The connections of each dog racing in the six heats of the TAB Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park on Saturday night, will be hoping the saying ‘history repeats itself’ is a phrase which rings true on Grand Final night, October 18.
It’s the last chance saloon for those wanting to advance in the Million Dollar Chase this Saturday, with all six winners, and the fastest two second placegetters, booking berths in the semi-finals of the series the following Friday, October 11.
While the format was slightly different a year ago in the inaugural Million Dollar Chase, looking back on history tells a favourable tale for those engaged on Saturday.
Last year the first three placegetters in the four qualifiers advanced to the semi-finals the following week.
Among those 12 dogs who advanced from the qualifiers, three greyhounds went on to win one of the eight semi-finals the next week and made it through to the Grand Final. Those three were: Mystic Riot, who would go on and win for her connections the $1 million first prize, Jamella Jet who would finish second in the Grand Final, and Victorian Dyna Harpa, who missed the placings.
Last year of the 24 runners 12 were Victorians. This year there is another invasion happening on with border-hoppers again headed to Wentworth Park for that last shot at qualifying.
Of the 47 greyhounds who will contest the six heats, 24 belong to Victorian trainers.
In the opening heat, Jeff Britton is bringing Weblec Ace to town, fresh from a Sandown win last start. He had tried to qualify through the Bulli regional series but failed to make that final.
Another who narrowly missed at Bulli is also heat one, the Deb Coleman-trained She’s Gifted – a semi-finalist last year - who was fifth in the Regional Final behind Shima Shine.
Dyna Unther (pictured), a heat winner at Richmond, then fifth in that final, will go around form the five box, while local dog Nangar Kash, who had no luck in the Bathurst heats, has drawn nicely in the one.
The second heat also has a number of dogs who missed out at the regionals. Andrea Dailly’s Rockstar Fletch and Reiko Ablett both failed to advance at Richmond, as did He’s All Shine who was sixth in the Regional Final. Midnight Joyce won a Dubbo heat then was sixth in the final, while Cawborne Marty was well fancied at Dapto but had no luck in the final.
The Dailly kennel are bringing 13 dogs to the qualifiers, and have three engaged in the third heat - Reiko Boss and Lektra Spring who raced in the Richmond series, and Iylee Bale, a winner of her past two at Sandown, who will make her MDC debut.
Also in the event is Queenslander Quara’s Flick who was sixth in the Casino Regional Final, and fifth in the Lismore final.
Extra Gear was sixth in last Saturday’s Wagga Final, Slingshot Hammer was sixth in the Bulli final after winning his heat, and Show Business was fifth to Good Odds Buddy in the Dapto decider.
The fourth heat sees a strong line-up with Victorians Sweet As Emm, a winner of her past three, Jodie Lord’s Embossed who has won his past two at Wentworth Park, Galaxy Banner who was unable to qualify through Richmond or The Gardens, but has come up with box one and has a great record from the red, and Jason Mackay’s Black Top winner Aston Duke who coincidentally was one of those 12 who qualified for the semi-finals from the last chance qualifiers in 2018.
The fifth heat is a very open affair, with the Dailly’s having Lucy’s Milo and Kessler Bale engaged, the consistent Cawbourne Madox is in the field, as is the Andrew Crouch-trained Sorry Scott who missed out on a semi berth at Gosford and Goulburn.
The last of the last chance heats sees five Victorians, the appropriately named Last Hurrah, Dyna Aakil, Kats Hughy, Feikuai Donna, and South Australian Derby runner-up Curt Lee, who trialled in 29.84s at Wentworth Park last week.
While the heats will dominate the chatter, the Free-For-All is an excellent event too, with Million Dollar Chase semi-finalists, Good Odds Harada, his brother Good Odds Buddy, Kraken Spike, Dam Slippery, and Golden Easter Egg runner-up Federal Lilly all engaged.
Other semi-finalists racing on the 10-race card are Get It Gizmo, second favourite for the series, and Maitland qualifier, Ronny.