Whodat Knockin’ turned out to be the surprise package of the night when he qualified fastest in the final heat. Incredibly it was the dogs first start over the 725 metre trip.
Let’s take a look at how they panned out;
Heat One – 2014 Superstayers
Classy staying bitch Dyna Willow (5) showed plenty of tenacity to take out the first heat in an eventful affair.
Born Ali (1) went to the boxes as the favourite and when she jumped quickly and led early, it looked as though the race was hers for the keeping. However, a slight bump with Lethal Three (6) saw Born Ali drift back sharply through the field. Subsequent vetting of the dog showed an injury to a triangle muscle.
Born Ali’s mishap left Lethal Three alone in front, with Infinite Wish (2) and Wag Tail (4) in pursuit, but the drama of the race had not finished yet.
Infinite Wish raced up and all but claimed Lethal Three before the pair bumped, which saw Wag Tail cop the backwash and fall.
As all this happened, Dyna Willow was just beginning to hook out and unleash her run home. Lethal Three led by close to four lengths as they swung for home, but Dyna Willow exploded down the straight and put paid to Lethal Three in grand style to win by a length in 43.06 for trainer Steve Collins.
Lethal Three hung on for second with Infinite Wish in third.
Dyna Willow has been a permanent fixture in group staying finals of late and certainly has a knack of putting herself into a race. She will definitely be worthy of consideration in next week’s final given her Group One experience.
Heat Two – 2014 Superstayers
The second heat was one for the senior citizens when last years winner Destini Fireball (8), who turns four-years-of-age next month, reproduced some of his finest form to win in 42.86.
While the winner was certainly a surprise, two of the biggest surprises occurred at box rise. Favourite Dyna Kayla (2) and the normally zippy beginner Benarkin (3) came out of the boxes seventh and eighth respectively.
This left New Tibur (5) in front with Destini Fireball in second place. This pair led the field out of the straight and into the back with Benarkin mustering pace from last to work to third along the fence. The favourite Dyna Kayla tried desperately to secure a passage through the field but found herself wide for the bulk of the trip.
As the field left the back, Destini Fireball gained the ascendency and quickly put a margin on New Tibur. Dyna Kayla and Benarkin battled on but were struggling to make any ground on the leader.
Destini Fireball prevailed in a vintage effort to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Sweet It Is (7) came from the clouds to snare second place with Dyna Kayla in third.
Heat Three – 2014 Superstayers
The final heat saw a major upset when Whodat Knockin’ (5) celebrated his first start over 725 metres a win in a Group One heat.
The Sam Bonnacurso trained son of Knocka Norris and Shanlyn Supreme flew out of box five and put a big space on the field the first time down the straight, setting new first and second split records in the process.
Speed Lane (4) and last week’s Zoom Top winner Cheetah Zorro were the early chasers, while favourite Lucy Wires (3) began tardily and found early trouble which hampered her chances of running into the race.
Off the back Whodat Knockin’ was absolutely high-balling in front and led by the better part of ten lengths. The margin abbreviators were Speed Lane and Hala Belle (7), who looked to have their work cut out for them if they were to be any hope of winning.
Hala Belle rocketed home but could only manage to get within a length of Whodat Knockin’ on the line who prevailed to score in a best-on-night time of 42.85. Maddison Dee finished in third place some four lengths away.
Next Saturday night’s final looks to be a mouth-watering affair with a terrific combination of new and old chasing the $100,000 first prize.
Could it be the new kid on the block Whodat Knockin’ or the precocious Dyna Kayla landing their first Group One? Or will the grand old stager Destini Fireball rekindle the days of yore and add to his already impressive CV by going back-to-back?
1. Hala Bell – Peter Akathiotis (42.90)
2. Destini Fireball – Norm Rinaldi (42.86)
3. Whodat Knockin’ – Sam Bonnacurso (42.85)
4. Lethal Three – Kelly Bravo (43.12)
5. Maddison Dee – Michael Chilcott (43.17)
6. Dyna Kayla – Andrea Dailly (43.14)
7. Dyna Willow – Steve Collins (43.06)
8. Sweet It Is – Leonard Jones (42.97)
9. Infinite Wish – Angela Langton (43.25)
10. Benarkin – Tony Brett (43.18)