The heats of the Group One Maturity Classic have been run and won at The Meadows on Saturday night. The top two from each heat and the eight fastest thirds will now progress to the semi-finals next week.
A couple of high-profile chasers lost on the night (namely Warrior King and Hooksy). As a result, Warrior King missed a place in next week’s semi-finals and Hooksy scraped through as one of the eight fastest thirds. My Bro Fabio made up for his brother Warrior King’s loss by taking out the time honours for the night. He was the only dog to break thirty seconds and was the quickest dog by over two-tenths.
Training honours went to Anakie based Andrea Dailly, who rugged up three winners on the night. She was closely followed by Avalon trainer Jenny Hunt who had two winners.
Here is a look at how each heat panned out:
Mepunga Hayley (2) kicked off the night with a win for trainer Jeff Britton; collaring early leader White Spyro rounding the turn for home. As expected, White Spyro (7) flew the lids and took the early lead but the strong Mepunga Hayley was able to position herself in a handy second and well within striking distance. Cette Away (8) rounded out the first three, finishing seven and a half lengths off the winner and based on her time, she will only go through as a reserve next week. Mepunga Hayley scored by five and three quarter lengths in 30.14. The black bitch by Bekim Bale and Mepunga Harmony (Pure Octane Mepunga Shiraz) notched up her eighth career win in the process.
Living Proof (4) went to the boxes as favourite but a poor start and a poor box meant trouble at the first turn and as a result he wasn’t able to run a place. Best away was $10 chance Blurred Lines (6) for trainer Kelly Bravo. The black dog by Bartrim Bale and Witch Fantasy (Premier Fantasy – Witch Magic) staved off a late challenge by Hot Whirl (1) to win by half a length in 30.19. Capullo Bale (2) tried hard and ground out a good third, but his time wasn’t good enough to see him straight into the best 32 next week.
Jenny Hunt’s Samus Allen (5) shook off her last two unplaced runs to return to the winner’s circle; a place she has become accustomed to in her short career. She has now won eight from 10 and is one to black-book. The bitch by Bekim Bale and Blachura Bale (Most Awesome – Hanicka Bale) began sweetly from the squeeze box and wasn’t troubled in her one length win, equalling her best time of 30.11. Queensland visitor Give You Credit (7) ensured he would be staying in Victoria for another week, flashing home for second. Take Charge (6) wound up in third after holding second position for most of the race. The solid run ensured he was one of the fastest thirds, meaning a spot in next week’s semi-finals.
Race favourite Push It (1) had every chance to win this race but Crackerjack Rose (6) came out and spoiled the party, pulling away for a three and a quarter length victory in a moderate 30.47. The Andrea Dailly trained bitch by Collision and Smell The Roses (Jim Joes Up – Our Maiden) was considered a $13 chance but she made the most of a good getaway while Push It bombed the start. Push It was granted a saloon passage on the rail through the first turn, courtesy of Kalaway Ernie (3) ducking wide but she didn’t have enough gas at the end to take down Crackerjack Rose and was lucky to hold off American Sniper (8) who finished third. As a result of the moderate race time, American Sniper will only be a reserve next week.
Rue De Kahn (7) reaped the benefits of a trial last week at The Meadows to fire out of the boxes and secure a win in the fifth heat for NSW trainer Dean Swain. The bitch by Where’s Pedro and Shelbourne Dawn (Boherduff Light – Queen Survivor) improved off her trial time to stop the clock at 30.15. Rue De Kahn completed the course with one length to spare over the strong finishing Wind Whistler (1). Another strong finisher, Bekim Hatrick (8), was two lengths away in third and has earned a spot in the semi-finals.
A major upset occurred in the sixth heat as Warrior King (1) was bundled out of the series after a slow start. The field closed in on him and he had no room to move along the rails. It was a hard fought race up front as Grand Legacy (5) and Spring Leaf (6) went hammer and tong for the lead. Grand Legacy won out but Spring Leaf slipped into second and whittled away at Grand Legacy. The Spring Gun and Scarlett Cath (Premier Fantasy – Scarlett Spy) bitch hit the lead up the home straight and emerged a one and three quarter length winner in 30.09 for trainer Andrea Dailly. Shoulders (2) kept his good record at The Meadows intact, sweeping home into second. Early leader Grand Legacy secured the last minor placing and his time was good enough to make the semi-finals.
The upsets continued in the seventh heat as raging favourite Hooksy (2) had his colours lowered by long odds chance Dyna Zod (1), who paid a massive $31.80 for the win. Best away was Summer Wages (3) who showed the way for most of the race only going down by half a length to Dyna Zod in a race time of 30.22. It was just the second career win for the Superman and Talia Bale (Fortified Rush – Brenell Bale) dog trained by Andrea Dailly. Hooksy tried hard after finding himself mid-field early and did enough to qualify for next week, finishing third.
Peter Dapiran finally got a winner courtesy of Zipping Snoopy (2), who saluted by just under a length in 30.11. The red fawn dog by Mantra Lad and Cho Chang (Whisky Assassin – Pacific Style) recorded a personal best en route to his third win at the track. He took advantage of a clear passage through the first turn and made the rest of the field do all the chasing. The run of the race was the inexperienced Eliza Blanche (8). Having just the two starts prior to this series, she had all the work to do from the wide box. She began okay from box eight and as she crossed to the rails she found interference and was galloped on from behind. She showed great tenacity to work her way into second and take ground off Zipping Snoopy up the home straight. Kerrigan Bale (4) earned a spot in the semi’s next week as one of the fastest thirds.
A city debut ended with a win for Luca Neveelk (3). The Talk’s Cheap and It’s A Neveelk (Nitro Neveelk – Bigbad Leesa) is a star on the rise for Gerald Neveelk, now winning 13 from 15. He led all the way in 30.14 and won by one and a half lengths. Sisco Rage (8) flashed home for second. It was a huge run as she was in trouble early but she worked her way around the field to put herself into next week’s semi-finals. Dyna Alchemist (5) made the semi-finals, taking the all-important third spot.
My Bro Fabio (6) atoned for his brother’s defeat earlier in the night, stamping his authority on this race with a nine and a half length victory in a best on night 29.78. My Bro Fabio is trained by Brooke Ennis and is by Turanza Bale and Flamenco (Where’s Pedro – Zarbo). He had a mile of room rounding the first turn and once he got into second, there was no doubt he would take down early leader and second place-getter Top Secret (7). Truly Loyal (3) was third but will only be a reserve for next week’s semi-finals.
Punters were on the money in the second last race of the night. Where’s The Surf (2) was favourite and didn’t disappoint, edging out a wall of chasers to find the lead and win by four lengths. Trail Blazing (5) showed plenty of pace but the box draw meant he had to battle hard outside Where’s The Surf early and settle for second. Dyna Orion (1) was finally beaten from a box one draw but he tried hard in the run home to get third and earn a semi-final draw. Where’s The Surf, trained by Darren McDonald, scored in 30.04. It was the 15th career win for the Where’s Pedro and Nova Surf (Surf Lorian – Nova Keroma) dog.
The last heat ended with another upset, this time it was All Strung Out (8). Starting as the clear favourite after the scratching of up-and-coming chaser Lonesome Jett, All Strung Out was only fairly away and could not negotiate a clear path into the race. He saved face by finishing third and qualifying for next week’s semi-finals. Dyna Ostranda (1) emerged as the race victor, running down reserve runner Lamia Bale (9). It was Dyna Ostranda’s first win at The Meadows. The Jenny Hunt trained dog by Heston Bale and Dyna Panama (Gable Lafourchce – Raisa Bale) scored by three quarters of a length in 30.05.