The clash of two of the most talented young sprinters in the country, looms as one of the ‘must watch’ races after the heats of the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg were drawn on Monday.
Black Opium from the Seona Thompson kennel, runner-up in the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Cup, and the winner of 11 of her 18 starts, will clash with David Pringle’s unbeaten Midnight Dare, a winner of all five starts including a blistering 29.55s at Wentworth Park.
The pair have drawn alongside one another in heat seven, Midnight Dare exiting the seven, and Black Opium the eight. Such is the depth of the heats, that the race also contains Australian Cup finalist Dyna Oscar, and Group 2 Black Top winner Caitlyn Keeping.
Numerous interstate dogs have been drawn in the heats with crowd favourite, Victorian Poke The Bear (pictured) drawn in a tough heat, the third of the night.
Poke the Bear has come up with the rails draw, a box from which he has won 10 of his 12 starts, and will be heavily favoured to add to that imposing record on Saturday.
Dual Keroma, a finalist in last year’s Easter Egg, has box four, Federal Lilly the Young Star winner in 2018, who won for new trainer Peter Lagogiane at Wentworth Park in 29.72s last start, has box five, Queenslander Maurice Minor is in the seven, while Frank Hurst’s Goods Odds Buddy, who won in best of the night figures of 29.55s on Saturday, has drawn box eight.
Another intriguing event is the fourth heat which will see Wentworth Park darling Miss Splendamiro, last year’s favourite in the Easter Egg final come out of box one, Victorian Blue Striker has the two, Australian Cup winner Dyna Patty the three, and last year’s Masters Meteor winner Cosmic Bonus in the five.
The opening heat will see Anthony Azzopardi’s Whiskey Riot in box one, Tony Brett’s Regal Recall has the three, Richmond Oaks winner Dam Slippery the four, and Queenslander Brandi Alexander, who trialled in 29.78s in Saturday, drawn in box eight.
Heat six will see Pindari Express have another try at Wentworth Park.
The Tracey Scruse-trained dog has abundant talent but can find trouble in his races as he did at his Wenty debut last week. He has drawn box five in the heat, with Good Odds Harada in one, talented Victorian Crimson Vixen in two, National Oaks placegetter Oakvale Magic in box six, and Campini – the West Australian with nine wins from 15 starts, who was fourth in the recent Perth Cup and trialled 29.52s on Saturday night - in box seven.
One of the series favourites, the Correy Grenfell-trained Orson Allen, has drawn box five in heat five and looks very hard to beat. Orson Allen is the in-form sprinter in Australia, winning the Perth Cup, the Horsham Cup and the Cranbourne Cup in recent months. He did run 29.43s in a heat of Million Dollar Chase in September last year.
Speaking of Million Dollar Chase, the winner of that race, looking to complete the double of big NSW races, Mystic Riot, has drawn box six in heat eight and will get her stiffest competition from Dyna Harpa, the Victorian who was a finalist in both the Million Dollar Chase and the Melbourne Cup last year.
Another talented youngster goes around in heat two, with Fernando Blaster drawn seven and looking very hard to beat.
Heat nine is a wide open heat with Richmond Derby winner Catch Me Curly in box two, Paws Of Thunder winner Buck’s Future in three, Million Dollar Chase runner-up Jamella Jet in five, Set to Storm in box six, Queenslander She’s A Sort in seven and Maitland Gold Cup winner Black Forge in eight.
And in the final heat of the night, National Derby winner Axel Footluce (box 5) from the Jeff Britton kennel and Mark Gatt’s He’s All Shine (box 2) could battle it out.
Heats of the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg can be found here.
The heats make up 10 of an 11 race card with Poco Dorado the headline act in the other event over 720m.