DUAL Keroma (Lochinvar Marlow x Duanna Keroma Jun ’15) heads into the richest greyhound race in NSW as the fastest qualifier after clocking a brilliant 29.65 in his semi-final of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg (520m) at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Having opened at $26 with Sportsbet during the week, Dual Keroma was smashed in betting, starting as a $6 shot off box two. While he wasn’t the fastest into stride, Dual Keroma got room to move early and quickly barged his way to the front.
Once he found the lead his rivals were always going to find it hard to beat him, with the black dog stretching out to score by five and one quarter lengths over Two Times Twice (Fernando Bale x Chica Destacada Apr ’16), with Little Digger (Fernando Bale x Solar Pak Nov ’15) rounding out the trifecta back in third.
Formerly trained in NSW by his owners Ray and Susan Pitstock, Dual Keroma joined the kennels of Anthony Azzopardi after finishing down the track in the final of the Group 1 Paws of Thunder in January. He made his debut for his new trainer in the heats of the Easter Egg, winning in a fast 29.87.
The 32-kilogram powerhouse has drawn ideally in box eight for the $250,000 to the winner final and has subsequently installed as a $7 shot – hoping to make it four wins from seven starts wearing the pink stretch vest.
It won’t be an easy task for Dual Keroma, coming up against one of the most even Egg fields in recent memory.
One of his rivals will be his kennel mate Crash Bandicoot (Collision x J’S Robin Jul ’15) which finished second in his semi-final behind his litter sister Bombshell Bandit.
Both chasers are owned by Hayley Moffit, with Bombshell Bandit trained by her mother Jodie, whilst Crash Bandicoot, last year’s Vic Peters Classic winner, is prepared in Victoria by Azzopardi.
Also impressive time-wise was Miss Splendamiro (Barcia Bale x Splendorous Sep ’15) which came from behind in the third semi to post a sizzling 29.68.
She heads into the final in terrific form, having won six of her past seven starts. Two starts back she ran down Topgun winner Up Hill Jill (Premier Fantasy x Where’s Demonica Feb ’15) to win her Golden Easter Egg heat in 29.72, with the start prior to that being her only recent defeat when she finished third in the Group 2 Richmond Oaks.
The story of the series is undoubtedly the rivalry between Up Hill Jill and Striker Light (Kc And All x Pretty Fancy Mar ’15) after they quinella’d the final semi-final of the night. Both superstar bitches made the final last year, with Striker Light taking out top honours off box seven.
On Saturday night the duo went stride for stride throughout the majority of the race, with Up Hill Jill a touch too strong on the line, kicking clear to win by two lengths in 29.88.
If Striker Light can go one better in next week’s final, she will become the first greyhound in the race’s 29-edition history to claim the title twice.
She will start from box one in the final, the same draw which she used to salute in the Group 1 Temlee at The Meadows earlier this year.
2018 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg box draw
1 – Striker Light
2 – Miss Splendamiro
3 – Crash Bandicoot
4 – Fernando Express
5 – Two Times Twice
6 – Up Hill Jill
7 – Bombshell Bandit
8 – Dual Keroma
9 – Two Jay
10 – Little Digger