An overcast Tuesday afternoon set the stage for the first round of Minister’s gift heats at Devonport this week.
The event, which takes place over all three Tasmanian tracks, started off with a keenly contested race which saw Leon Brazendale’s Buckle Up Man prove too strong in the straight over early leader, Callamac Lad. The win was Buckle Up Man’s fifth from twenty starts, including three of his last four, and the winning time of 25.83 takes over half a second off Buckle Up Man’s previous best time.
The second heat went to the impeccably bred Bandits Mistake. From Elite State out of Chinatown Babe, the Shane Whitney trained youngster brought up his third victory from only six starts, and never looked in danger as he comfortably defeated Camdale Wolfe and Blofeld, who was first-up from six weeks.
Next up we had a dazzling display by Dilston Gold, who scorched around the 452m circuit in 25.73. Using box one to his advantage, Dilston Gold showed great early pace and went on to score easily, with Big Zues and Abira filling the minor placings. Owner-Trainer Neville Allison is no stranger to success using the ‘Dilston’ prefix, as this latest winner is the prodigy of Dilston Diamond, who holds the 310m record at Launceston.
Unlike the previous two, heat four had a much closer finish as early leader, Sting, got joined by talented duo Troublesome Miss and Callamac Lad turning for home. But it was race favourite, Crime Fighter, who followed them closely and whilst the others were scrapping for position up the straight, he managed to fire up along the rail and steal the race away in the concluding stages. The win was Crime Fighter’s eighth from twenty-three starts, and brought up a training double for Shane Whitney.
But the good fortune didn’t end there for Shane either, as he tasted success as an owner as well, with Chudley winning the final heat of the day, over the fast-finishing veteran Brother Jack. Although the time of 26.15 was a long way off some of the other heat winners, I’m sure trainer Anthony Bullock would be more than happy to take the maximum points into the second round of heats, which will be held at Hobart on October 15th, before the final heads to Launceston shortly after.