While it is the dream draw for most trainers, the box one draw will be an awkward one for GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase winner Mystic Riot in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg semi-finals at Wentworth Park.
The Peter Lagogiane-trained sprinter is looking to complete the NSW big race double in the Egg, but the draw, and the speed drawn outside her has not made her task easy.
Mystic Riot (pictured winning her heat) thrives off outside draws and 10 of her 11 wins have come when she has drawn boxes six, seven and eight, including last week’s heat victory (box 6) and last year’s Million Dollar Chase heat (7), semi (8) and grand final (7) wins. Her other win, the first start of her career, was from box three at The Meadows.
Her record off the red is three starts for one second placing, that coming at Wentworth Park in June last year, but she has obviously improved significantly since then.
Drawn in the two on Saturday is Victorian Crimson Vixen, a noted lid-pinger, who clocked 5.41s for the first section in her heat before being run down by Pindari Express.
And drawn in the three is Miss Splendamiro who clocked her fastest ever first sectional in 25 starts at Wentworth Park, when she went 5.42s in leading all the way in her heat.
Mystic Riot showed great tenacity to run down Fabwik in her heat in 29.86s, but her first split was just 5.55s.The fastest she has gone in that first sectional is 5.44s in the Million Dollar Chase Final.
There is also speed out wide, with heat winner Fast Car Driving (5.47s) in seven, and Caitlyn Keeping (5.46s) drawn in box eight.
Leading series contender Pindari Express has also come up with the one box in semi-final number two and that will be a new sensation for the Tracey Scruse-trained dog.
While Pindari Express – who rocketed up the betting charts after his 29.41s heat win – has won three from three out of the two box, he will wear the red rug for the first time this Saturday.
The other heat winner drawn in his semi is Million Dollar Chase runner-up and noted slow beginner Jamella Jet who has drawn the three.
Victorian Slingshot Hammer who was second in a fast 29.58s to Miss Splendamiro last week, has drawn the seven, Lagoon Rhett, who clocked 29.83s in running second to Fast Car Driving has the eight, and Irinka Lizzy who was second in 30.02s to Nangar Kash has come up with the two.
Fastest qualifier out of the heats was Fernando Blaster and the young sprinter – who was favourite for this year’s National Derby - is drawn to advance to the $250,000 to the winner final in box three.
He will have to contest the lead early with the likes of the speedy Zombie (5.38s last week) who has drawn box five and his biggest danger in the race, Victorian Black Opium, who has drawn the pink for the second week in succession.
Black Opium – the Melbourne Cup and Australian Cup runner-up – made her Wentworth Park debut last week, and is expected to improve on her 29.84s win.
Black Opium and Fernando Blaster currently share favouritism for the series, and the pair will be strongly fancied to advance from semi-final number one, the first event on the card.
One of the stars of the heat night was the Peter Lagogiane-trained Federal Lilly who was lightning out of the boxes running 5.34s, and was never threatened running 29.45s. She has drawn box seven in the third heat on Saturday with her main obstacles being heat winners Nangar Kash (29.72s) and Eye Rock (29.98s), and runners-up Rockstar Steffi (29.76s) and Fabwik (30.00s).
The heats of the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg are races 1-4 on the card, with the box draw to be conducted after race six, and streamed through thedogs.com.au Facebook page.