Fastest heat winner Shimaguni was sent to the boxes a $2.40 favourite ahead of Mystic Apple ($2.50) looking for his eighth consecutive win. However it was Strong Intention ($14.50) who began best, springing from box five to take the early lead.
Mystic Apple switched to the outside and set off in pursuit of the lamp lighter as Iceman Raikkonen cleared away from the pack in third.
The chasing pack could make no inroads down the back straight as the Group 2 feature became a race in two. Mystic Apple closed the gap to less than a length on turning for home but could do no more, Strong Intention holding on to win by three quarters of a length in 32.27 seconds.
Bling It On ($23.20) capitalised on a dream rails run on the final turn to run third a further four lengths adrift, just ahead of the luckless Shimaguni.
Trained by Lara trainer James Ennis and owned in Dingley by Todd O’Neill, the win was Strong Intention’s 12th victory in 41 career starts and his first over the middle distance. The $40,000 winner’s cheque took the son of Brett Lee’s career prizemoney to $80,230.
The McKenna Memorial was first run in 1971 and commemorates the contribution of Jack McKenna who served as Secretary of the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club from 1956 until his passing in 1970.