They had one of the first dogs to qualify for the semi-finals of the TAB Million Dollar Chase, now brothers Mark and Daniel Gatt have a partner for the brilliant Ritza Coen in the October 9 semis.
Ritza Coen received one of the seven tickets directly through to the semi-finals, invitations which were handed to the winners of the State Sprint Championships back in August, but the Gatts now have another semi-finalist after Blistering lived up to his name, brilliantly winning the Goulburn Regional Final on Friday.
Joining Blistering in the semi-finals are Goulburn placegetters Ritza Donald and Poppy Jack, with the first three in the Regional Finals all advancing to the penultimate night of the world richest greyhound series. Win a semi-final that night and they race the following week for $1 million.
Fresh from qualifying both Winlock On Top and Awesome Catch in the Dapto Regional Final on Thursday night, Jodie Lord also now has another semi-finalist in Rizta Donald, who had raced to the lead on the top turn, with Blistering tracking him through and popping off his back swinging for home.
Ritza Donald and Blistering then staged a dour battle all the way down the straight, with just a head separating the pair on the line in 24.69s. They cleared out from their rivals with 4 ¼lengths back to Poppy Jack In third.
Blistering was a sound second in last week’s heat behind Here Comes Joe, but Mark declared before the series that he was confident the dog would continue to improve.
“And that’s what he’s done,” said Daniel. “I thought it was a really good run last week, he got a little bit lost going around the turn, but I was very happy with today’s run.
“I wasn’t worried about the five box. I would have rathered had the one (box) of course, but I wasn’t that worried actually. Sometimes you can draw the one and have different dogs outside you, and it turns out being a bad box. I thought today the five wasn’t a bad draw.”
On Ritza Coen having a semi-final companion, Daniel said: “I hope we get four or five through (to the semi-finals).
“It’s a ticket in the lotto, you’ve got to be in it, to win it, so the more chances you get, the better it is.”
Daniel updated how Ritza Coen had progressed since winning the State title at Wentworth Park on August 13, stating that he may return to the track on Saturday week.
“He’s going well. He’s had a little freshen up and been trialling very well, so I think he might be back next Saturday for a run and to give him a bit of race fitness before the semi-finals,” he said.
Poppy Jack had been nominated for the Bulli heats next Tuesday as a precaution in case they missed out at Goulburn, but will now not contest those heats.
The Bulli club are delighted with their fields having attracted last year’s TAB Million Dollar Chase champion Good Odds Harada, and Victorian star Shima Shine who finished second, just two lengths behind Harada, in last year’s $1 million grand final.