Bathurst runners progress to Menangle's Breeders Challenge finals

VICTORY for Steve Turnbull’s Power Of Red was just one of many great performances for Bathurst trainers in Menangle Breeders Challenge Semi-Finals on Saturday.

Power Of Red ($11.80) led from start to finish in the Breeders Challenge Four-Year-Old Entires and Geldings Semi-Final (1,609 metres) under the guidance of Amanda Turnbull.

Turnbull’s horse beat home I Will Rock You ($6.10) and former Breeders Crown placegetter Rock Of America ($2.50 favourite).

“He’s been going well and just hasn’t had a lot of luck. I thought he would be competitive in this,” Steve Turnbull said of his runner.

“I think he’ll go alright in the final but there’s a few handy runners in the other heat. I know Mat [Rue’s] horse [Fouroeight] has qualified and there were strong horses in his race.”

Power Of Red, Fouroeight and Wayne Watterson’s Rockn And Rolln were the horses from the Bathurst region to qualify for the $100,000 final.

FINALS BOUND: Steve Turnbull qualified several runners for Group 1 Breeders Challenge finals. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

FINALS BOUND: Steve Turnbull qualified several runners for Group 1 Breeders Challenge finals. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

The night of racing at Menangle also saw Bathurst trainers fare well in three-year-old semi-finals for both the fillies plus the colts and geldings.

Bernie Hewitt almost caused the upset of the night when his gelding Pretty Hot ($16) finished a close second behind Mark Purdon’s star colt Vincent ($1.04 favourite), who remains unbeaten in Australia.

In the other colts and geldings heat Steve Turnbull’s $104 chance Joes Star Of Mia finished second while stablemate Atomic Red ($1.60 favourite) managed fourth place after a tough run.

A sixth spot for Nathan Turnbull’s Sams Express was enough for him to also book a place in the final.

“Joes Star Of Mia surprised me because he got shuffled all the way back to last. Earlier on in his career he was much more of a plainer horse but he’s come a really long way over the last six weeks,” Steve Turnbull said.

“In Atomic Red’s race they ran strongly. He was three wide most of the way and was then four to five wide on the straight. I was really happy with his run.

“We’ve been really unlucky with our draws … but we’ve drawn well for the final. Atomic Red got four, Joes Star Of Mia got three and Nathan’s horse has one.”

Hewitt will have two runners in the fillies final, Royal Story and Might And Main, after they ran second and fifth respectively.

All the Group 1 finals will be run this Sunday. The three-year-old finals will carry $150,000 in prizemoney while the two-year-old races boast $125,000.