Awesome Catch has set the time standard for next Saturday's Group 1 Ladbrokes Vic Peters Classic but the move from box one in his heat win to box five in the Wentworth Park final has thrown the $75,000 to the winner event open.
Trainer in Victoria by his owner Vince Tullio, Awesome Catch jumped in front from box one but after being outpaced by Queenslander Mottza around the first turn, he finished determinedly to win his heat by just over two lengths.
Awesome Catch covered the 520m in 29.98 with the other heats being taken out by Zipping Tayla in 30.16 and Irinka Lizzy in 30.20.
"Although Awesome Catch finished third to Big Butters in the Richmond final of the Million Dollar Chase, the Vic Peters Classic, where he is up against greyhounds of his age, is the race I have long been setting him for,'' Tullio said.
The trainer was disappointed when Awesome Catch drew box five but was happier about the box three draw secured by his other greyhound, Deliver, who is trained for him by Victoria's Seona Thompson.
Deliver hit the front on the home bend but looked strange to the track and was run down and beaten a half length by Zipping Tayla.
"Deliver had never seen Wentworth Park previously and he got a bit lost so he should improve in the final,'' Tullio said.
Zipping Tayla (pictured), who came fast along the rails after being fourth to the home bend, was one of a winning treble for crack local trainer Jason Mackay.
He also won on Saturday night with True Talent, who led throughout in a blistering 29.56 and with kennel newcomer Power To Win, who scored on debut at Wentworth Park in 30.04.
Mackay had a night to remember as Zipping Bailey, which he trains for Marty and Fiona Hallinan, came from well back to win a heat of the 600m Hume Cup at Melbourne's The Meadows.
Time honours on Saturday rested with the Neil Staines-trained Bogan Doonie, who led all the way in 29.49, while Zipping Mitzy, from the Jason Magri kennels, wasn't headed in 29.52.
Neil Staines said after his race: "Bogan Doonie has long been the fastest greyhound in my kennels but she can do things wrong in her races and is a real hit or miss beginner.
"She nailed the start tonight and while I thought she was capable of getting down to 29.70 at Wenty, for her to clock 29.49 was terrific.
"Because of that fast time I plan to take her to Sandown for a Melbourne Cup Prelude as soon as possible.''
Mackay will also take True Talent to Melbourne for a Cup Prelude.
"True Talent has improved out of sight lately and has been coming out like a rocket, which is a huge advantage at Sandown,'' Mackay said.
Box draw for Saturday's Vic Peters Classic is 1 Tap Out Dusty 2 Coopes 3 Deliver 4 Mottza 5 Awesome Catch 6 Zipping Tayla 7 Ouzo 8 Irinka Lizzy with reserves Club Double and Tamou Banner.