Phenomenal (3) proved much too good in the first heat, scoring an easy 10 length victory ahead of Born Ali (7) and Mid Air Crash (1). He didn’t break the track record, but he did crack the 37 second mark, with a time of 36.95. The Collision-Tocsin dog was at least two lengths in front past the post the first time and kept on increasing the margin in a dominant display. Stating the obvious, the Jason Thompson trained chaser is the one to beat on Boxing Day.
In a closely fought out finish, Noaki Spitfire (3) prevailed by a nose to Cheetah Zorro (7), with Paris Sparks (4) one and a quarter away in third. Cheetah Zorro began well enough and was half a length in front into the turn but just couldn’t cross Noaki Spitfire who was moving through on the rail. Down the back, Noaki Spitfire drew four lengths in front from Cheetah Zorro. Turning for home, Cheetah Zorro was making ground on Noaki Spitfire, whittling the margin down to two lengths, with Sisco Rage (2) also chiming in and Paris Sparks looming on the outside. Cheetah Zorro joined Noaki Spitfire before the post and the race looked close to a dead heat. With a photo to consider, the stewards gave the Gary Selkrig trained Noaki Spitfire the nod by a nose, and he will head to the final next week. The black dog by Bombastic Shiraz-Noaki Pace recorded 37.74 for the 650 metre journey.
Dyna Nalin (3) opened the clear favourite for heat three of the Sale Cup but was unable to outstay seasoned middle distance dog Czar (4). When the lids opened, Dyna Nalin did enough to lead into the turn and around the back. Czar was well away and slotted into second position and from that point it was a matter of whether Dyna Nalin would be strong enough to last to the post. Czar got Dyna Nalin up the home straight and emerged a one length winner in 37.47. Happy Tiger (5) was doing his best work at the end to make ground on the leaders and finish one and three quarter lengths away in third.
Kayo Marciarno (6) caused an upset in heat four, ahead of veterans Destini Fireball (3) and Mimicking (1). There was quite a bit of confusion amongst runners into the first turn, with all runners seeming to find some kind of interference. Destini Fireball prevailed to lead down the back straight and it looked as though he was on his way to a long awaited win. Kayo Marciarno was chipping away in third down the back and in the home straight he took a run up the middle of the track to overcome Destini Fireball by 3/4 length in 37.63.
Dyna Willow (7) had to overcome the outside box, but it proved no trouble for her as she crossed to the lead at the first turn. She copped a check crossing, but was able to maintain momentum. Alpe D’Huez (1) did a right hand turn at the first bend and cost himself a lot of ground. He managed to get into second down the back but the effort was telling as he failed to make ground on Dyna Willow, who streaked away to a near nine length win. Dyna Willow recorded a strong run home time of 11.82 in her 37.23 victory and was very impressive.
Lucy Wires (6) was midfield for the first half of the race but you could see her working her way through the field to put herself in a position to run down the leaders on the home straight. The race leader was General Destini (1) with Didda Joe (8) tacking on. De Shi Von (3) was five lengths behind the leaders negotiating the final turn, while Lucy Wires was another length behind De Shi Von. Lucy Wires showed great field sense to pass De Shi Von on the outside and then place herself in the best position to get past General Destini. Once she got clear, she put paid to them in the twinkling of an eye and won by an increasing 4 1/2 length margin in 37.50. General Destini hung on for second and De Shi Von wound up third. It was another superb chasing effort from Lucy Wires.
The final will be an interesting affair with Phenomenal recording the fastest first section and fastest overall time. Dyna Willow recorded the strongest run home and Lucy Wires displayed how far hard chasing can get you. Phenomenal will go to the boxes as favourite for the final on Boxing Day. The box draw is as follows:
1. Kayo Marciarno
2. Noaki Spitfire
4. Lucy Wires
5. Born Ali
6. Dyna Nalin
8. Dyna Willow
9. Destini Fireball
10. Cheetah Zorro