Sharon Monelli On Top After Spring Gift Heats

September is finally upon us, which means the end of another winter and time for the sun to show itself once again. It also traditionally means Father’s Day, AFL finals and of course, the Spring Gift series at .

Saturday night saw three heats of the listed event being run, with from the ever-present David Hobby kennel claiming the position of fastest qualifier with a 30.61 win from box four. John Crossley’s star chaser, On Coin was sent out as short-price favourite as usual, with former Tasmanian, Jack O’Riley also given a strong chance in the event. However, none of them were able to catch Sharon Monelli who led all the way.

Saving Bundles put up the biggest fight from box eight, testing the leader for the duration of the race, and will deservedly take its place in the final next week.

Sharon Monelli has enjoyed a good run of form recently, making it through to the State final of the , but was never out of bother behind Rumbling Rick, before gaining redemption at Northam at her next start.

Heat two of the Spring Gift saw the Crossley camp bounce back with Celtic Coin, who is making a nice habit of qualifying for feature race finals. Often overshadowed by her two more accomplished littermates, Celtic Coin gets another chance to land a trophy after competitive efforts in the Derby and W.A Derby with a cheeky 30.69 display.

Starting from the miserable five box, the son of Primo Uno and West On Lee stepped away midfield before mustering quickly to find the front turning out of the straight.

Richie Rich was the $2.20 pop for this second heat, and had begun well allowing it to then throw out the final challenge to Celtic Coin as the finish drew closer. But despite the best efforts of the favourite, Celtic Coin had done enough to last, bringing up career win number ten.

Interestingly, Celtic Coin has already tasted defeat to the first heat winner, Sharon Monelli, on at least three occasions during its career. The pair will obviously meet again Saturday night with the stakes now higher for their next battle.

It was only twenty minutes later until Crossley had his second finalist, but he would have to give way to and former Victorian Sam’s Sionara, who caused a major upset by beating Boss Coin in a strangely pedestrian time of 30.89.

Sam’s Sionara entered the race as a 25/1 outsider but defied his odds by never looking in danger at any stage of the 530-metre event. Spearing to the right at boxrise, Linda Britton’s recent acquisition was afforded the room it needed to take over the reigns, but with Boss Coin sitting on his heels, one would presume the winner of 25 races would have been too classy. But it wasn’t to be, with the pair racing untouched for the majority of the journey and Sam’s Sionara holding sway, winning by two lengths on the line.
The form of Sam’s Sionara on the eastern coastline was more than respectable, with six wins, all at metropolitan class, before being shipped west to the Britton kennel. Since appearing at Mandurah in June 7, he now has three wins from seven W.A starts and with performances like the one seen Saturday night, there looks to be many more in store.

It sets up an interesting final where box draws will play a big part in the pre-post betting market and ultimately the result of many dogs whose fate relies on obtaining galloping room in the opening stages of a race.

Moving on, and once the Spring Gift heats were decided, there were some entertaining distance races scheduled for the second half of the twelve-event Cannington card. Magpie Bob was stepping out for the first time since his admirable defeat by Smart Valentino in the Distance Grand Final at The Meadows and after three strides, looked set to jump back to the winners’ circle.

However Pedro’s Finest for John Iwanyk had other ideas, and not phased by the massive gap that Magpie Bob had established, managed to run down the favourite in the home straight, stopping the clock at 42.40.

It’s not the first time that Pedro’s Finest has got the better of Magpie Bob, with the pair swapping the limelight between themselves over the past eight weeks.

Pedro’s Finest has been gracing the track for over three years now, and takes his amazing tally up to 127 starts for 36 wins and 49 placings, earning over $181,000 in prizemoney along the way. They are wonderful numbers for a dog who is rarely seen on the stage, with his best effort coming from a third behind in this years Group 1 final in February.

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