Lady Arko upstaged her more fancied rivals to claim a devastating win in the Victorian final of the Macro Meats National Distance Championship at Sandown Park tonight, setting a new track record in the process.
Three time Group 1 winner and incumbent track record holder Bobby Boucheau was sent to the boxes a $2.30 favourite but it was rising staying star Shimaguni ($3.60) who established an early break.
Lady Arko ($10.80) settled just worse than midfield as they passed the post the first time before switching to the outside down the back straight and unleashing a powerful finishing burst. The daughter of Where’s Pedro raced past Shimaguni to record a 4.25 length in win in a stunning 41.55 seconds to shave two one hundredths off Bobby Boucheau’s previous track record.
“She’s very strong and she got the run. That’s the key to her – if she can dictate on her terms she’s got an enormous amount of ability and tonight she showed what she can really do,” said trainer Darren McDonald.
“She’s a very clean winded stayer and doesn’t take a lot of work. She’s shown glimpses of her ability late last year but she’s had a few problems. This is the first time we’ve really been able to get a good preparation into her and tonight she showed what she can really do.”
Bramley ($47.40) hung on gamely for third a further 2¼ lengths adrift, while Bobby Boucheau endured a luckless run to finish fifth 7¾ from the winner. Despite his defeat, Bobby Boucheau will still contest the Grand Final of the National Distance Championship, having earned the ‘Wildcard’ berth as the highest ranked Australian Greyhound Racing Association greyhound entering the series.
For McDonald, Lady Arko represents his sixth national finalist in the past seven years, and will be aiming to add to his National Sprint Championship win with Pure Octane in 2005.
The Grand Final of the Group 1 Macro Meats National Distance Championship and Group 1 Macro Meats National Sprint Championship – both worth $75,000 to the winner – will be run at Albion Park, Queensland, on Thursday 25 August.