Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun finalists Oaks Road and Prince Diablo confirmed that they are a big threat in Saturday night’s $125,000-to-the-winner final after trialling impressively between races at The Meadows Saturday night.
Prince Diablo – who will start from box three in the Group 1 classic – handled the hit-out impressively, carving out splits of 5.14 and 17.79 before stopping the clock at 29.98 over the 525 metre journey.
Trainer John Finn is pleased with his chaser’s preparation and box draw leading into the race.
“When Thursday’s Albion Park meeting was abandoned, it meant that our plans were thrown into a bit of chaos, but we decided to come to The Meadows and trial on the Saturday instead of the Monday in preparation for the Topgun.”
“I’m happy with the draw…the closer to the fence the better for him. The problem is that he is very hit or miss at boxrise, but if he steps cleanly, he can show enough early pace to have a crack at them.”
Fellow NSW chaser Oaks Road handled his first look at The Meadows as excitingly as Prince Diablo, running splits of 5.22 and 17.89 before also pausing the timer at 29.98. Trainer Mark Gatt said the son of Spiral Nikita and Leprechaun Pace – who will start from box eight in the Topgun final – is likely to improve further on Saturday night.
“I’m happy with the overall trial, but he would need to improve his first section if he’s any hope. My brother drove down with the dog and said that he dwelt at the start, so hopefully he can begin better on Saturday. I’m confident he would run around 29.70 at his next look at The Meadows, but that’s irrelevant if you get into trouble after a slow getaway,” said Gatt, who was hoping for a draw closer to the fence.
“I’m not happy with the box. He does have a good record off wide traps, but to cross seven top greyhounds is such a different ball game. When you look at the field anyone could win, and all would be so hard to run down if they found the front. I suppose if I had to choose, Kilty Lad (box one) is the one to beat if he is at his best.”