As the pursuit of group racing glory continues this week, punters and spectators alike will be treated to yet another tantalizing weekend at Wentworth Park. The action starts on Friday with the semi-finals of both the Group Three New Sensation and The Group Three Magic Maiden series.
Both semi-final series contain some sensational young sprinters and provide the perfect appetizer for Saturday night- when the track will again light up for the semi-finals of the Group One Golden Easter Egg as well as the heats of The Association Cup- which will see some of Australia’s best stayers converge on Sydney for their own slice of the group racing action.
The first of the semi’s to kick off on Friday will be the $25,000 to the winner Magic Maiden Series, with four fantastic fields assembling for what is sure to be a thrilling competition. Impressive heat winner Good Odds Demon looks a live chance in the first semi-final after his gutsy chasing effort in claiming his heat victory. Beginning only moderately from box two, he was crossed early and had to dig deep before finding the lead and eventually stretching out to win by two and a half lengths on the line. The well bred son of Collision and handy race bitch Punk Angel was having his first start on Sunday with his slick victory in 30.24 seconds indicating that he may have a bright future on the racetrack for his astute mentor Frank Hurst.
Fellow heat winner Ibrox Digger, out of star stayer Laura’s Legacy also showed some talent on Sunday and should be considered after his 30.22 heat success, whilst Big Daddy Cool youngster Cloud Ten will also be in contention after his 30.54 effort when taking out his heat. One that may slip under the radar and should definitely not be overlooked is flying Jilliby pup Mike Marlow who came in third to Ibrox Digger on Sunday. Whilst he was safely held by four and a half lengths on the line, the son of Lochinvar Marlow certainly has a massive motor recording a scorching 29.78 in a performance trial at Gosford earlier this month. Out of the fantastic racer Fascinate Marina, Mike Marlow was bred to be speedy and punters should not rule him out of this week’s semi-final.
Heat Two will see heat winners Palucka, Tollo and Zipping Simba vie for their spots in the final. Palucka is yet another one of Lochinvar Marlow’s handy offspring who has made it through to the semi’s, with the Kristy Sultana trained speedster a dominant all the way victor in his heat. Running a sizzling 30.19 seconds the black dog was triumphant at start four for his Londonderry trainer, and with a nippy first section of 5.49 seconds, he should be racing up with the leaders, if he repeats last week’s flawless beginning.
Looking to bring him undone will be Zipping Simba- a member of the astute Jason Mackay kennel who won his heat last week in 30.46 seconds. Whilst his victory may not have been as fast as Palucka’s performance, it was just as impressive as he overcame all sorts of trouble to finish over the top of his rivals. The son of champion Mantra Lad certainly has the bloodlines to be quick on the track, being out of prolific producer Or Catra, and with his heat success being his only race start, he will certainly improve for the semi-finals this week. Mark Bells Tollo also lines up in Semi two after a heat victory on Sunday and whilst his time was only 30.58 seconds, he has recorded a handy performance trial at Richmond clocking 30.95 seconds for the 535 metre trip.
Lochinvar Brando looks the standout in semi-final three with the Robert Smith trained dynamo scoring an emphatic victory at headquarters on Sunday when taking out his heat. Continuing the trend of being well bred, the son of Where’s Pedro and Smart Betsy could not have been more exciting when winning by two lengths in a nippy 30.19 seconds. Lochinvar Brando was having his fifth start on Sunday, and after running two placing’s in prior starts he was able to salute with his experience certainly being an advantage.
Also in contention from the cherry in semi-final three is the Doreen Drynan prepared Doo Wop Hooligan who was a winner in a moderate 30.59 seconds on Sunday. After a slow getaway, the black daughter of Premier Fantasy and Wentworth Park Specialist Eluthra had to work extremely hard, posted wide the entire trip and showed plenty of tenacity in running down early leaders Got the Life and Dither.
David Pringle’s heat winner Travelling Joe is also in with a chance and is well boxed in the two alley after a 30.46 triumph. Those looking for value in heat three should also be mindful of the Brian Mckivat trained Clonakilty Man who was a luckless second to Palucka in his heat. The blue dog was never out of trouble and did a fantastic job in running second for his Marulan mentor with a race victory not too far away based on his determined effort.
The fourth and final heat will be the most anticipated with another of Jason Mackay’s starters in the series, Tricky Jade, the fastest of the heat winners last week. Posting a sizzling first section split of 5.48 seconds the Bit Chilli Youngster was far too strong for her opposition, clearing away to win by an ultra-impressive ten and a half lengths in a scintillating 29.86 seconds. Out of a former National Futurity finalist in Navigator Miss, the black sprinter was having just her first race start after two impressive performance trials at Unibet Gardens and Wentworth Park.
Whilst Mackay’s charge looks the favourite she will have some tough opposition in heat winner Black Rip who took out his heat in 30.51 seconds and Jane Curruthers Clockwise who was shunted back in her heat after leading and did a brilliant job when coming back along the rails to qualify in second. By Magic Sprite out of the impressive chaser Elizabeth Royal, the powerhouse has clocked some fast times in performance trials, most notably a flying 29.88 seconds at Gosford in February. The well-bred bitch is certainly in with a big chance and should be given a second chance.
The semi- finals of this prestigious maiden series will definitely be exciting with many of these pups sure to improve. Racing kicks off at 7:18pm on Friday night, with all eyes focused on The Ultimo Circuit as the next generation of Australian sprinters is unveiled.