The Bulli heats of the TAB Million Dollar Chase looked incredibly impressive on paper, but the final they have produced for the venue next Saturday night, has the quality of a Group 1 event.
The two heats staged on Monday night saw some stunning racing, with the highlight the thrilling duel between Western Australia’s National Sprint Champion, Premium Share and Sydney dog Pindari Express.
Premium Share, now in the care of Melbourne trainer Jeff Britton, swung for home comfortably clear of Pindari Express, but the Express roared home to collect the visitor nearing the line and score by a length in a slick 26.07s.
The pair streeted their rivals with Victorians She’s Gifted and Dyna Patty filling third and fourth to snatch spots in the Regional Final.
In the other heat it was blanket finish with four Victorians snaring the Regional Final spots. Rob Camilleri’s Slingshot Hammer scored in 26.13s over Whiskey Riot with boom youngster Shima Shine looking a little lost on the track, yet still finishing third, ahead of Western Envoy.
The box draw has seen Premium Share come up with box one like he had in the heat, She’s Gifted the two, Dyna Patty the three, Slingshot Hammer box four, Whiskey Riot box five, Western Envoy the six, Pindari Express the seven and Shima Shine will exit box eight like he did in the heat.
Pindari Express had the two in his heat, and for once took the rails’ run instead of scouting wide like he normally does.
“I thought he was going to drop back and hook around them but he actually went through on the rails so that’s pretty pleasing,” trainer Tracey Scruse said. “Maybe he’s learning hopefully.
“He does love it here. I trial him here a lot too, and he knows this track inside and out.”
Pindari Express was touted as Million Dollar Chase greyhound 12 months ago but didn’t contest a heat.
“I think at the end of the day last year he wasn’t experienced enough. He had never raced on a two turn track, but now he has. But we’ve got to get there (to Wentworth Park) first though.”
Britton was far from disappointed with the performance of Premium Share.
“He’s run really well. If you run 26.13s you are going to win most races he just had a really good dog behind him and it’s hard to hold Pindari Express out,” Britton said.
“He came here last week and he went terrible and he came back with a bit of mark on his forehead so we thought he must have hit his head on the boxes, so I suppose to run 26.13s it’s a pretty good run.
“He didn’t really use it (box 1) tonight but he still had time to push up on the inside and hopefully he can get out a little bit better on Saturday.
“There are a lot of fast dogs in there, and sometimes it’s just the dogs you’re against that can make you look a little bit slower.”
Camilleri’s partner Deb Coleman was delighted with having qualified two greyhounds for the Regional Final.
“Hammer has been racing really well of late and we expected a good performance from him,” Coleman said. “She’s Gifted is getting on a bit (in age) but she ran well to get through to the final, and we’re really happy to have them both into the final.”
Whiskey Riot was an impressive performance in the heat in finishing second.
“He got squeezed out on the first turn at a crucial stage and he was in a bit of trouble sitting second last, but the dog got a nice run through and then he got cut off as well again halfway up the straight, so to finish second was a really top run,” kennel representative Anthony Azzopardi said, adding the dog had trialled at Bulli in 26.08s last week.
“This is like the (MDC) final. These are really top young dogs coming through, we’re just hoping we can scrape through and get into the next round.”