TALENTED stayers Lovelace and Acheron will both head into next weekend’s Group 3 Summer Cup (720m) as the fastest qualifiers, having clocked an identical time in their heats of the $25,000-to-the-winner series at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Starting from box one in heat one, Lovelace was able to stalk early leader Melissa’s Pride (box seven) throughout the majority of the event, joining the frontrunner on the home turn and storming down the centre of the track to score by half a length in 42.65.
Trained by John Smart, Lovelace has now won 11 of her 49 starts, including five over the testing trip at Wentworth Park.
Melissa’s Pride ran a good race to finish second, with grand campaigner Whittaker (box two) filling the trifecta back in third ahead of Winsome April (box four), with the first four past the post set to progress through to next Saturday’s decider.
The second and final heat saw group 1 Victorian star Ring The Bell start the favourite, however the brindle dog never really threatened during the run, finishing fourth.
Taking the early lead in the event was Spanish Flair (box four) which settled just ahead of Nangar Flame (box three), with the eventual race winner Acheron (box five) only beginning fairly and positioned back in fifth spot entering the straight on the first occasion.
However, in the run down the back, Acheron slipped into another gear, circling his opponents and drawing level with Nangar Flame, which had taken the lead, on the home turn.
Balancing up in the straight, the Steve Withers-trained dog went home too good for his opponents, crossing the line one-and-one quarter lengths clear of the fast finishing Gunnadoo Cove (box one) in 42.65, with Nangar Flame hanging on for third.
Trained in WA, Saturday night marked the first interstate appearance of Acheron, with the son of Velocette and Abbadale Elle taking his record to 17 wins and 29 minors from 65 starts, with a win in the final set to take his prize money earnings above the $100,000 mark.
The final of the Group 3 Summer Cup will be run and won at Wentworth Park next Saturday night and will be worth $25,000.
Group 3 Summer Cup – box draw
1 – Winsome April
2 – Ring The Bell
3 – Whittaker
4 – Nangar Flame
5 – Acheron
6 – Melissa’s Pride
7 – Gunnadoo Cove
8 – Lovelace
1st Res – Hooter Harnett
2nd Res – It’s A Bird