The first semi saw the in-form Whata Nice Size start the heavily supported top elect from box one, following on from his 31.06 heat win the week prior. The son of Elite Blue Size and Chevy Cherokee walked out of the boxes before pushing up along the fence where he found trouble and fell heavily around the first turn. In the meantime, reserve runner Maywyn’s Keeper cruised around the outside from box eight, assuming the lead and shot clear down the back straight. The Robert Essex-trained chaser crossed the line one-and-a-half lengths clear of Razen Toast (box five) in a respectable 30.98 over the 530-metre trip.
Maywyn’s Keeper started at the odds of $42.30 having not won a race prior to Saturday’s semi-final. The son of Magic Sprite and Where’s Asher now has 14 starts for one win and five minor placings.
The second semi-final was wide open, with six of the eight runners starting under double figures. Punters eventually settled on With A Gee from the pink, but the black dog got caught wide around the first turn after a moderate start. Sivamet (box seven) led the field down the back ahead of Majestic Jester (box four) and Derek Zoolander (box three), but In The Picture (box two) started winding up strongly and weaving his way through the field. The big 35.7 kilogram greyhound cruised by the leader on the home turn, stretching out to score by three lengths in 30.77. With A Gee ran a very good race to finish second and book his spot in the final.
In The Picture is yet to miss a place from six career starts, winning once with three seconds and two thirds around Ipswich and Lismore for trainer Mark Wilkes.
Waikarie Magic (box three) looked the good thing in the third semi-final and was subsequently sent to the boxes as the $2.40 favourite. The Brian Baker-prepared youngster was outpaced in the early stages, but was able to find a gap on the first turn and slip into second spot behind Maywyns’s Ying (box two). Despite her best efforts, Waikarie Magic was unable to reel-in the lamplighter which gave Robert Essex his second qualifier for the $40,000-to-the-winner final when scoring at double figure odds in a handy 30.93.
Maywyn’s Ying, a son of Bonshaw Boy and Maywyn Or Ebay, collected his first win at start 12 after running second in his semi-final last week.
The fourth semi-final was a rough house affair with Blue Scorpion (box four) and Iffi Wins (box five) both falling around the first turn, with outside runners War Picture (box seven) and Pacific Champ (box eight) able to avoid most of the trouble, crossing over to the rails. War Picture had the advantage of the rails running into the back straight and was able to kick away from his main challenger which held on gamely to second spot throughout the entire race. At the finish, War Picture finished three-and-a-quarter lengths clear of Pacific Champ in an impressive 30.80. Favourite Waikarie Warrior (box three) found trouble and finished well back in the field.
War Picture gave Mark Wilkes his second semi-final winner, with the victory bringing up his seventh career triumph at start 20.
The Group 2 Ipswich Auction final will be run and won next Saturday night with winning connections pocketing $40,000.
Group 2 Ipswich Auction final box draw
Box One – Razen Toast – Darren Russell
Box Two – Maywyn’s Keeper – Robert Essex
Box Three – With A Gee – Sylvia Hawkings
Box Four – In The Picture – Mark Wilkes
Box Five – Waikarie Magic – Brian Baker
Box Six – Maywyn’s Ying – Robert Essex
Box Seven – Pacific Champ – Tom Tzouvelis
Box Eight – War Picture Mark Wilkes