Upsets were the order of the night in the Group 1 Centrebet Paws of Thunder series on Saturday at Wentworth Park. The most notable big name to miss the final was Black Magic Opal, who was unplaced in his heat. The fastest heat winner was Veyron Bale for Andrea Dailly.
Double Twist (6) vied for favouritism with Victorian Gimme Fuel (1), but it was Double Twist that won that battle and also won the race. Her experience at the track held her in good stead negotiating the first turn at Wentworth Park. She was well away from box six, but Cawbourne Havoc (2) was best away to lead. Evil Punk (4) was also up there early and Double Twist had to settle for third, weaving her way through and managing to remain unchecked around the turn. Gimme Fuel was never in it after missing the start. The Garry Edwards trained Double Twist railed strongly down the back and once she was in front, it was all over. She won by five and three quarter lengths in 29.56 with a flying 11.52 run home.
The first upset of the night happened in is heat when $43.00 chance Manyana Groper finished over the top of lamplighter Pierino to win by three and a half lengths in 29.91. It was the third Wentworth Park win for the Sydney Swain trained chaser and he now finds himself in a Group 1 final. Race favourite Battistuzzi (1) failed to use the inside box and got stuck for room early and couldn't get into the race. Trapper Jet (8) finished strongly for second with Pierino in third.
The $1.90 favourite Tee Brady (1) also went down in this heat. The Darren Brown trained National Time (7) caused the upset, leading all the way. Darren Brown now finds himself in another Group 1 final for 2014, after he rugged up Group 1 Silver Chief finalist Ride The Rails just a week ago. National Time recorded 30.13 for his first look at Wentworth Park and defeated Evoked (8) and Tee Brady, who filled the minors.
The biggest upset of the night saw Black Magic Opal (6) bomb the start and finish sixth. Best served in the run to the first turn was $17.00 hope Veyron Bale (4) for Andrea Dailly. He flew out and stormed home to record a fast 29.50. The time was always going to be quick as Peter Rocket (2), who was doing all the chasing, couldn't make ground on Veyron Bale. Ritza Ryder (1) wound up in third.
Phenomenal was scratched from this heat and favouritism fell to Buckle Up Wes (3) who did everything right to score in 29.65 for Tasmanian trainer Edward Medhurst. He recorded a fast early section of 5.34 after battling it to the post the first time with Spud Regis (4). Despite scouting a bit wide negotiating the turn, Buckle Up Wes was able to maintain his lead and win by three and three quarter lengths from the fast finishing Gradence (5). Spud Regis finished third.
Robert Britton completed a perfect night of racing for his team, qualifying Iona Seven (7) for the final. This was always going to be a high class race with Punch One Out (6) resuming and Xylia Allen (4) also featuring. All three bitches got away well, with Punch One Out leading into the turn. Iona Seven crossed hard to the rail rounding the turn and checked Punch One Out while taking the lead. She pinched the race by one and three quarter lengths in 29.62. Punch One Out was second and Xylia Allen third.
Another heat, another favourite knocked off. Kiss Me Ketut (8), despite beginning well, couldn't cross the field and was posted wide on the turn. Zipping Logan (2) was best away and led the field down the back. The Steven Collins trained Allen Malik (1) used the rails to his advantage to steer clear of any trouble and went hard in pursuit of Zipping Logan. He rounded Zipping Logan up approaching the final turn and from that point on, drove away for a two and three quarter length win in 29.91. Zipping Logan remained in second and youngster Brooklyn Drive (3) ran home well for third.
A dominant display from a Mark Gatt trained youngster closed out the final heat. Boyce Road (3) is only 23 months old, but his performance was that of a seasoned performer. Coming into the race the dog had won seven from nine, including two at the track. He wasn't the best away but was able to stay out of trouble and muster speed. He gathered up leader Ferly Reign (1) coming into the home turn and romped away to win by six and a half lengths in 29.69. Ferly Reign and Glamorous Opal (2) completed the minor placings. Unfortunately, the talented Lady Jasmin (5) went amiss around the turn
The final field and box draw for next Saturday's final is:
2014 Paws Of Thunder Final Box Draw
- Box 1 - Veyron Bale (29.50)
- Box 2 - Manyana Groper (29.91)
- Box 3 - Double Twist (29.56)
- Box 4 - Buckle Up Wes (29.65)
- Box 5 - Allen Malik (29.91)
- Box 6 - Iona Seven (29.62)
- Box 7 - National Time (30.13)
- Box 8 - Boyce Road (29.69)
- 1st Reserve - Punch One Out (29.72)
- 2nd Reserve - Peter Rocket (29.74)