Lady Toy back to her best in McKenna Memorial heats

TALENTED stayer Lady Toy relished the drop back in distance last night at Sandown Park, sizzling over the 595m in a heat of the Group 2 McKenna Memorial.

The daughter of Our Toyman and Railway Shiaz jumped smartly from box three and positioned herself comfortably in third spot. The Brooke Ennis-trained chaser began to make her move in the back straight, challenging early leader What’s Chewing in the crucial stages of the race. Lady Toy whizzed to the lead in the home straight, scoring by a length in a fast time of 34.06. Notching up her 19th career win and first victory since May, her incredible stamina will be a formidable force in next week’s final.

Mepunga Tiara was an impressive winner in heat one, piping early leader Lektra Concord on the line in 34.32. The daughter of Premier Fantasy and Mepunga Opal, trained by Jeff Britton, quickly sped to second position and motored home in the latter stages. This win was her third over 595m at Sandown and 15th of her career.

Unfortunately favourite runner Allen Deed suffered a left back muscle injury in heat two and tailed off the field for a majority of the race. As expected, Morningside was best away from the middle alley, however was tackled by Known Danger approaching the home turn, who raced away to score by two and a half lengths, clocking a time of 34.29. Trained by James Shaw of Anakie, this New Zealand-bred chaser is by Scotexcited and Know Best.

Punters were somewhat rewarded in heat three, with second-favourite Ballerino leading all the way for trainer Joe Borg. Exiting from box six, the son of Premier Fantasy and Come On Luann took the lead at the winning post the first time and was never headed throughout in 34.36. The 36kg heavyweight recorded his 10th career victory and first win over the middle-distance journey.

Spring Leaf produced one of the best performances of the night, after suffering several checks of interference, managed to round the leaders up on the home turn and score by a length in 34.38. Despite receiving some good fortune in the latter stages, Andrea Dailly’s chaser produced a great burst of speed to find the front and hold on for the win, particularly with notable stayer Zipping Maggie hot on her heels. Thursday’s win was the 17th of her career and first victory at her debut over 595m.

Group 2 McKenna Memorial Final Box Draw – 595m – Sandown Park – Thursday, 9 July, 2015

1 – Spring Leaf – Andrea Dailly
2 – Lektra Concord – Andrea Dailly
3 – Lady Toy – Brooke Ennis
4 – Ballerino – Joe Borg
5 – What’s Chewing – Kelly Bravo
6 – Mepunga Tiara – Jeff Britton
7 – Zipping Maggie – Peter Dapiran
8 – Known Danger – James Shaw

Reserves
9 – Morningside – Kelly Bravo
10 – Waymore’s Blues – Kelly Bravo