Tonight we were treated to some fantastic performances in the eight Laurels Heats. Tam’s Wish and Liara Allen were the fastest heat winners of the night and will be one’s to follow as the series progresses, as will speedster Dyna Beth.
Attention was focussed squarely on Hobart Thousand across on the island tonight, with Black Magic Opal, Paw Licking, Ronan Izmir and Farmor Las Vegas running amazing times and breaking track records, but here at Sandown we were treated to some keenly contested races by bitches competing for a crack at $50,000 in the Group Two Laurels Classic.
This heat was a rough affair from boxrise to the catching pen, with the Jeff Britton trained Midnight Scandal holding on to beat the desperately unlucky Infinite Wish, who was all over the back of the leading brigade, but couldn’t find a split. The time was a pedestrian 30.10 and the four qualifiers will have to improve significantly in next week’s semis, however the chances for Midnight Scandal improved dramatically when she drew the red again for the semis. Infinite Wish can definitely improve with some luck in transit.
Viewers were treated to another keenly contested race in the second heat of the night. Wise Peejay was crossed early by a line of three, including Blue Lavros, Dyna Evy and Rapiddore. Blue Lavros punched through to lead and Dyna Evy showed a lot of drive to position up in second place, before powering past the early leader up the straight to win impressively in 29.80. Wise Peejay found the line well to get past the tiring Blue Lavros and finish second.
Another incident packed heat took place, with race favourite Flying Twist jumping well before copping a significant check. This left Jeff Britton’s Cosmic Wise in control at the front of proceedings, carving out a slick 29.60, with Oxley Delight filling the quinella spot for Robbie Britton. Flying Twist was going to struggle to qualify for the final, before Mepunga Marsha eased on the home turn, copping 28 days from the stewards in the process. This left a saloon passage for Flying Twist, who drew box three again in the semis.
The first real surprise of the series took place in the fourth heat, with odds on favourite Prue Bale unable to run in the first four after colliding with other market fancy Shall She Rock soon after boxrise. The Malcolm Hirtzel trained Steel Show took full advantage of this to lead in a flying 4.98 first split. She led all the way in 29.61 to beat the gallant Mystic Twist. Shall She Rock battled on to finish fourth and will be better for the experience.
Melbourne Cup runner-up Dyna Beth again showed her liking of the Sandown track, leading in a fast 5.00 first section, on her way to a six length win in a slick 29.55. Lethal Three was an eye-catching run to fill the quinella spot. Hot Dream and Altena Bale rounded out the qualifiers for the semi finals.
Watta Good Dee showed her customary early speed in the sixth heat, leading clearly from box six. She managed to find the finish in a speedy 29.57, holding off the very well bred Maximum Lil in the run to the line. Maximum Lil showed a lot of determination and toughness around the first corner to set out after Watta Good Dee, but was unable to haul in the early leader. Dyna Willow was unable to re-produce her staying heroics from Wentworth Park, finishing a well beaten seventh after being too slow early.
Heat seven was widely considered to be the toughest heat of the night, and the bitches engaged didn’t disappoint. Bit Chili Billie was the early leader until Ritza Hattie showed toughness and drive the burrow underneath the early pace setter on the first turn. From here it looked like it was Ritza Hattie’s race, but Liara Allen set out after the Mark Gatt trained star and reeled it in turning for home, posting a fast winning time of 29.51 for Lara mentor Steve Collins. Both of these bitches will be tough to beat in the remainder of the series.
We had to wait till the final heat of the night for the fastest time, with Tam’s Wish winning in a speedy 29.49 after leading all the way. She didn’t have it all her own way early, with You Say Goodbye pressuring her early, but Tam’s Wish kept out the challenger and scooted away to win by three and a half lengths.
Semi Final One
1 MIDNIGHT SCANDAL JEFFREY BRITTON
2 MAXIMUM LIL JENNY HUNT
3 TAM’S WISH MICHAEL CHILCOTT
4 YOU SAY GOODBYE STEPHEN MCKENNA
5 INFINITE WISH ANGELA LANGTON
6 RAPIDDORE STANLEY RALPH
7 CORRINE CORRINA SEAN CACHIA
8 HOT DREAM PAUL GALEA
9(Res) PRUE BALE ANDREA DAILLY
10(Res) MEPUNGA MARSHA STEPHEN ELSUM
Semi Final Two
1 MYSTIC TWIST MARK CAUCHI
2 PETA BALE STEVEN COLLINS
3 GEMSTAR ANDREA DAILLY
4 DYNA EVY JENNY HUNT
5 LETHAL THREE KELLY BRAVO
6 MEPUNGA TIARA JEFFREY BRITTON
7 RAVEN PEARL MARIO BRIGANTI
8 LIARA ALLEN STEVEN COLLINS
9(Res) BOO ICY YOU GEORGE BORG
10(Res) CAIRNLEA ELLIE ROBERT BRITTON
Semi Final Three
1 ALTENA BALE JENNY HUNT
2 RITZA HATTIE Mark Gatt
3 COSMIC WISE JEFFREY BRITTON
4 BLUE VIPER KAREN REPIA
5 WISE PEEJAY JEFFREY BRITTON
6 SHALL SHE ROCK DAVID CRAWFORD
7 QUELL BALE STEVEN COLLINS
8 DYNA BETH ANDREA DAILLY
9(Res) DYNA KAYLA ANDREA DAILLY
10(Res) TARKS NEMESIS ANGELA LANGTON
Semi Final Four
1 BLUE LAVROS JOE BORG
2 STEEL SHOW MALCOLM HIRTZEL
3 FLYING TWIST ANDREA DAILLY
4 WATTA GOOD DEE JEFFREY BRITTON
5 JESS’ FANTASY GARRY SELKRIG
6 OXLEY DELIGHT ROBERT BRITTON
7 BIT CHILI BILLIE COLIN DALTON
8 RINOA BALE JENNY HUNT
9(Res) THUNDER RAIL ANGELO RENDINA
10(Res) SHAMROCK PETAL ANTHONY HYDE