Trained by Andrea Dailly, the son of Turanza Bale and Bala Bale finished second behind his superstar former kennel mate Fernando Bale in the 2015 feature and now, 12 months later, he will be aiming to secure his first group win in the $250,000-to-the-winner feature after clocking a slick 29.71 semi-final win on Saturday night.
Jumping well from box four in his Egg qualifier, Dawkins Bale gave nothing else a look-in as he romped away to score by two-and-three-quarter lengths over Mitcharlie Mia, in the process recording the fastest time of the night.
The black powerhouse will remain in box four for Saturday’s decider, a draw from which he has won from on four occasions, and he is arguably better boxed than this time last year when he drew the cherry, a box from which he is yet to salute in five runs.
A win in the Golden Easter Egg would take Dawkins Bale’s career statistics to 20 wins and 18 minor placings from 53 starts, while it would also elevate his prize money earnings to almost $420,000.
Mitcharlie Mia, which ran second behind Dawkins Bale, also qualified for the final and has come up with box eight next Saturday night. The Mitch Northfield-trained bitch has won six of her past seven starts, including the Group 2 Richmond Oaks, and should be right in contention despite the wide draw.
Jason Thompson will rug up the likely favourite in the final, with his runner, Moreira, drawing ideally in box one. The son of Kinloch Brae and Donna Ricca worked hard from box eight in his semi-final, collaring the lamplighter Knight Sprite in the closing stages to record a 29.93 victory.
The Maidment Memorial winner mixes his box manners but is as strong as a bull and should be able to position himself well in the final.
Knight Sprite, trained by Hunter Valley conditioner Gayle Masterson, was far from disgraced and will get the chance to redeem himself in the final, although he has drawn poorly in box five.
Former NSW trainers Anthony Azzopardi and Steve White battled out the first heat, with the Victorian duo landing the quinella.
Azzopardi’s charge Asa Killa Queen led throughout the race, tiring in the home straight to finish second to White’s Rare Pearl. A son of Bekim Bale and La Pearl, Rare Pearl stretched out to score by two-and-a-half lengths on the line in 29.98, the win bringing up his seventh victory around the Ultimo circuit.
The fourth and final heat was the only one won by a NSW sprinter, with Brad Hill Billy too good for a classy field in a slick 29.85.
Despite being slow into gear from box four, the Ray Smith-prepared greyhound was able to slip onto the fence around the first turn as some of the field ran wide, settling in fifth down the back behind a packed leading quartet.
On the home turn, Brad Hill Billy switched to the outside after railing into third spot and quickly dashed past the leader, She Oaks, and forged clear to score by two lengths. He will jump from box two in the decider, a draw from which he is yet to miss the top three in nine starts.
Blue Revolver ran on for second after being forced to race wide for most of the trip, with box seven his draw in the final.
Group 1 Golden Easter Egg
Box One – Moreira – Jason Thompson
Box Two – Brad Hill Billy – Ray Smith
Box Three – Rare Pearl – Steve White
Box Four – Dawkins Bale – Andrea Dailly
Box Five – Knight Sprite – Gayle Masterson
Box Six – Asa Killa Queen – Anthony Azzopardi
Box Seven – Blue Revolver – Mark Azzopardi
Box Eight – Mitcharlie Mia – Mitch Northfield
1st Reserve – Black Bear Lee – Ruth Matic
2nd Reserve – Marley Bale – Andrea Dailly