Three heats of the Group 3 Sportingbet Cyril Rowe Plate were run and won at Bulli on Wednesday night. The fastest heat winner was big track specialist Knocka’s Return, who clocked 26.03 for the 472 metre journey. Here’s how the heats played out and the box draw for next week’s final.
Natural Player (2) went to the boxes as favourite, but it was track debutant My Signature (1) that stole the show. Beginning well from the inside, My Signature gave nothing else a chance to lead all the way in a fast 26.06. Pantone Green (7) began well but wasn’t able to finish off. Natural Player (2) tried hard coming into the turn to push through Pantone Green and My Signature, but couldn’t find any room. Meanwhile, Zipping Logan (8) worked across nicely from box eight and secured a clear spot on the rails to be second going around the turn. Ritza Ryder (6) was back near last but drew on all his experience at the track to position well and run home for third behind Zipping Logan. My Signature won by a convincing four lengths and recorded 10.00 to the first mark and a 6.61 run home.
Knocka’s Return (7) made up for his brother’s luckless performance in the first heat and finished too strongly for Osteria Mozza to win in 26.03 by one and a quarter lengths. Belfast Johnny (8) was the short priced favourite but bombed the start from the outside box. He did well to navigate the field, finish third to qualify for next week’s final. Osteria Mozza (6) led with a 9.97 first section, but was grabbed three quarters of the way up the home straight by Knocka’s Return, who handled the outside box well. The run home was a strong 6.53.
Slow beginner Gradence (3) was the favourite, but his box traits went against him as he gave too much ground to the leaders and has qualified as the first reserve after finishing third. When the boxes opened it was Spring Eddie (2) that was best away, recording the same 9.97 first section that Osteria Mozza did in the heat prior. Ay Grade (4) was trying hard early, but wanted the rails and couldn’t get through. Fast Archer (8) was returning from a long spell and had to do a bit of work from the outside but he kept chasing hard and was making ground on Spring Eddie in the run home, abbreviating the margin to two lengths. Spring Eddie recorded 26.39 for the trip, the slowest of the three heats.
The field and box draw for the final on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 (including heat times) is:
1. Ritza Ryder – Mark Gatt (26.41)
2. Spring Eddie – Bruce Lloyd (26.39)
3. Zipping Logan – John Chapman (26.31)
4. My Signature – Lena Sweetman (26.06)
5. Belfast Johnny – Troy Vella (26.24)
6. Knocka’s Return – Mark Wilcox (26.03)
7. Fast Archer – Clay Mullens (26.51)
8. Osteria Mozza – Christine Oldfield (26.13)
9. Gradence – Mark Gatt (26.39)
10. Natural Player – Mark Wilcox (26.45)