Victoria notched its first win in the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase Regional Finals when the talented Blue Sky Riot returned to her best and took out the Wagga Wagga edition of the series on Friday night.
Having only her second start since cracking a hock in a heat of the Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park in March, Blue Sky Riot showed a lot more speed out of the boxes this week compared to last week’s heats, and led from the turn out of the straight, never being threatened from that point and scoring in 30.37s.
King Jeremy - who came into the final as the slowest of all eight from the heats - tried gallantly and collected second which brings with it a trip to town. Both Blue Sky Riot and King Jeremy now advance to the semi-finals of the $1.8 million series to be run at Wentworth Park on October 12. The winners of the eight semi-finals that night will progress to the $1 million to the winner grand final at the same venue eight nights later on October 20.
Blue Sky Riot – who, before she was injured in the Egg heats, won the National Futurity and the Richmond Oaks where she beat Up Hill Jill twice - resumed last week in the Wagga Wagga heats and after being moderately away she battled on for third on the rain-sodden track. Third was enough to get her through to the final however and from the checks, she jumped well and when she moved past King Jeremy to lead, that really was the end of the story.
“Words can’t describe the trouble we went through, it was just unbelievable, and finally it looks like it might come together now,” kennel representative Anthony Azzopardi said.
“She went a lot better tonight, I think with a bit of a drier track and her second time coming out of the boxes since coming back, both were big benefits to her.
“When she came out, she actually stumbled a little bit, but the way she picked her feet up and drove to that first turn, I couldn’t be any happier.”
Azzopardi said they have no intention of putting Blue Sky Riot in cotton wool waiting for the Chase semi-finals.
“We’re going to keep racing her,” he said. “We’re not going to let up on her now because she been off for such a long time, she’s still a bit rusty I reckon. We’ll take her to a few tracks around Victoria leading up to Wentworth Park.”
Blue Sky Riot joins another Victorian in the semis, with She’s Gifted qualifying after finishing second to Big Black on Thursday at Maitland.
Also qualified are Snug and Raven Izmir from Lismore, and Rohan Hill and Double Up Dee from Bathurst.
Another pair will book their semi-final berths on Saturday night at Bulli, with the series moving to Temora on Sunday where three heats are scheduled.