THE GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase was not on the radar for Big Black until the dog posted fast time in a 297m trial at Dapto but now the dog is a real chance after drawing box one in Thursday's Maitland regional final.

Big Black had box seven when a strong finishing runner-up in Precious Sal's fastest 450m heat last week but trainer Donna Campbell is "over the moon'' after drawing box one for her dog in the final.

"When the draw was made, there were two boxes left and the connections of She's Gifted had the pick and came up with number six,'' Campbell said.

"So box one was simply handed to me.

"Big Black suffered nerve damage in a shoulder after racing at Wentworth Park in late April and then he split the webbing on a foot.

"The owners and I didn't think he would be anywhere near ready for the Million Dollar Chase series but in August, at his first trial behind the lure since coming back, he clocked 16.85 over 297m at Dapto.

"When he won over 365m at Nowra on August 25 in fast time of 20.57 I decided to throw him into the Maitland heat of the Chase.

"Box one is perfect for Big Black on Thursday because he is a desperate railer.

"He has been jumping well and provided he begins cleanly his rivals will have to go around him to beat him because Big Black won't give up the rails.''


RUTH Matic, the quiet unassuming trainer of Embye, fastest qualifier for Saturday night's Bulli regional final of the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase, is the niece of the late Kevin Johns, a legendary trainer of the 1980s.

Johns, prepared the 1986 National Derby winner Holstein Boy and Memories Gate, winner of the 1986 Paws Of Thunder, along with stars like The Ringer, Manly Lion, Lord Buttons, Supreme Dot and The Penner.

While Johns had a large and successful team, Matic, then a hobby trainer, pre-dated her uncle in Group 1 glory when she and her late husband Matt took out the 1983 National Derby with World Park Ned before savouring top rank success again with Bit Chili in the 2007 National Sprint Championship.

Ruth Matic has also trained a heart-breaking six Group 1 final runners-up, in Black Bear Lee (Vic Peters Classic), Tap Dance and Mountain Of Love (National Sprint Championships), Hurricane Luke (Hobart Thousand), Persian Belle (Association Cup) and Kedo's Millie (Golden Easter Egg).

She has also prepared two Group 2 winners (Faithful Love in the Peter Mosman Classic and Kedo's Millie in the SA Oaks) along with a trio of Group 3 victories with Black Bear Lee, Catmandoo and Mountain Of Love.


ROHAN Hill, who pulled off the biggest upset so far in the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase when he led throughout in the Bathurst regional final on Monday, is a grandson of an astute purchase by his owner-trainer Jodie Lord.

Rohan Hill, who has now won 27 of 77 starts, is a son of Cawbourne Whip, a daughter of Lord's earlier buy American Spot.

"I bought American Spot as a young race bitch but was always going to breed from her because she is by an American dog called Molotov, a great sire of brood bitches,'' Lord said.

"American Spot was kept for breeding and had only 15 starts for seven wins but she was a terrific producer, with her offspring including Cawbourne Whip, the dam of Rohan Hill and Lucky Chap, winner of 20 from 39 races and now registered for stud duties.

"Cawbourne Whip won 18 races and ran 29.38 at Wentworth Park while her sister Cawbourne Rev reached top grade at Wenty.

"Since Wentworth Park has been closed I have had to race Rohan Hill on U-turn tracks but he is better suited on tighter courses like Bathurst, Wenty and Dapto so I wasn't surprised he was able to win last Monday.''