Top Queensland trainer Christine Robartson would be heading into Thursday night confident of a spot in the Schweppes National Sprint final after gaining three entries in the final of the Brisbane leg.
Mrs Robartson swept the heats last Thursday night at Albion Park, picking up one win with Group Two winner High Earner, and the Quinella in a separate heat with Another Request and Yikes, respectively.
The Schweppes National Sprint and Distance finals will be run in Perth in September, a field made up of winners of each State’s leg of the race series.
The Brisbane Sprint final (Race Eight) will be a very open race after the box draw, with early favourite High Earner drawing box seven, and fastest qualifier the Tony Brett-trained Bogie Bomber in box six.
High Earner won his heat with class jumping out to the lead with a 5.68 first sectional.
It was his first start back from a short spell, and is expected to benefit from the race fitness.
Bogie Bomber ran an impressive race, backing up from his Townsville Cup third placing, winning his heat by almost five lengths in a career best 29.96, including a 5.76 first sectional.
It is expected that High Earner and Bogie Bomber will fight for the lead, but will need to come out with everything they have after Dwyer Lennon’s top dog Dashing Corsair drew the lucky red box.
Dashing Corsair has consistently improved over the past few months and rose to the occasion in the Group heats of the Winter Carnival including a spot in the Group Two Imagetec Gold Coast Cup where he ran second behind top southern performer Velocette.
Another top chance in this race will be on the very outside from box eight with Kallan Bale who won his heat in 30.03 with a smart first sectional of 5.75.
In the Distance Final (Race Six), there is no doubt the crowd will all be on born-again stayer, Seminole.
Seminole was trained by Mick Thrupp, an Albion Park larrikin who sadly lost his seven-year battle with cancer on Wednesday.
Seminole hit peak form recently since Mr Thrupp was unable to come to the track due to his illness, and is now handled by Reg Hazelgrove.
The Big Daddy Cool – Call Collect bitch ran a fast third behind That’s Twitchy in her heat from box eight.
Seminole drew a favourable box two in the final, and will be rated a top chance having beaten several of these starters in previous weeks.
Fastest qualifier for the distance final was Carine Lazari’s That’s Twitchy, who ran a solid 42.42 from the same box four that he has in the final.
It was only the second start over the distance for That’s Twitchy, who was unplaced two weeks ago, a same pattern for box five’s Hot Dessa.
Hot Dessa has performed well in recent weeks over the 600m and stepped up to the 710m only two weeks ago and finished unplaced.
The Stephen Arnold-trained performer showed she had what it takes from box two in her heat and won by a half length ahead of Irish Fantasy in 42.48.
Another that is sure to run well in this final is Smart Choice (box seven) and Uno Play Boy (box eight).
Smart Choice returned from a short break last week and led throughout the race, but it seemed fitness stopped him.
Uno Play Boy on the other hand, is a regular Thursday night 710m winner and is sure to be in the finish.
Other racing on the card at Albion Park will see emerging sprint sensation Voodoo Prince line up in a Best Eight (Race Seven).
The Group Three Darwin Cup runner up, who beat Queen Lauryn with a track record in the heat, is looking for a fourth straight win in Brisbane.
Jumping from box four it is hard to imagine anyone else coming close, but he will have some early competition from Townsville Cup-winner Ryan’s A Rocket in box seven.
Another to follow in this race is consistent improver Premier Chief, who has been climbing the grades recently with solid runs, and should be included in the exotics.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets:
- Race 3 Number 3 Blaine Bale
- Race 6 Number 2 Seminole
- Race 7 Number 4 Voodoo Prince