Steve White and Jason Mackay will train half of the runners in the 2014 Sportingbet Magic Maiden final after both trainers qualified two runners for next Saturday night’s Group Three event at Wentworth Park.
And what a final it promises to be, with just 0.15 seconds separating the four semi-final winners from Friday night. Add to that a couple of hard luck stories who snuck through to the final and our appetites are well and truly whet for a thrilling $25,000 to-the-winner finale.
Here is a recap of how the four semi-finals transpired;
Race 1 – Sportingbet Magic Maiden Series – Semi-Final One
Box-rise drama resulted in All Strung Out (8), Glenn Rounds second runner, walking out some 15 lengths behind the field.
Cuddletime Tears (3) and Anything Less (2) were the early leaders but were quickly headed off by the speedy Paua To Roar (4) who led into the first turn.
Cuddletime Tears (3), Passenger (6) and Mean Mr. Mustard (7) struck trouble at the first turn and this allowed Paua To Roar and Anything Less to get away in front with Old Mexico (1) in third place as they headed into the back.
Paua To Roar opened up a good break, holding a four or five length ascendency on Anything Less down the back who slowly started to whittle down the margin as they rounded the home turn.
Swinging into the home straight it still looked as though Paua To Roar was going well enough to win the event as Anything Less hooked out for one last crack at him.
The last 50 metres saw Anything less really knuckle down to the task and sprout wings to grab Paua To Roar right on the line to score by a head.
Back in the field, All Strung Out had weaved a path through runners to somehow finish in third place just six lengths from the winner, despite giving the whole field a massive start.
Race 2 – Sportingbet Magic Maiden Series – Semi-Final Two
Zipping Bruno (3) benefited greatly from a clean run this week to take out the second semi-final in a much improved 29.81 for Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay, setting the time standard for the four semi-finals in the process.
Organic Choice (4) and Miss Talladega (8) were the best to leave the traps with Zipping Bruno finding a clear passage to the fence in third as they left the straight the first time.
Filante (5), who started favourite, was fourth away and found the fence early as well.
As the field headed to the back straight, Zipping Bruno railed hard underneath Organic Choice and hit the front slowly opening up a margin and skipping away as they began the swing for home.
Organic Choice held down second with Miss Talladega in third. Filante was disappointed for a run as he looked to rail under Miss Talladega leaving the back straight.
Around the home turn, Zipping Bruno put on the after-burners and scorched away to score by an impressive 7 1/2 lengths, breaking the hearts of his rivals in the process.
Organic Choice held down second from Miss Talladega who finished third.
Race 3 – Sportingbet Magic Maiden Series – Semi-Final Three
Brasko Khan put on a bold front-running display to take out the third semi-final in a slick 29.86 for Austral mentor Jason Magri.
The regally bred son of Where’s Pedro and Mantra Style (Malfoy – Al Fresco) left the boxes in third but took little time to muster to the front which is where he stayed for the duration of the event.
Gilgamesh (6) chased Brasko Khan resolutely throughout the race but could not quite match it with the winner, running a very credible second. Zipping Lucy (4) was in third place for the bulk of the race and also chased well to finish third.
Race 4 – Sportingbet Magic Maiden Series – Semi-Final 4
Tommy Brislane (7) showed the virtue of early speed to lead all-the-way in the fourth semi-final in a time of 29.96 giving Nowra Hill trainer Steve White his second finalist.
Favourite for the race, Zipping Weston was last away and found plenty of trouble as he set out in his pursuit of the early leader. He worked his way to second as they left the back, but the bird had flown and Tommy Brislane was off and gone, scoring by 4 3/4 lengths on the line.
Zipping Weston finished second, making Jason Mackay the second trainer to qualify two dogs for the final.
Lyla Mel (1) came from a long way back to run a commendable third.
The box draw for next Saturday night’s Group Three final is as follows;
1 – Paua To Roar – Steve White
2 – Zipping Weston – Jason Mackay
3 – Brasko Khan – Jason Magri
4 – Zipping Bruno – Jason Mackay
5 – Organic Choice – Graeme Duggan
6 – Tommy Brislane – Steve White
7 – Gilgamesh – Justin King
8 – Anything Less – Glenn Rounds
9 – Zipping Lucy – Jason Mackay
10 – All Strung Out – Glenn Rounds