The Group One Golden Easter Egg progresses to the semi-final stage on Saturday night at Wentworth Park. A total of four semi-finals will be conducted, with the first two placegetters from each semi progressing through to the rich $250,000 final on Saturday, April 19.
The field composition of the semi-finals has been determined, firstly, by placings in heats and, secondly, times recorded in registering such placings. The formula used seeds greyhounds into the semi-finals based on a combined consideration of the placings and times recorded by all greyhounds in the heats. No guarding applies in the semi-finals.
Training honours from last week went to Andrea Dailly, who has qualified seven runners for the semi-finals.
Here’s a look at the four races.
Semi-final One – Group One Golden Easter Egg (Race 5 at 8:50pm)
Darren McDonald has two greyhounds engaged in this semi-final and Andrea Dailly will rug up three greyhounds.
One of McDonald’s greyhounds, fastest heat qualifier Keybow (7), has moved from box two, which he had last week, to box seven. He is better drawn near the rails although he has won from outside boxes. The dog on his immediate inside, the Fay Wotton trained Pride Of Mykonos (6), is a quick beginner and may give Keybow a cart across. Keybow will need luck in the early stages in order to repeat last week’s devastating 29.45 performance.
Mcdonald’s other runner is Where’s The Surf (1) and he has drawn ideally in box one. He has had five starts from the cherry and recorded four wins and a minor placing. He ran second to Iona Tokyo last week, beaten three lengths in 29.78 after contending with an undesirable box seven draw. He won at Wentworth Park from box one on 29 March in 29.71. He looms as a big threat.
Andrea Dailly’s main chance in this semi-final looks to be Fort Allen (8). He is drawn on Keybow’s outside and was one of the greyhounds involved in the abandoned race last week. He began well from box six in the heats and was running within a length of Evil Punk before the lure caused carnage. He has won two from box eight and looks well drawn. He is yet to win at Wentworth Park. Dailly’s other chasers include Ollie Bale (3) who led all the way last week in 29.96 and Jordan Allen (5) who finished fourth, five and a half lengths behind Warrior King, who ran a winning time of 29.91. Ollie Bale and Jordan Allen will need to improve their times in order to feature.
Old stager Ritza Ryder (2), trained by Mark Gatt, finished a strong third to Dark Warrior last week, beaten two lengths in 30.29. He hasn’t been beginning well lately and faces a tough ask. Mario Abela’s Romantic Affair (4) was also finishing strongly in her heat and was beaten 10 and three quarter lengths by Keybow. She has only missed a place at Wentworth Park once in her 13 goes at the track, but this looks to tough for her at this stage of her career.
Semi-final Two – Group One Golden Easter Egg (Race 6 at 9:15pm)
Dyna Nalin (6), trained by Paul Stuart, has the fastest heat qualifying time in this semi-final. He ran 29.69 last week from box one. The move to box six is likely to cause the tardy beginner a few problems. He is a champion dog but will need that luck around the first turn in order to put himself into the race.
Warrior King (4) looks to be improving with each look he has at the track. The Brooke Ennis trained chaser won his semi last week in 29.91 after lobbing close to the lead. He began well and will need to do so again to overcome the poor draw. He has a lot of talent and is very strong.
Evil Punk (5) fell last week after colliding with the lure down the back straight and was advanced through to the semi-finals at the discretion of the stewards. He looked to have the race all sewn up last week after beginning well from box four. Trainer James Coyle rates him as a 90% chance of taking his place in this semi-final and it remains to be seen how the incident last week will affect him. He is a good beginner and could lead this field. He has a best of 29.70 at the track.
Tee Brady (2) finished second last week from box one, beaten four and a half lengths by Ollie Bale in 29.96. He has just one win at the track in 29.93 and is yet to record a career win from box two for trainer Tom Tzouvelis.
Varcoe (7) began okay from box eight last week and gets his chance this week to try and lead. He has a slow beginner (Dyna Nalin) on his inside and on his outside (Bessy Boo). The Debbie Cannan trained dog ran third to Iona Tokyo last week, beaten three and a quarter lengths in 29.78. He has run 29.92 in a stewards trial and would probably need to run quicker then that to make it through.
