Amongst the several high-grade events was the listed Champion Puppy final, which has been a part of the South Australian calendar for many years. Having always been a good guide for future topliners, the 2013 Champion Puppy winner Ernie Bung Arrow went on to reach much greater heights.
Two heats took place last Thursday and three litters would end up producing six of the eight finalists, with the favourite Gun McBain coming from the local Spring Gun x Flame McBain crop. He would line up in the cherry draw for the main event after winning his heat in 30.01 from box five.
Meanwhile, Footluce Diva and Sunday Shoes represented the well-publicised Vapour Whirl x Foot Luce litter, but both needed to improve on previous efforts to steal the $5000 first prize.
Once the bunny was in motion the form from the heats immediately stacked up with Gun McBain flying out of box one. He then gave his rivals a galloping lesson, leading all of the way in 30.02. Trained by Todd Kelly, he brought up win number 11 from only 20 starts and should have a bright future as he works his way through the grades in weeks to come.
Dyna Motley worked home well in the concluding stages to grab second place at lucrative odds, while Coulta Rock snatched third from the winner’s littermate, Gunsmoke McBain. At no stage did any of the chasing brigade come close to knocking off Gun McBain though, who was clearly the classiest runner of the final.
Meanwhile earlier in the night there were plenty of big names around with two Free-For-All races over different distances and also an entertaining mixed grade race over the 600m.
The stayers were the first on show in race three, with Long Gully Surf looking to bounce back to the winner’s list after settling for the minor money in his past four starts. Former Victorian, Defib Daryl, was the obvious danger on paper along with Victa Victoria from box eight, with those three dominating the market.
After a short-lived charge to the first corner, Defib Daryl was able to rail up to find the lead, with the other fancied runners putting in slow beginnings. Despite having an unchecked passage throughout, Defib Daryl started to get weary entering the home straight, but held on gamely to stave off a late charge from Zara Mclaren who got within a length.
Stopping the clock at 43.77, Defib Daryl now stands as a winner of 13 races, with three of those coming from five starts around Angle Park’s 731m trip. Moving to South Australia has been a lifeline for the former Group level stayer, now under the care of Petar Jovanovic.
After a small break, it was middle distance time, with a 3/4/5 grade race pitting the talents of Kim Johnstone’s Wild Soul, who had won four of its past five, against her own mum’s chaser Genghis Kahn, who was undefeated from four runs over the 600m.
Despite the tricky box five, Wild Soul was able to maintain its streak beating Spring Amanda for the second time in a row, in a time of 35.06, with Victa Scott running third.
Genghis Kahn wasn’t able to get a crack at them from box seven and had to settle for fourth on this occasion.
Rounding out the eye-catching races was the Free-For-All sprint over the regular 515m journey. Sidney’s Shadow would start favourite from the widest draw with the talented Wingard the only other runner given any hope with punters.
Despite a lot of shuffling and bumping at various stages during the race, the market reflected reality as Wingard and Sidney’s Shadow drew away in the run to the post. Coming from behind and having to go around runners for the entire trip, Sidney’s Shadow was still able to find enough in reserve to overpower Wingard and record an impressive victory.
The son of Mogambo and Alana Blues now boasts an overall record of 16 wins from 32 starts, and earnings of $36,000 for owner-trainer Cameron Butcher.