The Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint series kicked off at Wentworth Park last night, with four fantastic heats the highlight of the ten race card. The heats had everything to offer on paper and the action on the track did not disappoint. However, there were a few surprises with some of the series favourites going down in spectacular fashion.
The first heat went to the Peter Hunt- prepared Cracker Jack Lil who was able to overcome a horror box five draw to land the cash. The daughter of Go Wild Teddy and Lil’s Memory has a stack of talent but her form had been mixed over recent starts, albeit against some stiff competition in Victoria. Back to her brilliant best at the Glebe circuit, Cracker Jack Lil pinged straight to the front of the field courtesy of a scorching 5.35s first split. Once she hit the front, her competitors were always going to find it difficult to run her down. The blue speedster dashed to the line two and three quarter lengths ahead of Frank Hurst’s Good Odds John in a slick 29.88s.
Cracker Jack Lil now boasts the impressive record of 52 starts for 25 wins and 13 minor placings. The Victorian bitch is renowned for her sizzling early sectionals- her early toe saw her right in the market for the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg back in March where she led the race before succumbing to the powerful Grigorieva Bale down the back.
The second heat went to Hunter Valley sprinter Zipping Willow for Richmond Vale mentor Jason Mackay. Fresh from her victory in last Sunday’s Group 3 Canberra Cup, the daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass showed her customary early dash to find the front in the run to the first turn and was never behind another runner. Turning for home Zipping Willow bounded along brilliantly, crossing the line three and three quarter lengths ahead of roughie Apollo Reign in a fast 29.71s.
The National Sprint Champion, Xylia Allen, could not match it with the exciting young bitch from a bad draw after finding trouble, finishing four lengths behind the winner in third position.
The third heat went to the aptly named Lucks Changed who managed to use box one to perfection for Llandilo trainer Peter Lagogiane. The daughter of Mandagery Man was second past the post on the first occasion, but managed to rail through on the first turn and assume the lead from Purcell Bale in the run down the back straight. From there the brindle bitch kicked clear, saluting by a widening five lengths on the line in a nippy 29.91s.
Lucks Changed has now won 11 races from 41 racetrack appearances with a further 13 placings. If she can run up to her 29.67s personal best over the track and distance in Saturday’s final she will be right in the race with a live chance. Purcell Bale managed to cling on for second ahead of the fast finishing Stetson Donna.
The fourth and final heat went to another member of Peter Hunt’s talented kennel. Beginning well from a wide draw in box seven, Gold Town was able to carve across the field and find the lead early. From there it was a case of times and margins as the son of Surf Lorian cruised along out in front to notch up a BON 29.64s success. Gold Town is a very underrated sprinter with 18 wins and 22 minors to his name after 60 starts on the track. The 32 kilogram chaser loves Wentworth Park with a flying 29.49s recorded back in March. He also brings with him some terrific form and times from the city tracks in Victoria.
Sticking on well in second position was Desalle Bale who just couldn’t match motors with her fellow Victorian in the run down the back. Race favourite Zulu Zeus was never in contention after taking a heavy tumble on the first turn. Luckily the son of Where’s Pedro was able to pick himself up and finish off the event.
The box draw for the Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint is as follows:
Box 1: Apollo Reign
Box2: Good Odds John
Box 3: Desalle Bale
Box 4: Purcell Bale
Box 5: Gold Town
Box 6: Cracker Jack Lil
Box 7: Lucks Changed
Box 8: Zipping Willow
1st Res: Xylia Allen
2nd Res: Between Wicketts