Four solid heats of the Rocky Ridge Gold Cup were conducted at Dubbo this afternoon, with some exciting performances setting up an enticing final for next Thursday afternoon.
Toby Weekes’ Soviet Missile was the fastest qualifier of the afternoon clocking a near-record 29.80 over the 516m, saluting comfortably by seven lengths over second placegetter Second Sight ($22.40) for Shannon Kirby. After beginning midfield, the son of Where’s Pedro and Jacinta Bale got a beautiful rails run to sit behind the early leader and raced away to notch up his seventh career win and will start a heavy favourite in next week’s final.
Heat one went too Londonderry trainer Anthony Azzopardi, who made the five hour trek to Dubbo with five runners engaged and will have an excellent chance in the final with Kulu Special, who qualified second fastest in 29.92. The son of Trewly Special, who is a new addition to the Azzopardi kennel, exited box five off good form at Wentworth Park where he clocked up two straight wins, with a personal best of 29.72. He held off the Toby Weekes trained $16.30 outsider Freddy’s Smile, who battled on gamely to finish second and qualify for next week.
Renowned breeder Martin Hallinan took out heat two with Tricky Jade, who ran down four-year-old Yo Cool Maxie to score by one and three quarter lengths in 29.97. The beautifully bred daughter of Bit Chili and Navigator Miss racked up her first win since December, where she sizzled around the 450 metres at Maitland in 25.13. Manyana Groper ran a brilliant race to finish second and will be a genuine contender next week.
Haves upset the favourites in the last heat for trainer Shannon Kirby, after a brilliant performance from box seven in 29.99. The daughter of Collision and Lachlan’s Gift weaved his way through the field and snuck along the rails in the home straight to score by half a length over the fast finishing Zipping Tess.
Next week’s final will attract plenty of attention, with winning connections set to receive a sensational $25,000 for their efforts.