By Jeff Collerson
Less than a month ago Mystic Riot was second reserve for a modest fifth grade at Wentworth Park and had not won a race in the metropolitan area yet she is a strong chance in Saturday night's GRNSW Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase.
The Jodie Lagogiane-trained Mystic Riot has drawn suitably in box seven, with her trainer insisting the greyhound runs her best races when boxed on the outside of her rivals.
Mystic Riot is owned by Schofields (Sydney) plumber Colin Camden-Bermingham and his wife Sandra, who have reaped the benefit of outlaying a hefty $5000 nearly seven years ago for a puppy named Ready To Riot.
While Ready To Riot was a smart racer, who reached top grade at Wentworth Park and won eight of 26 starts, she has been a four-legged goldmine for her owners.
Her offspring includes Blue Sky Riot, winner of this year's Group 1 National Futurity and $149,000 in stakes, and that bitch's, until now, lesser known litter sister Mystic Riot.
"Jodie Lagogiane has done a phenomenal job to get Mystic Riot into a race worth $1 million to the winner considering our greyhound had been second reserve in a fifth grade at Wenty on September 29,'' Colin Camden-Bermingham said.
"We are all happy with her draw on Saturday night and have been trying to work out how the race is going to be run, but I told Jodie to forget about all that because once they are in the boxes it's all up to the dogs.''
While Mystic Riot has come from obscurity to contest the Million Dollar Chase, Barney Brann has returned from being near death 18 months ago to contest Saturday night's $100,000 to the winner Ladbrokes Masters Meteor at WP.
Barney Brann set a scorching pace in his heat before finishing second to fastest qualifer Blabba Mouth but after being named first reserve on Saturday night, he has gained a start following the scratching of Liberty Lee.
"Barney Brann was poisoned in March, 2017, and veterinary opinion was that the dog would die,'' trainer Tony Atkins said.
"We brought him home and took him to another vet in Newcastle and another in Sydney just hoping to save his life.
"We spent nearly $5000 in veterinary costs but did not dream he would ever race again, let alone get into a race worth $100,000 to the winner.
"Barney Brann's asset is his good early speed and if he gets away with a big break in the final like he did in his heat he has a real chance.
"There only has to be a bit of scrimmaging behind him and he might well pinch the race.''
Poco Dorado's suitable box seven draw gives her a great chance of extending her WP record to seven starts for seven wins in Saturday night's $75,000 to the winner Sydney Cup final but Victoria's Billy's Bake is a definite threat after securing box one.
Trained by Brett Bravo, who prepared the 2017 Golden Easter Egg winner Striker Light, Billy's Bake led throughout to win his 720m Cup heat in 42.44sec.
Poco Dorado led all the way in 42.25 with her kennelmate and sister Veloce Nero winning the other qualifying race in 42.51sec.
"Billy's Bake has a good draw and he pulled up beautifully after his heat win,'' trainer Bravo said.
"He tends to be a bit 'hypo' but he travelled better than ever when we brought him to Sydney last week.
"This dog is under-rated and he has twice got under 41.70sec for the 715m at Sandown, so take Tornado Tears and Rippin' Sam out of the mix and Billy's Bake is among our best stayers.
"Poco Dorado will be hard to beat though because while she got tired last week, the heavy track would not have suited a little bitch like her.''
Best Bet Awesome Catch (race 10)
Best Value Irinka Lizzy (race 3)
Quaddie race 5 - 3, 2, 9
Race 6 - 7, 3, 1
Race 7 - 5, 1, 2
Race 8 - 1, 6
$20 for 37.03%