WHAT a super week of racing we have just experienced, with so many highlights it is difficult to know where to begin. Let us cast our minds back to Saturday night at Wentworth Park, where three Group 1 finals, plus a Group 2, were run. The performance of the Jack Smith trained Jungle Deuce, to run down start sprinter Wow in the Paws of Thunder (520m) final, was one of the best performances we have witnessed in recent times, it was simply stunning.
Victorian owner-breeder Jay Ferguson will long remember his first Group 1 winner, when his litter brothers ran one, two in the final of the National Derby. The Darren Sultan trained Slingshot Hooks grabbed a last stride victory from his litter brother Slingshot Jonesy, trained by Emily Azzopardi, in a very stirring finish. And again, in the National Futurity, members of the same litter quinelled the race, this time the Peter Presutto trained Idolise, led throughout to defeat her fast-finishing litter sister Chic, thus providing their sire, My Redeemer, his first Group 1 winner. In the final of the Summer Plate (720m), the Jeff Britton trained Mepunga Ruby began brilliantly from her wide draw, and never looked in danger in posting an easy 5 length victory in a very fast 41.64, the third fastest time recorder over the distance at Wentworth Park.
Last night the action headed to Queensland, where five heats of the Group 1 Gold Bullion (520m) were run, with the interstate raiders winning albeit one of the heats. Time honours went to the John Finn trained Zipping Kyrgios, who powered away from the local star Spotted Elk, winning by almost five lengths in a flying 29.68. His main danger in the final would appear to be the NSW star, Jungle Deuce, who again put up a performance that had to be seen to be believed, three times pushing through needle eye openings before powering to the line in 30.01. It was a display of great chasing. The other heat winners were the Victorian Do It (30.07), Northern NSW trained galloper Louis Rumble (29.85), and the locally trained Orchestrate (30.00), who also put in a great chasing display after being kept wide for much of the race.
Earlier in the program, three heats of the Gold Cup (720m) were run, and again it was the interstate performers to the forefront winning two of the three heats. Very little separated the heat winners on times, Knicks Bale (42.18), Bad And Boujee (42.08), and Hank The Hustler (42.08), ensuring that the final next week should be a very closely contested affair. The runs of the Gypsy Wyong and We The People, who both finished second in their respective heats, were excellent and both these greyhounds will take beating in the final.
Bendigo Race 12 No 5 Destini Saxon $1.80 at PlayUp
Having his first start for the Anthony Azzopardi kennel and is first up for 3 months. Winner of three races in NSW prior to the break, including a fast 22.09 win at Gosford (388m) in which he recorded a flying first split. Empty box on his outside here will give him room early. Watch the clock we say.
Geelong Race 2 No 8 Reiko Clooney $4.20 at PlayUp
Poorly away here last week when a well beaten second in similar grade. Will need to begin much better to ensure he is a winning chance, but young dogs can often turn it around in a short space of time.
Richmond Race 6 No 8 Ritza Skylar $2.40 at PlayUp
Likes to scout wide early in her races so will be well suited by the wide draw. Excellent last start winner at Bulli, in very smart time, after finding the front early. Expect her to be near the lead at the post the first time, before racing away down the back and proving to strong in the run home.
Geelong Race 6 No 8 Shima Jake $2.70 at PlayUp
This is his last chance from us. Boxed perfectly in the 8, on a track and a distance that should suit. Should have won more races than he has, as he processes enormous ability. This race is not strong, and he should prove too classy.
Wagga Race 9 No 1 Star Hawk $1.55 at PlayUp
Three runs back from a spell have been first class including a smart win at Traralgon (395m). Good beginner, so we are expecting him to lead throughout in this race. We rate him the best bet of the night, your banker for your multi bets.