Master trainer Mark Gatt was optimistic of his three semi-finalists chances this past Monday afternoon and rightly so with the talented trio blistering their rivals and securing their spot in tonight’s $25,000 to the winner final.
Ritza Hattie began Gatt’s campaign in stunning fashion, lowering her personal best at the track to a scorching 29.64. After beginning brilliantly from box four, gapped her rivals to score by 6.75 lengths and head into the final as the heavy favourite. Despite these outstanding performances, Gatt remains modest of her chances tomorrow night.
‘I think she still has some improvement in her yet’.
‘She came out with them on Monday but just burnt them off after that. Box four will be tough in the final, she really needs to begin well.’
‘I know she can win it, it’s just a matter of her doing everything right’.
Ritza Hattie’s litter brothers Ritza Liam and Ritza Danny added to the Gatt brothers celebrations by scoring impressive wins in their semi-finals clocking 30.11 and 30.25 respectively.
‘They’re both good dogs and are starting to learn how to race by going around other dogs but it will be hard for them out wide’
‘I’m just hoping they don’t bring each other unstuck, usually your dogs find each other in the race, hopefully that doesn’t happen’.
With the odds stacked in Gatt’s favour, there is never a certainty in greyhound racing as was the lesson learnt in the Group Two Black Top in which Jason Mackay has 5 runners engaged, only to finish second.
‘You never count your chickens in greyhound racing, anything can happen. Even though I have three in the final, I was in a similar position last year and came second, so I’m just waiting to see what happens’.
‘All three have had a perfect preparation and I’ll just be glad to get them kenneled and know I’ve done everything I can at giving them the best possible chance’.
‘The rest is up to them’ Gatt added.
Box One – My Bella Rose – Allan Manwaring ($26): has had a consistent series placing third in her heat and semi-final after being the early leader. Does have genuine early pace and this suitable box draw can help her run a cheeky race.
Box Two – Folk Tails – Carly Absalom ($18): flew home to run third last week behind Ritza Danny and finished third the previous week, clocking a personal best time of 30.46. Will need to improve her box manners significantly to test this hot field.
Box Three – Fantastic Barb – Jason Fletcher ($7.50): impeccably bred greyhound with the second fastest personal best of the field with 30.01. Has been competitive throughout the series and can run another solid race from this draw.
Box Four – Ritza Hattie – Mark Gatt ($1.50): The undoubted superstar of the series who blitzed in her heat and semi-final, recording a low-flying personal best on Monday of 29.64 from box four. Only has to repeat last week’s performance to secure her 5th consecutive victory.
Box Five – Genetic Jenny – Judith Fisher ($23): Ran a respectable second behind Ritza Liam, clocking a personal best of 30.31. Has solid career form and can improve on last week’s performance, however will have to overcome the difficult middle draw.
Box Six – Sutton Flight – John Thorpe ($23): was extremely gallant in defeat last week behind Ritza Hattie and clocked a fast personal best of 30.06. Can be competitive at the finish once again, but will need some luck from this draw.
Box Seven – Ritza Danny – Mark Gatt ($5): Chasing his fourth consecutive win after an impressive display on Monday, chasing down the leader, clocking 30.25. After sitting second early, whizzed passed the early leader on the home turn to accelerate away by 8.75 lengths. Has shown plenty of ability in all his races and can challenge this field at the finish.
Box Eight – Ritza Liam – Mark Gatt ($6.50): Second fastest semi-final qualifier, clocking a fast personal best of 30.11. Had every excuse to lose the race after being checked at the start and the first turn and made his way through to field to draw away at the finish. Can get some luck from this wide draw and very capable of saluting at the finish.