career starts, with seven minor placings, and over $120,000 in career earnings) and Zoltina’s Legacy (winner of 18 of 31 starts, with 10 minors, over $50,000 in career earnings, and current Warrnambool 390m track record holder) in winning the series.
Despite being the quickest on the day, Nallak fell short of recording the fastest time of the series. Throughout the heats, semis, and final, which comprised of 26 races, it was Kiranna, trained by Andrew Paraskevas, whose time of 23.63 (the current track record, held by Fernando Bale, is 23.39) was the quickest of the lot, a full length quicker than that produced by Nallak.
Significantly, the half-sister to Luca Neveelk (winner of 29 of 48, including Group 1 Australian Cup and Group 2 Ballarat Cup) was able to produce this when being led into the home straight, giving every indication that she is destined for the 500m trip.
Interestingly, the dog Kiranna ran down in the home straight, Bakali, chased home Nallak for second in the final. This pup out of Maleek (x Swift Fancy) now has a record of three seconds from as many starts, yet was the quickest of the series to the first post with a 6.47 in the semi and holds a PB of 23.68, which would have won 98% of all races over the 425m in the last 12 months.
Of those chasers not lucky enough to progress through the series, Down To Mexico (Made to Cruise x El Grand Senor) attracted a lot of attention, being backed from $2.50 into even money, despite jumping from box six. Unfortunately for connections he was crossed from out wide and found himself second last early. Despite this, the 33kg dog was able to round up most of the field to find himself second before entering the turn and run a respectable 24.16.
Kid Carl (Midnight Eclipse x El Grand Senor) was another to attract plenty of attention when on debut. The half-brother to Midnight Ride (over $60,000 in career earnings) was consistently backed all the way from its opening price of $3.50 into $2.20 before easing at the jump. Having drawn box seven, he got out midfield and quickly found his way into second place, where he was unfortunately checked off the leaders heels and took the corner wide, ultimately finishing in second by just over two lengths.
The eight runners to make the Gold Rush Final last year have now have accumulated over $220,000 in winnings, from 94 wins and 96 minor placings.