The future of NSW greyhound racing was to the fore at Wentworth Park on Wednesday night in heats of the Ladbrokes Young Star, and if what we saw was an indication, the future is looking bright.
The pick of the four heat winners was the Graeme Duggan-prepared Federal Lilly who was enjoying a massive drop in class in the heats. At her past two runs she has been in races won by Hasten Slowly and Golden Easter Egg winner Up Hill Jill at Sandown Park and The Meadows respectively. Both those greyhounds will be competing on Friday in the semi-finals of the Million Dollar Chase.
So when Federal Lilly found herself in an age restricted event, she was always going to be hard to beat.
Helping matters was the fortunes of her main rival, Tap Out Dusty, who, after being slow to jump, was badly bumped when finding her feet, ending any chance she had.
Meanwhile Federal Lilly was up racing for the lead and took over heading out of the back, going on to record a 30.10s win over Dynamite Davey, setting the time standard for the four heats.
Federal Lilly drew the three in the $25,000 to the winner final which will be run on Million Dollar Chase final night, October 20, and is certain to be among the favoured runners.
In the opening heat of the night, it was Jodie Lord’s Patient Vixen who collected the cash.
Having just her 10th career start, Patient Vixen made amends for a last start failure at Wentworth Park, recording a success in 30.35s, the slowest of the four qualifying races. She was able to stalk and run down the leader Magic Begins, which held on for second, and a spot in the Young Star final.
Patient Vixen – who drew the rails for the final - has now registered five wins and three placings from those 10 starts, and maintained her perfect record of winning out of the eight box, this success her second wearing the pink rug.
In heat three of the Young Star it was Queenslander Mottza winning through to the final for Churchable trainer Steve Scott.
Scott originally gave Mottza a shot at the Regional heats and final of the Million Dollar Chase at Grafton, and after winning his heat in fine fashion, Mottza went around as the favourite in the final.
But after having very little luck in the final, he finished fourth and Scott set his sights on the Young Star.
In a heat loaded with speed, it was Mottza who jumped best and raced away for a handy early advantage, and couldn’t be caught, going on to win in 30.14s, from Irinka Lizzy who was having her first run back from a break, and will no doubt be fitter for the final.
Mottza came up with the pink for the final, the same box he successfully exited from in the Grafton Regional heat.
The talented Club Double was expected to be among the qualifiers out of the final heat of the night, but after stepping slightly slowly, he got in all sorts of trouble and while he ultimately would recover to finish fourth, his chances of making the final disappeared in the first 50m.
The race went to Michael Clayton’s smart bitch Fierce Fran who won her fourth race in her past five starts, clocking 30.19s, and finishing too strongly for Faun Flame, who also advances to the October 20 final.
BOX DRAW FOR THE FINAL