TALENTED Victorian Kerrigan Bale was the fastest qualifier from Friday night’s Group 1 National Futurity heats at Wentworth Park, clocking a hot 29.81 over 520 metres.
Her trainer, Andrea Dailly, also had the second-fastest qualifier in Spring Leaf (29.91), while the Jason Mackay-trained Megan Keeping exploded from the pink box in heat two, clocking a lightning first sectional of 5.30 before stopping the clock in 30.04.
Kerrigan Bale pushed up along the rails from box one, assuming the lead in the run to the first turn in the fourth heat. Once she had clear galloping room, the daughter of High Earner and Maple Bale shot clear, defeating Mackay’s Zipping Midge (4) by four-and-three-quarter lengths on the line.
The brindle bitch has been in excellent form, winning her heat of the Paws of Thunder two weeks ago followed by a great third in the final behind Dyna Villa.
Another of Dailly’s Paws of Thunder finalists, Spring Leaf, proved too classy in the sixth and final qualifier. Stepping cleanly from box two, Spring Leaf found the rails going around the first turn with Miss Dover and Oakvale Flyer (box five) challenging for the lead.
Down the back and Spring Leaf slipped away as her two main rivals came together, both losing all chance. Ella Has Class (box eight) ran a handy race to grab second, but was no match for the winner, which finished four lengths in front.
Race A Chaser syndications , which is owned by Australian Racing Greyhound’s parent company Race Media, had plenty to cheer about when Megan Keeping scored an all-the-way victory to book her spot in the semi-finals.
Recording a blistering 5.30 early section, the black daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Indigo Gem was never in danger, romping in by eight-and-a-half lengths.
Now a winner of eight from 16, Megan Keeping looks to have plenty of improvement with her heat win being her first “500” since April last year. Shares are still available in Megan Keeping.
Powerful Victorian training duo Jeff Britton and Angela Langton also won heats on Friday night with Eyes Adorable first to salute in the third heat for Langton.
The well-bred daughter of Collision and Sassy Sprite was having only her 11th career start but showed great determination to push up underneath the field in the early stages, quickly taking the lead and never being headed from that point. Mackay’s Frost Yourself (box three) never left the winner alone and was gallant in defeat, going down by just a neck in a respectable 30.32.
Oakvale Destiny (box five) gave Britton his heat winner in the fifth qualifier, showing loads of class to weave her way through the field and find the front. The blue bitch is already a Group 1 winner, having taken out last year’s Sapphire Crown at Sandown Park, and she looks right in contention for this title, too. Despite posting only 30.34, the style of the win was outstanding and she will be a key player in next Saturday’s semi-finals.
Britton had another two runners progress to the next stage with Mepunga Treasure and Weblec Belle finishing in the placings in their respective heats. Mepunga Treasure (box two) ran second to Zipping Abby (box eight) in the opening heat, with the winner putting in a strong performance to triumph.
The fawn bitch got plenty of room to move in the early stages when Miss Pocano (box seven) cut across the field to find the rail and take the early lead. This allowed Zipping Abby to sweep casually around the outside and set off in pursuit of the pacemaker, finding the lead down the back and drawing clear to record a 30.06 win.
Semi-finals of the National Futurity will be held next Saturday before the $75,000-to-the-winner final the following week.