CAMERON Butcher will have three chances at capturing next week’s Group 3 Brian Johnstone decider (515m) after two semi-finals of the $25,000 to the winner series were run at Angle Park on Thursday night.
The favourite in the first qualifier was Butcher’s classy youngster On Fire (box two), however he was slow to leave the traps, with his kennel mate and litter sister Purpose Driven (box one) instead rolling through along the fence to take the lead.
Heading through the pen and down the back straight, Purpose Driven extended her lead, with On Fire working into second spot and coming out after his sister.
But swinging for home Purpose Driven was in a world of her own, striding to the line to score by a huge seven length margin in a fast 29.78.
Filling the trifecta back in third was first reserve Booti Booti (box five), with Dashing Djay (box four) also scoring a spot in the final after running fourth.
A daughter of Bekim Bale and Alana Blues, Purpose Driven has now won four races from 15 starts with a further eight minor placings.
Long Gully Gilly (box seven) was the favourite in the second semi-final, but when the lids flew open Bekalia’s Freak (box three) speared straight to the front of the pack.
Once out in front it was a case of times and margins, with the Martin Doyle-trained bitch leading throughout to record a one-and-a-half lengths win in a speedy 29.96.
Long Gully Gilly ran a huge race to finish second after finding trouble throughout the run, with Cameron Butcher’s Buzz Box (box eight) and Bozidar Stamenkovic’s Phantom Sun (box six) booking their spots in the final after running third and fourth respectively.
The Group 3 Brian Johnstone final is opened to South Australian-bred greyhounds whelped between July 1 and December 2014, with the final worth $25,000 and set to be held at Angle Park next Thursday night.
Group 3 Brian Johnstone – box draw
1 Long Gully Gilly
2 Bekalia’s Freak
3 On Fire
4 Buzz Box
5 Purpose Driven
6 Booti Booti
7 Phantom Sun
8 Dashing Djay
1st Res Long Gully Emma
2nd Res Long Gully Jonny