All the big names have progressed through to next Monday night’s Tasmanian National Sprint and Distance finals after a great night’s racing in Launceston.
The heats commenced with Sitka starting a red hot favourite ($1.20) in the first distance heat, but not all went according to plan for the Mick Louth trained bitch. Sitka had to settle behind early leader, Cracker Boy ($22.60) for most of the event, and after a long battle looked like taking up the running.
But as Sitka went for the outside pass, a powerful rails run from Posh Di ($4.20) stole the show as she went on to topple the favourite by 3.25L in 42.81. It was Posh Di’s first look at the 720m trip, and after being run down twice over the 600m at The Meadows recently, the win here took punters by surprise.
However favourite backers would have been much happier after the next heat with Thirteen Black ($1.20) scoring, despite taking until the last stride to get there. After second favourite Black Bart ($5.70) found trouble soon after the start and plunged into Thirteen Black, the margin to the leader would’ve been getting close to 15 lengths.
But using all of his determination, Thirteen Black stuck to his task and fired up along the rail to pass the packing field in the home stretch. Despite winning by a nose in a pedestrian time of 43.65, the Dennis Wood prepared dog must be right in contention to make the trip to Adelaide.
Other qualifiers for next week’s state final are Sonic Oceania, Weegie, and Swami, Capetown Harry and Capetown Jeannie.
Tombstone Jack ($1.70) made it a short race-to-race double after easily winning the opening sprint heat in 29.81. In a race that looked on paper to lack early speed, Tombstone Jack found himself right behind early leader Hellyeah Jacko into the back, and from there it was just a matter of time before the former Queenslander took control. It was an overdue win by the Surf Lorian-Alanna Princess dog, who had been runner up as favourite in his previous four starts.
Heat two saw a tough win by evergreen bitch High Choice. Drawing box three, the now winner of 28 races had to overcome a couple of significant checks in order to gain a place in the final. Similarly to Thirteen Black in the distance heats, the30.23 winning time of High Choice is not a true indication of her ability, and it would not surprise to see her charge home again next week. The other qualifier from heat one was Hellyeah Geoff.
As good as the other heats were, the night eventually belonged to Damek, who is fast becoming the pin-up boy of Tasmanian sprinting. Coming into the race unbeaten in ten runs in the state, Damek ($1.40) beat a great field which included Sultan’s Swing ($5.30), Eagle Eye ($7.40) and Whispering Blaze ($21.40). After having to work hard to find the front, the red-brindle speedster never looked like losing and ran 29.73 in the process. Both Eagle Eye and Sultan’s swing progressed from the heat.
Having already claimed the Launceston track record twice in 2010, Damek must be a deserved favourite to head to South Australia and it would be a real spectacle to watch him compete at Group One level. But the box draw for the final has not been kind to Damek, as he will be wearing the black vest next week. Drawn directly inside him are his rivals from last week Sultan’s Swing and Eagle Eye, with the speedy Hellyeah Geoff making life tough from box 3. Winners of both finals will be heading to Angle Park to represent Tasmania for the grand final on August 28.
Betfair Tasmanian Sprint Final
1) Tombstone Jack – Stuart Genge
2) Indecision –Sandra Elphinstone
3) Hellyeah Geoff – Anthony Bullock
4) High Choice – Debbie Cannan
5) Eagle Eye – Butch Deverell
6) Sultan’s Swing – Debbie Cannan
7) Damek – Eileen Thomas
8) Hellyeah Jacko – Anthony Bullock
9) Macey’s Dream – Gary Johnson
10) Posh Emma – Anthony Bullock
Tattsbet.com Tasmanian Distance Final
Posh Di – Anthony Bullock
Capetown Harry – Jillian Stamford
Sonic Oceania – Morris Strickland
Weegie –Gary Johnson
Thirteen Black – Dennis Wood
Sitka – Mick Louth
Swami – Gary Johnson
Capetown Jeanie – Jillian Stamford
9) Jordy’s Oceania –Morris Strickland
10) Hellyeah Benny – Anthony Bullock