Ali The Great has a big name to live up to, and since being transferred into the hands of young Ben Rawlings, he has started to look like a dog worthy of the title. Just like his namesake, he has now thrust himself into the limelight after a brilliant front-running display in the opening heat of the South Australian leg of the National Sprint Championships.
Starting from box eight in a race with a lot of strength on paper, Ali The Great was able to cut over to lead the field around the first bend and hold off all challengers a best-of-night 29.92.
This chaser has turned his form around drastically since coming over from Victoria, and despite taking a few runs to find form around Angle Park, this most recent victory makes it four in a row, and fifth win from his last seven starts.
Kalden Kurageous for Troy Murray was runner-up behind Ali The Great, with Contrarian finishing third from the rails draw. Wonder Whirl, Encosta Kahn and Fire Tyson were amongst those that were eliminated from the opening heat.
Former NSW sprinter Young Snozz proved he still has what it takes, earning himself the chance to head to The Meadows with a win in the second heat. With the likes of Kalden Mischief, Flying Tee and Victa Sam engaged, Young Snozz was sent out at odds of $5.20 by the time the lids opened.
The race was between Flying Tee and Kalden Mischief at the half way point, but with both being desperate for the rail, they got in each other’s way and allowed those dogs behind them to catch up. Young Snozz was the first to pounce on that opportunity, and ran around that duo to steal the lead and knowing the strength of Young Snozz, the result was as good as known from there.
Stopping the clock at 30.03, the Petar Jovanovic trained son of Collision was too good for Kalden Mischief and Niamh Preimer who flashed home for a cheeky placing. Young Snozz has now had 88 starts for 24 wins and is quickly approaching six figures in prizemoney.
Hope’s Up also staked her claim to represent the Festival State when overcoming a poor beginning to win in 30.23. Starting from box seven, the distinctively coloured bitch was slow to begin and copped a bump from Red Tin once getting into stride. However in a tremendous display of field sense, the daughter of El Galo and Little Looper cut between runners and buried up along the rail to find herself right in the race down the back.
Avid Tyson had shown its customary dash to lead clearly, but is always a bit suspect over the 515, and Springvale Cool and Hope’s Up loomed large with 100 metres to go. Entering the home straight, there were runs coming thick and fast and the packing field resulted in Springvale Cool hitting the deck and runners scattering everywhere. But despite the carnage, Hope’s Up had taken over the front running, and dashed clear to complete the impressive performance. Avid Tyson wasn’t far away in second, with Kalden Komoto flashing home for third.
There were also two heats of the Distance Championship held at Angle Park on Thursday night, and the chances of a South Australian victory in the Grand Final took a big hit when most of the proven stayers, including Kalden Mayhem, were bundled out of contention.
Kalden Mayhem started unbackable favourite in the first heat, but was always worse than midfield and failed to run into the first four in an uncharacteristic performance. The race was won by Allen Bardolf who started double-figure odds from the six alley, winning by a length in 43.90.
Trained by Shaun Mattcott, Allen Bardolf ran down Cousin Callum who was the tearaway leader but stopped sharply in the concluding stages. Dyna Aline gave Matcott a second runner in the final, while Uno Lesson scraped through for Shaun Laffin.
However, the Laffin kennel had to wait a mere twenty minutes to have its Nationals chances significantly increase when former Victorian Prince Holyfield put in its best run over the 731 metres to take out heat two.
With Dyna Daina all the rage from a betting perspective, the final results were far less popular, with Dyna Daina missing the final and the eventual first four paying an incredible $28,000 on Tattsbet. Crimson Star, Valerie Allen and Max A Zillion took up the remaining spots on offer, with all three either untried or having never run a place over the distance before.
By Token Prince out of Betty’s Angel, Prince Holyfield begun his career in a blaze of glory before his form wained in the ranks of Victoria’s tough metropolitan circuit. Winning 10 of his first 18 starts, this blue-blood pup had to wait an entire year before taking out another race at Angle Park in March this year. However with his attention now turned to staying events, another flurry of form may be just around the corner and is now a genuine hope to return to The Meadows, this time in a totally different capacity.