While the TAB Million Dollar Chase has a habit of producing fairytales for battlers, the leading trainers don’t miss out, and at Dapto on Thursday night, it was one of the State’s leading kennels which enjoyed the domination.
JODIE and Andy Lord had two runners in the Dapto Regional Final, and completed the night with both dogs qualifying for the semi-finals of the rich series.
Winlock On Top led throughout to win in 29.65s, while the Lord’s other finalist, Awesome Catch, ran home to grab third and secure his semi-final ticket. The pair were split by Michelle Sultana’s Drink Moet which also gains a berth in the October 9 semi-finals.
“It’s very pleasing,” Andy said. “I thought he would win tonight. He has to come out, but when he does he’s hard to beat and that was the case tonight.
“It’s good that both have now qualified, as I have a few others I can now take to other tracks and not worry about these two.”
Andy said he has no plans to put the pair in cotton wool until the semi-finals.
“No, we’ll keep racing,” he said. “There’s no point in stopping them from racing. A lot of people freshen them up but I think that does the dog’s head in. They need to race.”
On the strength of two stunning wins coming from well back at his past two starts, many expected the final would be won by Awesome Catch, but Andy said perhaps those two tough runs took a bit of a toll on the dog.
“I think his last two wins have been really hard runs where he had to come from last, and it has taken its toll a bit, and that’s why this week he has had a bit of an easy week and he’s put on a bit of weight too, but he’ll be right when he gets to Wenty. He knows what to do.”
It was a night of mixed emotions for Michelle Sultana who like the Lords had two runners in the final.
Drink Moet produced a great run to charge home and grab second, but her other runner Left Unsaid was in trouble on the first turn and her chances disappeared at that point.
“She got through, one of them did, and that the main thing,” Michelle said. “To be honest, I didn't really watch Drink Moet, I was watching the other one (Left Unsaid) to make sure she didn’t turn around and run back into the field, but I’m glad she got through. That what it was about, getting through to the next stage.”