A healthy crowd was in attendance at Unibet Gardens last night, for the running of the Group One National Derby and Futurity finals, worth a juicy $75,000 each to the winner.
Eight talented bitches stepped out in the National Futurity Final, with Mark Gatt’s Ritza Hattie starting the $1.70 favourite. There was solid support for Smashing Sally (2) at $5.00 and Jason Mackay’s handy youngster Zipping Delta ($6.90).
The race began with Queen Esther jumping brilliantly from box three and leading at the first turn over Rue De Kahn and Cawbourne Rev. Approaching the top turn, Rue De Kahn surged past Queen Esther to take the lead and race away up the straight in a sizzling time of 29.49, returning a huge dividend of $21.80 for lucky punters. Queen Esther ($40.70) battled on bravely to finish second, with Cawbourne Rev ($9.00) winding up in third position. Pre-race favourite Ritza Hattie failed to get across from the wide draw and finished in fourth position.
Rue De Kahn’s trainer Dean Swain couldn’t keep his feet off the ground after the race, embracing family and friends along with his astute father Syd Swain.
Mark Gatt also put the polish on National Derby pre-race favourite Boyce Road ($1.70), who stepped out in his second Group One final after just 14 career starts from box one. When the lids flew, Evil Punk ($6.20) was the best to begin with Zipping Brock crossing fast from the outside. They matched strides for the entire race, with Zipping Brock ($4.90) prevailing at the finish by a neck in a sensational time of 29.46. The winner is trained by Peter Dapiran in Victoria and owned by renowned breeders Martin and Fiona Hallinan. The Hallinan’s also secured third place with Waymore’s Blues ($8.90), giving the entire family a night to remember. Boyce Road missed the start and suffered unfortunate interference at the first turn, forcing him back in the field and out of contention.