Maitland hosted seven heats of the Group Two Maitland Gold Cup on Thursday afternoon. The highlight was Paw Licking’s track record-breaking run in the fourth heat. The record was previously held by Exclusive One and was set in May 2012. Other dogs to hold the record include Pororoca, Knocka Norris and Barcia Bale, so Paw Licking places himself in some illustrious company.
The seven heat winners and the fastest second qualified for the final, which takes place at Maitland next Thursday night.
Heat One – Group Two Maitland Gold Cup
Magic Diore (1) upset the favourite Chica Destacada (5), who could only manage fourth. Magic Diore wasn’t given much chance pre-race, starting at odds of $21 on the tote. The Magic Sprite – Avon Lee bitch had to work hard for the win and she finished too strongly for El Silverado (7) and Vanessa’s Flame (8), winning by one length in 25.46.
Heat Two – Group Two Maitland Gold Cup
Fire Elusive (2), for Jason Mackay, was too good in heat two. He led a few strides out of the box and secured a three-and-a-half length victory in a fast 25.12. Mr Babicci (3) didn’t begin well enough and finished third, while Nosey Rozy (8) was last early, suffered some interference and flew home to finish second. Zipping Tess (7) was unable to put herself into the race from the wide draw.
Heat Three – Group Two Maitland Gold Cup
Rose Sannette (1) lived up to her reputation as a box one specialist when she won heat three in 25.25 from the rails draw. She led from start to finish and won by an increasing seven lengths for trainer Kevin Johnson. Lil Miss Sparkle (8) went well on her return from a spell to finish second and Bella Senora (3) filled the other minor placing.
Heat Four – Group Two Maitland Gold Cup
Paw Licking (4) looked the stand-out and he proved it with a track record-breaking run. Beginning sweetly from box four, he hit the lead and let loose. The track record of 24.88 was lowered down to 24.87 and he will be the favourite for the final next week. New Gleam (1) was five lengths away in second and Yo Cool Maxie (6) was another four-and-a-quarter lengths behind in third.
Heat Five – Group Two Maitland Gold Cup
Gradence (5) worked his way from last to first over the course of the 450 metre trip. He has an uncanny knack of working his way through a field and that was on display again in this heat. He was last from box five early, worked himself into fourth around the turn and then unleashed his flying finish down the outside of the track to nab early leader King Sapphire (2) mid-way up the home straight and emerge the one-and-a-half length winner in 25.32. King Sapphire held on for second from Bojack Kahn (3).
Heat Six – Group Two Maitland Gold Cup
A head separated the first two place-getters in the sixth heat, with Miner’s Moss (6) just lasting from a fast finishing Waymore’s Blues (8) in 25.29. It was an unlucky result for Waymore’s Blues, who just misses out on making the final. He will be the first reserve. The Mark Gatt trained Mexico City (2) finished third after pushing strongly for the lead in the early stages. Tasmanian raider Varcoe (4) began terribly and was never in it.
Heat Seven – Group Two Maitland Gold Cup
Magic Marlow (2) was best served at box-rise and held the early lead, but wasn’t good enough to outlast Natural Player (8) who showed great field sense from box eight. Natural Player stayed away from trouble on the outside and when turning for home, switched to the rail to run down Magic Marlow and win by half-a-length in 25.27. Ridiculousness (1) recovered from a heavy bump with Splash About (3) to finish third.
The qualifiers for the final, in order of time, are:
Paw Licking – 24.87 (Kel Greenough)
Fire Elusive – 25.12 (Jason Mackay)
New Gleam – 25.22 (Darren Russell)
Rose Sannette – 25.25 (Kevin Johnson)
Natural Player – 25.27 (Mark Wilcox)
Miner’s Moss – 25.29 (Mathew Reid)
Gradence – 25.32 (Mark Gatt)
Magic Diore – 25.46 (Garry Streatfield)
First Reserve – Waymore’s Blues – 25.30 (Glenn Rounds)
Second Reserve – Magic Marlow – 25.31 (Alan Woodward)