Leading Melbourne trainer Jeff Britton won all three heats of the Group 1 Ladbrokes National Futurity but says he "can't split'' fastest qualifier Oakvale Magic and Circle Of Dreams in Saturday night's $75,000 to the winner final at Wentworth Park.
Oakvale Magic (pictured) led throughout to win her heat in 29.69sec, Circle Of Dreams took the lead at the first turn to score in 29.93, and Flossing wasn't headed in winning in 30.15.
Oakvale Magic has the more favorable final draw, getting box three, while Circle Of Dreams has box four and Flossing six.
"I don't care which one wins, I just hope one of my trio can get a clear run out of the boxes and is able to lead around the first turn,'' Britton said.
"I would prefer Oakvale Magic or Circle Of Dreams to be the pacemaker because while Flossing is very quick early, she is not as strong at the finish and she could get run down.
"On the bunny both Oakvale Magic and Circle Of Dreams will be hard to catch.
"In Melbourne Circle Of Dreams is probably a half-length to a length quicker than Oakvale Magic but Oakvale Magic went faster in their heats at Wenty.
"So maybe she likes the Wentworth Park track.''
Britton could also spring a surprise in Saturday's Group 1 Ladbrokes National Derby final where his dog Axel Footluce, who caused an upset win over long odds-on favorite Fantastic Yankee in his heat, has box five.
Fernando Blaster set the time standard in the Derby heats, leading throughout in 29.61, while Axel Footluce finished too strongly for Fantastic Yankee in 29.78, North led all the way in 29.98, and Feral Franky overcame interference to win in 30.13sec.
"I had only rated Axel Footluce a handy dog in Melbourne but he went super in his Derby heat,'' Britton said.
"He had box three and lost ground by stepping to the right at the start, something he has never done in Victoria.
"At home Axel Footluce runs straight or heads to the fence so maybe Wenty suits him too.''
The Derby is widely regarded as a match between Fernando Blaster, who has box one, and Rio Brave, a luckless second in North's heat, from box two.
Rio Brave has trialled 29.61 at Wentworth Park and trainer David Geall is quietly confident due to his dog's excellent box two draw, while Fernando Blaster's trainer Terry Jordan would have preferred a wide box than the rails.
"I was hoping for box seven or eight,'' Jordan said.
"When he led all the way from box six in his heat, Fernando Blaster had an empty box in five and got everything his own way.
"He can run fast time anywhere I take him but Fernando Blaster is not a brilliant beginner, the first 10 metres or so are his problem.''
Fernando Blaster is trained in northern NSW while North is prepared at Richmond by John Hughes.
North led throughout to win on debut at Wentworth Park on January 16 in 30.30 before trimming that time down to 29.98 in his all the way heat win.
"Box four is no help for North but he can begin faster than he has done in his two Wentworth Park wins,'' trainer John Hughes said.
"He came out running to win a couple of 400m races at Richmond in December and if he jumps like that in the Derby he has a good chance leading at the first corner.
"At least the pressure is off me this week as this will be the first time in his seven starts that North has not been favourite.''
Hughes only recently returned to training greyhounds after a nine years' break but knows what it takes to get to a Derby final.
"My dog Genesis was a finalist in the 1993 National Derby won by Major Gossip, but he got wiped out at the first corner, while I won the 1995 Richmond Derby with Fabian,'' Hughes recalled.
Best Bet Oakvale Magic (race 5)
Best Value Rio Brave (race 7)
Quaddie race 5 - 3, 4, 7
Race 6 - 4, 3, 6
Race 7 - 2, 1, 5
Race 8 - 2, 5
$20 for 37.03%