Four heats of the Group Two Gosford Gold Cup last night were set to deliver some fierce competition between some of Australia’s best chasers, and they didn’t disappoint enthusiasts, with all four winners breaking the difficult 30-second barrier over the 515m.
Hot As Hell for Maitland trainer Peter Neilson stepped out in heat one as the $2.40 pre-race favourite, but failed to deliver after beginning moderately from box one and checking off the heels of the front runners at the first turn. Pantone Green ($5.20) for Margaret Keys showed his class leading from start to finish in a smart time of 29.81. $21 outsider Jeppeli, who made the trip to Gosford from Patrick Estate, just outside of Brisbane, put in a gutsy performance to finish runner-up and qualify for next weeks final.
Heat two also provided another upset win with Edge receiving all the support from punters, starting at $1.90 from box seven. After missing the start, Edge was forced to the back of the field and Anthony Azzopardi’s Hurricane Rino, who was second reserve, shot away to lead the field. Approaching the home turn, Azzopardi’s chaser looked the winner before Magic Display ($8.70) made a last surging effort to claim the race in 29.99.
Ferly Reign ($2) was one of the series favourites going into the heats last night and exploded from box two to lead the field into the back straight. Awesome Project ($5.90) found trouble at the first turn and settled fourth heading into the back straight. Approaching the home turn Awesome Project rounded up Ferly Reign to score by three lengths in a flying 29.62 for Hunter Valley trainer Bradley Canty. Avondale Amor produced a gallant effort to grab second spot and force Ferly Reign into the $7,000 consolation final.
The fourth and final heat saw a battle of favouritism between talented chasers Billy Buzzard, winner of the Group Two Black Top final back in August, and My Signature who has a 29.40 personal best at the Gosford track. In a sensational finish, the judge couldn’t split the two and declared a dead-heat after minutes of deliberation. Billy Buzzard began beautifully from box two and looked the winner on the home turn before My Signature powered home down the outside to lunge at the leaders, with both greyhounds moving through to the highly-anticipated final next week.
The box draw for the $40,000 to the winner final next week is:
- Avondale Amor – Ronald Bell
- My Signature – Lena Sweetman
- Jappeli – Peter Ruetschi
- Magic Display – Evelyn Harris
- Hurricane Rino – Anthony Azzopardi
- Billy Buzzard – David Richardson
- Pantone Green – Margaret Keys
- Awesome Project – Bradley Canty
2014 Gosford Gold Cup Heats