Jumping poorly from box one, the Wayne Vassallo-trained chaser found trouble and was forced back to the tail of the field in the early stages before finding his feet around the turn, weaving his way through the field.
Approaching the home turn and the black dog was still back in fourth spot but gained a beautiful run through along the fence, railing into second and taking a stack of ground off the leader, Hone In, to finish just one quarter of a length off the winner in 25.59.
The son of Nitro Burst and Blue Pie Girl has drawn box four for the decider and subsequently opened as the $2 favourite with Bet365, while the winner of the event, Hone In ($10), has drawn box eight for trainer Ian Garland and comes into the feature chasing his fourth career win at start seven.
The second favourite to take home the prize on Friday night is Bear’s Gold at $4.80 which was able to lead from go to whoa off box one. Stepping brilliantly off the inside draw, the fawn dog held off a late challenge from Eumeralla Donny to score by a head in 25.48.
The victory made it win six at start 10 for the Keith Hellmuth-trained speedster, which has now won three of his four starts over the 450m trip at Shepparton.
Eddie Yap, which won the opening heat on Monday evening is currently a $5.50 shot to win the final, with the 34 kilogram powerhouse producing a strong run to overcome box six, holding on in the run to the line to register his 10th career win in a handy 25.57. He will step from box three in the decider, a draw from which he is yet to win from in three attempts.
Aston Kody, which recorded the fastest heat win on Monday night, is on the fourth line of betting at $7.50. The regally bred son of Collision and Aston Elle shanghaied out of the boxes and landed two in front off the one, with the 29.9 kilogram dog making every post a winner, scoring by two and a half lengths over Mary’s Entity in 25.46.
Listed Northern Districts Cup – Bet365 market
Box 1 – Landmark – $10
Box 2 – Eumeralla Donny – $26
Box 3 – Eddie Yap – $5.50
Box 4 – Proven Kodiak – $2 with Bet365
Box 5 – Mary’s Entity – $34
Box 6 – Aston Kody – $7.50
Box 7 – Bear’s Gold – $4.80
Box 8 – Hone In – $10
1st Res – Pomp Fiction – $34
2nd Res – Miss Rossi – $13