Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase

Mackenna Marches Into MDC Semi-Finals

By Simon Orchard
Victorian phenom Mackenna claimed the biggest race win of her career on Monday afternoon after blitzing her rivals in the Temora regional final of the 2023 Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase (MDC).

The rising star, trained by Michelle Carruthers, stopped the clock in 25.41 for the 457m trip, the time less than half a length outside the track record held by champion sprinter She’s A Pearl.

“I thought she was brilliant,” Carruthers said from her Bagshot residence on Tuesday morning.

Royal Nangar put a bit of pressure on her, and she had to do it from Box 5, but she jumped well and was strong to the line to continue the great start to her career.”

Royal Nangar for Jack and Maree Smith finished three lengths in arrears of the winner, while Jodie Lord's Mr. Yellowstone overcame a chequered run to fly home for third.

The trio all advance to the October 6 semi-finals of the world’s richest greyhound series – a stage not unfamiliar for the Smith and Lord kennels. 

But it will be a fresh challenge for Carruthers and her partner of a dozen years, Lee Moore.

The feat quite a feather in the training cap of Carruthers considering she only recently got her trainer’s license. 

“Lee [Moore] has been training dogs for 30 plus years and he’s got lots of experience, but Mackenna and her sister Zadie are the first two dogs I’ve had, and it was all pot luck,” Carruthers laughed.

“I work for an insurance broker in Bendigo and came home one day and saw four pups in the yard. Unbeknownst to me, Lee went out to Bev and Daniel Pell and bought four bitches and the deal was, he picked two and I picked two.” 

“I ended up with Mackenna and Zadie in my name and Lee got KEISHA and Imani. All four of them have begun their careers well and one of the brothers [Dunach Fireball] won by half the state at Horsham recently so it’s been an excellent litter so far [by Whiskey Riot out of Alcyone].”

All up, six pups from the litter have hit the track with the group claiming 22 of their 44 starts around Victoria.

And although they all look promising, Mackenna could be one from the very top drawer after she claimed win number eight in just her tenth start at Temora.

“She’s very exciting and her only two defeats were both at Shepparton against Kelsey Bale [a multiple Group 2 winner] and a smart young one in Pass The Buck [who has won five of six starts],” Carruthers said.

Kelsey Bale is certainly no slouch and Anthony’s [Azzopardi] looks pretty good too, so she’s doing well, but we’ll just take it one week at a time with her.”

A trial trip to Sydney now in the works, with the team determined to give this year’s youngest semi-final qualifier her best chance of advancing to the million dollar decider.

“Lee has taken her up to Temora the last two weeks and done all the hard yards to ger her this far so we’ll try and book a trial next Tuesday at Wenty Park. She’ll need to know the track if she’s a chance of winning her way through after all,” Carruthers said.

Eight semi-finals of the 2023 Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase will be held at Wentworth Park on October 6 with the winner from each advancing to the grand final on October 13.