Mark Gatt’s Ritza Donna carved out a slick 29.72 in a best of night performance in the heats of the National Futurity at Wentworth Park on Friday night.
Jumping from box six, Ritza Donna chased down a gallant She’s Savage to qualify fastest for next Saturday’s $75,000-to-the-winner final, with this race series only open to bitches.
Spotting the leader several lengths into the back straight, the recent Group One Dapto Megastar victor charged her way into the final but will have to contend with the six-alley next week.
A lovely story from the runner up is young NSW country trainer Jessica Savage securing her first group one finalist with She’s Savage, after showing brilliant early speed to cross from box eight and has drawn ideally from the wide alley in the final.
Despite her double-figure odds, Chic won her heat impressively from out wide, pushing her way across the field and stopping the clock in a speedy 29.77 for trainer Peter Presutto. Presutto also tasted success two races later with Idolize giving him a second qualifier, posting an equally impressive time of 29.88.
Champion trainer Anthony Azzopardi justified his long trip north with Caroline producing a gutsy come from behind win in heat two of the futurity from box six in 30.23, however she hasn’t drawn ideally in the final coming up with the middle alley.
Mick Harman continued his great run of form, qualifying two runners in heats of the National Derby with Pristine Image (29.91) and Springview Noah (30.02) respectively.
Victorian chasers Slingshot Jonesy, for former jockey-turned trainer Emily Azzopardi, won in 30.04, while Persuasive (29.94), for Jason Magri and Boston Garden (29.79), for caretaker trainer Christine Proctor, also won their heats.
Slingshot Jonesy’s littermate Slingshot Hooks took out the opening heat for Darren Sultana in 30.26.
The winners of each of next Saturday’s group one finals at Wentworth Park will earn $75,000 for connections.
Group One National Derby Final Box Draw
- Slingshot Jonesy – Emily Azzopardi
- Zara’s Ivan – Andrea Dailly
- Osprey Phantom – Christine Proctor
- Slingshot Hooks – Darren Sultana
- 5. Springview Noah – Mick Hardman
- Persuasive – Jason Magri
- Pristine Image – Mick Hardman
- Boston Garden – Christine Proctor
- Compliance – Jason Magri
- Horchata – Glen Goodwin
Group One National Futurity Box Draw
- Coco Model – Andrew Bell
- Yuko Girl – Sam Sultana
- Idolize – Peter Presutto
- Zipping Pearl – Melinda Finn
- 5. Caroline – Anthony Azzopardi
- Ritza Donna – Mark Gatt
- Chic – Peter Presutto
- She’s Savage – Jessica Savage
- Amarillo – Peter Mattress
- Dulceria – Matt Helibronn