RICHMONDwillhost the next leg of the Thank Dog It’s Friday series tomorrow, with the final of the Group 2 Richmond Derby to be run and won over 535 metres.
First introduced in 1974 for male dogs only, this final has been won by some of Australia’s greatest sprinters including Stately Bird, Cyrus The Virus and Jagger Swagger.
Local trainer Melinda Finn had the fastest qualifier from the four heats conducted last week, with Winsome Mission clocking a sizzling time of 30.38. Finn’s other chaser Winsome Prince had the best run home time of the night, recording a flying split of 15.08, in an impressive 30.68 display from box one.
Group One Peter Mosman winner Bessy Boo dropped back in distance last Friday night and didn’t disappoint trainer Christine Proctor, producing another classic come from behind performance in 30.61.
Boom youngster No Donuts was the final heat winner for Johannes Vanderburg, taking his career record to an impeccible four wins from six starts and saluted in 30.58 by a neck, in a great go to the line.
Successful connections will secure $40,000 in prize money, with the race start time scheduled for 8.58pm EDST.
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “He has been a great chaser for quite a while now and he deserves his spot in the final, however last week he was very lucky in his heat and he was afforded all the breaks mid race. He is suitably drawn in the red but he is likely to get a long way back early and I can’t see him giving these types of chasers a start and a beating. Can maybe sneak into third spot but a win would definitely surprise me.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “My top pick and I think this bloke is the real deal. Two starts back he really impressed me when he beat Bad Boy Sniper with ease in 30.40 here and then last week he was forced to work hard mid race but he was still good enough to score. He essentially has the red draw tonight and with a slow beginner on his outside, he should be able to find the lead easily and he will be running some serious time on the lure. He is a star in the making and I think he will be great value in this event.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Extremely strong chaser who has won two of three over this trip and of those three efforts his losing run was probably his most impressive performance. Last week he settled back in the field early but he made a strong move mid race and he took a fair bit of ground off the classy Winsome Mission in the run home. If he can drive through at the first bend tonight and settle in the first half of the field he could give the leader something to think about.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Was desperately unlucky in his heat and he looked quite lost through the bends. He will have derived a lot of benefit from that run and he could be the value in the final. I have no doubts that he could match any one of these runners one on one and he has the ability to show early speed at times. If he can get away cleanly tonight he could settle in the top three early and he will give a great sight at odds.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Speared the lids last week and never looked back when scoring the fastest heat win in 30.38 and if he repeats that effort he will win with ease, however he doesn’t normally begin like that and I can’t see him doing it two weeks in a row. He has the benefit of a slow beginner on his outside but I can still see him being squeezed at as they negotiate the first turn. There is no doubting he has the talent to score but I think the box draw will bring him unstuck tonight.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Powerhouse stayer in the making and he is going well enough to be a major player in this. Two starts back he got a dream run early and sighted the lure soon after the start and on that occasion he reeled off a ridiculous 30.13 win here. Tonight I think he is going to settle in the last two early and he is going to find it very hard to give chasers of this calibre a start and a beating. He is going to be a mighty stayer in the future and I think place claims appear best tonight.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Talented chaser who has a great record here and he was far from disgraced when placed in his heat, however this is a big step up in class for him and he would need to lead clearly to win. He has begun well from wide draws in the past but there appear to be two or three other chasers with superior early speed and I can see him getting shuffled well back in the early stages. Will start big odds and I can’t see him impacting the scoreboard.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Class act and I couldn’t believe it when he speared off at the first turn here last week but he showed his true class when he balanced up and managed to hit the line well to score. I would have preferred him drawn nearer the inside but there isn’t a lot high speed underneath so with a clean getaway he should be able to drive across and lead or at worst sit outside No Donuts in the early stages. He has tremendous mid race speed and that should allow him to stay in contention for the entire journey. Had he drawn inside No Donuts, he would have been my top pick but I think he might struggle to cross him early so the quinella spot might be best.”