At 6:29pm on Monday evening we will know the result of the Bathurst Soldiers Saddle, with the winning owner and trainer $10,000 richer. A quality field of finalists will face the starter and when the lids open all eyes will be on that vital run to the first turn to see who emerges in front.
Jack’s Joker (Collision ex. Lachlan’s Gift) has drawn Box 1. The black dog, owned by Amy Pringle and trained by David Pringle, got into the final after getting a run as a reserve and winning his semi in 29.94. He can be a bit hit and miss at box rise but is capable of running fast times, including a 29.52 win at Gosford and 26.25 at Bulli. He has had three starts from box 1 for a win and a place. He is strong and with some luck early, he may well feature in the top three.
The likely favourite for the race lines up in Box 2. Soviet Missile has run some blistering times over the 520 metre trip at Bathurst and his semi win was great evidence of that, winning in 29.63 and breaking the second sectional record in the process. The Where’s Pedro ex. Jacinta Bale dog, trained by Toby Weekes, also had the fastest first section (4.26) from the semi’s. If he leads or is close to the leader, then the race will be his for the taking.
Marie Burton’s Fancy Rhythm, in Box 3, is a good beginner with early speed. He has won his last two at Bathurst and the black dog by Brett Lee ex. Fancy Penny will give this race a good shake if he leads. He has recorded a personal best of 30.08 at the track. He is yet to win from Box 3 but he has placed on the two occasions he has started from that box.
Zipping Genie is the most experienced runner in the field, with 36 runs under her belt for four wins. The white and fawn bitch by Big Daddy Cool ex. Agent Gibbs will start from Box 4 and hasn’t won at the track, but has managed a win from the box over 618 metres at Richmond. She qualified through to the final behind Crackin Sort last week, beaten seven lengths in 30.09. There’s a bit of speed around her and she may struggle to get the luck to feature.
Bollee Boy, in Box 5, is Weekes’ second runner in the final. He is a brother to Crackin Sort in Box 8 and is improving with more runs over the 520 metre distance. He’s not the best away at box rise, but is capable of running smart time on the bunny (including a 22.60 win over 400 metres at Richmond). If there’s any sort of trouble in the race, he may well be the smokey.
Von Ryan has drawn the difficult Box 6, but the Take the Kitty ex. Awesome Star dog, trained by Jack Lowe, has his fair share of ability. He ran 29.97 at the track two weeks ago from this very box. He’s had four starts at the track for two wins and a placing. He wasn’t the best away from Box 1 last week but ran home well for second.
Devine Awe, who will line up from Box 7, is a young dog worth keeping an eye on. He has had two looks at Bathurst now and improved from running a time of 30.58 to 30.19. He was beaten by Soviet Missile last week but went with him into the first turn, so he has plenty of early speed. The Lochinvar Marlow ex. Devine Style dog, trained by Patrick Parrelli, has only had five starts for three wins and a place. He backed up from his run at Bathurst last week to race at Maitland on Thursday over 450 metres, leading all the way to win in 25.24, which was only a length off the best of the night.
Drawn in the outside box is Crackin Sort. The 26kg black bitch is Weekes’ third runner in the race. She had this box last week when she led and bounded away to win by seven lengths in 30.09. The daughter of Collision ex. Skates has won five from nine and has a perfect record at the track with a personal best of 29.96. The eight box is perfect at Bathurst if there is a bit of trouble on the inside and she handles the box well, so she will definitely be in the mix.
On paper, Soviet Missile looks the winner. He has recorded super fast times at Bathurst and couldn’t have been more impressive winning last week. The dangers will come from those with consistent early speed such as Fancy Rhythm, Devine Awe and Crackin Sort. A few of these dogs may be well worth watching in the future as the race has produced prolific winners in the past.