THIS year’s Bathurst RSL Soldiers Saddle is shaping up as a ripping affair after the staging of six action-packed heats at the Central West circuit on Monday afternoon.
With Monday week’s finale carrying a first prize of $10,000, three semi-finals will be staged this Monday afternoon, where first and second along with the two fastest thirds will progress through to what promises to be another cracking decider of the 23 year old feature.
One trainer set to playing a leading hand in the series following Monday’s heats is Cowra-based Rod McDonald, the 2009 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg winning conditioner landing two of the six qualifiers.
Claiming back-to-back wins, McDonald tasted victory in heat four with Dyna Ali (Paw Licking x Good Thing), leading all-the-way from box one in 30.16, before Hippo Clan (Take The Kitty x Dana Moo) repeated the dose in heat five, showing his rivals a clean set of paws to record a brilliant 30.00 victory, posting a near record first split of 4.17.
Setting the time-standard in Monday’s heats was the Darryl Prestwidge-trained Zipping Floyd, the son of Mogambo storming home for victory to down Some Eye Que by a length in 29.96.
Regular Bathurst visitors Darren and Vic Sultana claimed two heats, courtesy of Black Jillak’s all-the-way 30.35 victory, before later in the program hot youngster Sky Wave maintained her unbeaten record, making it five wins on the trot with a determined 30.18 success.
The remaining run-off went the way of the Michelle Sultana-trained Drink Schooners, getting home in the last few strides to defeat tear-away leader Give Us Peace in a slick 30.10.
The Soldiers Saddle Series continues this Monday afternoon with three semi-finals as we move towards what promises to be an outstanding finale Monday week – with $10,000 awaiting winning connections.