As the TAB Sportsbet Fixed Odds market suggests, Thursday night’s Group 2 McKenna Memorial Final at Sandown Park is one wide open affair, with six of the eight finalists set to start under double figure odds.
Apart from outsiders Erica Allen (box six) and Katie Merry (box seven), who are both quoted at $21 in pre-post betting, the remainder of the field have been installed between odds of $3.80 and $6.50, emphasizing the closeness surrounding the much anticipated $40,000 to-the-winner final.
Heading the market is fastest qualifier Premier Boloney, who takes his place from the coveted rails alley for trainers Kelly and Brett Bravo.
Simply breathtaking in his run-off, the regally bred son of Premier Fantasy and Miss Mini Mouse exploded out from box four, defeating Erica Allen by 2 ¾ lengths in a sizzling 34.00s display.
‘Team Bravo’ will take a two-pronged attack into Thursday’s final, also qualifying Katie Merry after the 11-race winner ran second to One Last Dance in 34.15s.
A younger half-sister to kennelmate Premier Boloney, also out of Miss Mini Mouse, Katie Merry is very smart in her own right, annexing the Group 2 Queensland Futurity at Albion Park back in March.
Giving an indication of the strength of the field, two Group 1 winners are set to take their place on Thursday, with Silver Chief victor Godsend drawn in box two, while recent Sandown Cup heroine Irma Bale will exit trap three.
Continuing what’s been a marvellous first half to 2012 for trainer Jason Thompson, Godsend did everything right in his 34.21s heat win, defeating fellow finalist It’s A Blur by 1 ½ lengths.
Godsend has been installed at the juicy odds of $5.50 with TAB Sportsbet, a price that may prove enticing to punters in the lead up to the final.
Second favourite Irma Bale returned from her Brisbane campaign in fine order last week, cruising to an effortless 34.12s heat win.
The daughter of Bartrim Bale has been a revelation over the distance for Graeme Bate, with victory on Thursday well within her reach.
Runner-up to Irma Bale last week, Coolan Miss also has extremely strong prospects for Jim Redenbach, with the daughter of Collision’s recent form over the middle distance journey nothing short of outstanding.
A $6.50 chance pre-post, expect the February 2009 whelp to be well supported also.
NSW’s sole series contender, It’s A Blur, will take her place from box four for in-form conditioner Mark Azzopardi.
The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz has proven herself in this company, and with an even break in running, is more than capable of figuring in the finish.
There’s a height of anticipation surrounding Thursday night’s rich final, with the openness of the field making for one heck of a spectacle.
Best Bet: Pure Instinct (Race 4)
Best Value: Queen Of Cyprus (Race 3)
Quaddie: Race 5 - 1, 5
Race 6 – 2, 5, 7
Race 7 – 3, 5, 6
Race 8 – 1, 2, 8
$20 for 37.04%
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In coming weeks GRNSW will move to grading meetings on its new OzChase system. To coincide with this change GRNSW is moving to one combined NSW Grading Policy, rather than maintaining separate TAB and Non-TAB policies. Feedback on the changes, particularly as they relate to Non-TAB grading, is now called for.
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