Dare to Dream. They are the words coming from many trainers with runners in the TAB Million Dollar Chase regional heats and finals, and young Bellbird trainer Brett Moore is the latest to utter them.
Moore is just one placing away from continuing that dream and heading to Wentworth Park for the MDC semi-finals, having qualified his smart bitch Bedazzled Babe for the Regional Final of the series at LADBROKES GARDENS on Saturday night. Finish top three there and they get a ticket to town for the semis.
“What a thrill,” he said after Bedazzled Babe won her heat of the series. “I wouldn’t have expected this in a million years. Dare to dream hey.”
What made the win more remarkable was that it was the first time Bedazzled Babe - who broke the Gardens’ 272m track record at only her third race start - has raced beyond 400m.
“She had a lot of injuries early on and that restricted her to short course racing, but as she has got older, her run home times showed she was looking for a bit further … and what better night than tonight to show me that she did want further.
“We gave her a post to post and her run home time was quite good. Then last Tuesday she had a box to box here and her first and second sections were great so she made our minds up actually.
“So I guess this being her first 500m she should have some improvement next week in the final.”
Brett only obtained his licence to train last year, and Bedazzled Babe - who clocked 29.48s - is the first dog he trained. She has now won 12 of 22 starts.
The opening heat of the night saw the Barry Gibbons-trained Galaxy Banner score in 29.51s.
While many expected once she was crossed by Mercator Belle, that Galaxy Banner’s winning chances had gone, she knuckled down in the straight and produced a storming finish to win. Also advancing to the semi-finals from the heat was Mercator Belle for Carole Eaton who posted a slick 29.53s, and Geoff Grimwood’s Aston Zodiac as one of the fastest thirds.
“The old girl has still got a bit in her,” Gibbons said. “I’ve got to be happy with that.
“She showed a bit of ticker. She usually is a dog on the bunny not a come from behind dog, but she stuck on and I’m really happy.
“She had a nine-month spell and was a bit underdone for the Black Top, but she had a hit out at Wenty last week and I was expecting a good run tonight.”
Eaton was delighted with Mercator Belle’s performance, narrowly missing out on the win.
“She's really starting to put it all together,” she said. “She went a little bit off and now I think she's back to her old self which is great.”
Fastest qualifier was the Robert Vines-trained Seen Around which won his seventh race from 17 starts, the past three now in succession, and posted a very slick 29.37s leading throughout.
“He’s going really well, chasing hard and running well,” Vines said. “His mid-sections are very good.
“I was going to line him up for the Young Star at Wentworth Park, but my old man said to me why don’t you go for the Million Dollar race. I didn’t think he was good enough to tell you the truth but then I thought a bit about it, and had a look at the run (last start at Wentworth Park where he won in 29.97s) and we just thought we would go for it.
“A lot of pups up here (Newcastle) went for the Black Top and that probably burnt them out a bit and he’s been lightly-raced and he’s had a bit of break and he’s coming good this dog.
“I threw him in without knowing what he could run around here as he hadn’t been here, but the noms closed before I could trial.
“I trialled him here Tuesday post to post and he went well so I was expecting a good run. I thought he might have felt the pinch a little bit, but he got to the line nicely and I think he’s got a bit of improvement in him this dog.”
MACKAY secured another semi-final berth with Nev’s Gift not having a lot of luck but still finishing second behind Seen Around.