The Group 1 National Derby and National Futurity were first conducted in the early 1960’s and some of the finest greyhounds in the sports history have claimed the age restricted features for the respective sexes. Roman Earl and Worth Doing are just a couple of Derby champs which spring to mind while the freakishly talented Winifred Bale and Promises Free are among a number of top-line bitches to have claimed the Futurity.
With the relocation of the National Coursing Association’s Racing Operations to The Gardens in Newcastle a few years ago, the time-honoured races were transferred to the provincial venue, however, this year, under the control of the G.B.O.T.A, they are back where they rightfully belong, at Wentworth Park in Sydney.
$75,000 awaits the eventual winner of each race and the interstaters have descended on ‘Wenty’ over the past 3 weeks with the Victorian’s leading the charge… and with eight finalists spread across both races, they have a tremendous chance of walking away with yet another New South Wales feature race trophy on Saturday night.
The first of the big ones is the Derby, Andrea Dailly’s Fernando Bale (Box 7) is the early favourite at $3 with TAB.com.au and deservedly so. In a nutshell, he’s airborne and has been breathtaking in both heat and semi-final victories posting blinding early figures and blistering overall times.
The Group 1 National Derby is set to jump at 9:25pm (AEDT). Tune into Sky Racing and join Dave Carlson trackside!
Even though he was brilliant from an inside alley last Saturday night, I’m of the opinion he’s better drawn wide out on the track with room to move and where he run a straight line into the first corner.
The only ‘fly in the ointment’ I see is Topper Road (Box 8) who is drawn on his immediate outside. This guy can fire out of the machine and cut to the rail so it’s vital Fernando Bale leaves the boxes at the very least on terms with the speedy customer to hold his ground in the first few strides.
Group race glory had eluded leading trainer Jason Magri but Bad Boy Sniper (Box 4) could be the greyhound which takes the young NSW mentor to the next level. A trip to Victoria late last year seems to have been the making of the ‘Sniper’.
Since returning home, he’s posted posted 29.54 and 29.43 at Wentworth Park and was a certainty beaten in his only other start, which was in a heat of the Derby. I will concede he has a tricky draw to contend with but a clean start and some clear galloping room in the early stages will see him figure in the finish.
The best roughie in the race is the Taswegian Dark Vito, currently $9 with TAB.com.au. He could well hold the lead at the first turn and give an almighty sight bowling along in front. He’s improved with each run at headquarters.
I’m with the Victorian Fernando Bale (7) to beat Bad Boy Sniper (4), Dark Vito (2) and Zipping Carter (6).
If I’m on the mark, it’s going to be massive night for the Victorians and Team Dailly as I’m finding it hard to go past Spring Leaf (Box 1) in the Futurity. After a dazzling front-running performance last Saturday night, TAB.com.au bookmakers installed the classy bitch as a $2.80 favourite… and it’s hard to argue with that quote.
The National Futurity is set to jump at 10:28pm (AEDT). Tune into Sky Racing for comprehensive coverage!
She’s got a mix of speed and strength and is poised to park right on the pace from the pole position. Even if she was burnt off in the initial stages, she’s got a booming finale and could run a number of her opponents down.
The main dangers are the kennelmates Kerrigan Bale (Box 4) and Dyna Nico (Box 3). My speed map has the latter leading and either Spring Leaf or Kerrigan Bale getting the ‘drop’ on her midrace, and whichever one does, will reign supreme.
The ‘knockout runner’ is Weblec Belle (Box 8) at $7. She could get a great cart across if the inside division happen to find trouble in the drive around the first corner.
It really does look Team Dailly’s race to lose… I’m with Spring Leaf (1) over Kerrigan Bale (4), Dyna Nico (3) and Weblec Belle (8).
My best bet on the card is Cosmic Angel (Race 2 No. 1) while the best value of the night is Exhibitionist (No.2) in Race 3.
G2 - The Totepool National Spirit Hurdle Race (class 1)
G2 - Paddy Power Johnstown Nov Hdle
Grade B - Nas Na Riogh Nov Hcp Chase
G3 - Paddy Power Newlands Chase
G1 - Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup