National Futurity

Frank Says Donna Can Overcome Draw

By Jeff Collerson
Ritza Donna's owner Frank Gatt believes his greyhound's remarkable will-to-win can offset her box six draw in Saturday night's group 1 Ladbrokes Futurity final at Wentworth Park.

Fastest qualifier following a come-from-behind heat win from box six in 29.72, Ritza Donna is chasing a rare group 1 double on Saturday after claiming the Dapto Megastar final last month.

"She is not the fastest my son Mark has trained for me, but we have not had a keener chaser, such a tenacious trier,'' Gatt said.

"If Ritza Donna leads early she seems to get collared because she doesn't possess great early speed.

"But she is incredibly strong at the end of 520m and as there is a lot of pace in the Futurity final there is a good chance the leaders could bunch up in front and if that happens, Ritza Donna will be rattling home.''

Jeff Britton rates Boston Garden, fastest qualifier for Saturday night's group 1 Ladbrokes National Derby final, as superior to his 2019 winner Axel Footluce.

Boston Garden led all the way to win his heat last Friday at Wentworth Park in 29.79 although Britton, one of Australia's most successful trainers over the past decade, conceded: "He has never jumped as quick as that in his entire career.

"He has won most of his races by using his sensational mid-race speed.''

Victoria-based Britton sent Boston Garden and Osprey Phantom, his other Derby finalist, to Richmond trainers Christine and Alan Proctor to be prepared for the Derby.

The Proctors' neighbour Chris Carl was caretaker trainer for Britton when Axel Footluce won the 2019 Derby, while they were responsible for landing the Futurity that year with Britton's bitch Circle Of Dreams.

She's A Pearl, pre-post Futurity favourite who was eliminated from the series when fourth in Chic's heat, cut her foot in last Friday's race.

She's A Pearl had won her previous six Wentworth Park outings prior to Friday's defeat with handler Ray Dixon explaining: "She had to have a few stitches in the wound after the event.''

When trainer Andrew Bell and his mate Tayt Corless paid $40,000 for Coco Model they were hoping she would eventually win a group race to enhance her value as a brood bitch.

Not surprising then that Bell and Corless were over the moon when Coco Model made the pace before finishing second to Idolize in a Ladbrokes National Futurity heat at Wentworth Park last Friday, qualifying for this Saturday's $75,000 to the winner final.

Coco Model clocked a near record 5.29 first split and while Bell was hoping for box seven or eight in the final, he quipped: "She has drawn one so I'll happily take that.

"When we bought her we believed she could one day win a group race and yet here she is, not yet two years old, and sitting up in box one in a group one at Wentworth Park.''