Of the others, Michael Carter’s Shadow Lane (3) is a talented chaser who is yet to win at Wentworth Park. He was beaten by Dyna Nalin last week but ran a good 5.46 to the first mark. He will show his best if he can lead. Lach’s Wish (1), for Adam Campton, was balloted through from the abandoned race last week. She has won five races at Wentworth Park but hasn’t managed to crack the 30 second mark and will find this tough. Bessy Boo (8), trained by Christine Proctor, rattled home last week but she has very little early place, which will make it hard for her to get across from box eight
Semi-final Three – Group One Golden Easter Egg (Race 7 at 9:35pm)
Buckle Up Wes (4) has drawn the blue rug for the third semi and is clearly the one to beat. Leading throughout last week in a personal best of 29.56, Wes recorded 5.36 to the first mark and that sort of section will see the Ted Medhurst trained dog leading this field.
Ritza Hattie (1) was very unlucky last week and the rails draw should suit Mark Gatt’s talented bitch. She isn’t the best away at box rise but has a slow beginner, Zipping Delta (2), on her outside. Zipping Delta, trained by Jason Mackay, ran fourth behind Buckle Up Wes last week. If Ritza Hattie can get a look in around the first turn, she is an each-way chance.
There’s a bit of speed drawn to the outside of Buckle Up Wes, with Edge (6), Mexico City (7) and Musquin Bale (8) drawn in the outside three boxes. Edge (6) is on the comeback trail and was very tenacious from box seven last week, running second to Easton Bale. His best time at the track is 29.68 and he has recorded a best first section of 5.38. Graeme Barnett will be hoping his fawn flash is back to his best. Mexico City (7), Mark Gatt’s other greyhound engaged in this semi-final, is also on a comeback. He has had three runs since a spell and had his first 520 metre race last week since returning. He wasn’t disgraced, losing by three lengths to Warrior King in 29.91. He hasn’t performed badly from outside boxes. Despite not winning from box seven, he has won four from box eight. Musquin Bale (8) ran second to Buckle Up Wes last week and ran 29.76 in the process. He’s won two races wearing the pink rug and the Andrea Dailly trained chaser is sure to be prominent.
Magic Display (3) for Evelyn Harris and Woods (5) for Marie Burton, may find the going a little tough. Magic Display was a surprise heat winner last week in 29.94. She does her best leading and ran a 5.37 first section last week. She will need to lead and hope for some trouble behind her. Woods has been done no favours by the box draw. He hasn’t been beginning lately and his form has been very patchy.
Semi-final Four – Group One Golden Easter Egg (Race 8 at 9:58pm)
Iona Tokyo (1) was a heat winner last week in 29.78 and has drawn perfectly in box one. The little black bitch, trained by Francois Sidrak, has really taken to Wentworth Park, winning three from four at the track. She is an excellent beginner and will put herself into the race.
Darren McDonald’s Dark Warrior (3) is another that has drawn well. He toughed out a win in the heats last week in 30.29 and with three looks at the track now under his belt, he looks the improver.
Easton Bale (6) led virtually all the way from box five to win last week for Andrea Dailly and recorded 29.83. It was just his second win from seven attempts at Wentworth Park. He had been coming off a 600 metre campaign and showed good early zip last week, running a first section of 5.44.
Tonk (3) couldn’t repeat his 29.57 effort last week that he put in at his first look at the track in early March. In the heats, he ran third to Buckle Up Wes, beaten five lengths. He had box one last week and this week moves to box two, a box he has won from four times. The Brooke Ennis trained chaser may make things interesting if he can hit the lead early.
Andrea Dailly has two other runners engaged in this semi-final and they look to be drawn unfavourably out wide. Rookie Rebel winner Hawk Alone (7) has box seven and Dyna Beth (8) has box eight. They are also drawn next to fellow kennel-mate Easton Bale. Hawk Alone found all sorts of trouble from the inside draw last week but fought on well to finish 11 lengths third behind Magic Display. Dyna Beth finished nine and three quarter lengths behind Keybow, but was drawn in box three on that occasion.
Local chasers Gradence (4) and Hurricane Rino (5) will need some luck to feature. Gradence, trained by Mark Gatt, likes to get back in his races and flash home. He may just give some of these speedy chasers too much of a head start. Anthony Azzopardi’s Hurricane Rino finished second to Magic Display last week from box eight, with the wide draw suiting him. He has the squeeze box this week and has never won wearing the yellow rug.