Mark Gatt will head into tomorrow’s National Derby and Futurity semi finals at Unibet Gardens with an astonishing five runners across the four races and is set to dominate the two Group One finals next week.
Semi-final one of the National Futurity will see last week’s bolter Lani Banarni (4), who upset Gatt’s red-hot favourite Ritza Hattie in a blistering 29.40, exit from box four in a strong semi-final. Jodie Lord has three runners engaged in this race, with her best chance Cawbourne Whip (5). Despite finishing a disappointing fourth last week, she does have a 29.46 personal best at the track and can steal this from the squeeze box. Smashing Sally (8) trained by Neil Falk, has been very consistent of late and is looking for her fourth consecutive win and will get a nice run from the wide alley.
Series favourite Ritza Hattie (2) will step out in semi-final two of the Futurity final. She will be out to avenge her second placing last week and has a perfect opportunity from box two. The two-time Group winner began poorly last week, before making up a stack of ground to finish second in 29.40 and will be primed for this affair by master trainer Mark Gatt. Unbelief (4) for Troy Donaldson is going great guns at present, having won four races from her last five starts and she flew around The Gardens circuit last week in 29.65 from box five. If she begins well, expect her to give the favourite a run for her money in an attempt to keep her unbeaten record at the track in tact. Zipping Delta ran a super race last week to storm home for third in the fastest heat of the day, clocking 29.58. Despite being drawn inside a speedy runner, the Jason Mackay sprinter will only need a clear path to feature in the finish.
Semi-final one of the National Derby will see last week’s fastest qualifier Boyce Road (7) step out from box seven at only his second ever look at the track. After jumping brilliantly from box six and clocking a blistering 29.33 last Friday, the Mark Gatt trained youngster could potentially lower his personal best. Evil Punk (1) has stepped up enormously at his past few starts against quality opposition and is drawn beautifully on the inside to really test these runners. The James Coyle trained chaser finished the race off nicely last week behind Waymore’s Blues in a fast 29.65. Gatt’s other runner Black Road (2) was airbourne in the early stages last week before fading at the finish, however a repeat performance of last week could see him really test the field early.
Red Road is another sensational Mark Gatt chaser and will step out in semi-final two of the National Derby. He was edged out by litter mate Boyce Road for time honours last week by 0.01, flying around The Gardens in 29.34. Despite drawing the tricky middle box, the winner of seven races from just nine starts, showed electrifying early speed last week from box eight and only needs to jump to be victorious once again. Astute breeder Martin Hallinan has drawn favourably once again with Waymore’s Blues (1), who was ultra-impressive in his heat win last week, clocking a speedy 29.65. Gatt’s other runner Ritza Raider (2) ran home very well in the latter stages last week behind Waymore’s Blues and can run a cheeky race if he gets room to move early.