FOUR previous Bathurst feature race winners are among those who will line up at Kennerson Park on Monday as the track hosts the first regional qualifying heats of the inaugural Million Dollar Chase.
A new initiative from Greyhound Racing New South Wales, Bathurst has been given the honour of kicking off series – one which holds the honour of being the world’s richest greyhound event.
The series features 11 regional heats and finals plus 14 city qualifiers, culminating on October 20 at Wentworth Park when the winner of the grand final will walk away with a cheque for $1 million.
As such, the four 520 metre heats Bathurst will stage have attracted quality fields.
“They are outstanding, I’m very, very excited about the quality in the four heats,” Bathurst Greyhound Club Racing Manager Jason Lyne said.
“We have the past two Bathurst Cup winners and the past two Soldiers’ Saddle winners, with one drawn in each of the four heats.
“With the quality of dogs we have in the Central West, and dogs from Londonderry way with the likes of the Sultanas, the fields have certainly met our expectations.
“And we have a good representation from the bigger local kennels too, with Ray Smith splitting his kennel and sending four dogs here, and the Braddons, Pam and Paul, have three runners in the heats.
“Collectively the runners in the heats have won over $1 million between them, so you can see there is some quality there.”
Miss Splendamiro, winner of this year’s Bathurst Cup in February, has drawn the two box in heat one of the series.
The George Borg-trained bitch is unbeaten in three runs at Bathurst and her best time of 29.40 seconds makes her the second fastest ever to run at the venue.
Heat two is highlighted by Sky Wave, the recent NSW representative in the National Sprint Championships in Melbourne.
Sky Wave, the 2017 Soldiers’ Saddle winner, has a best at Bathurst of 29.63 and has come up with the rails draw.
Sky Wave has drawn the red 10 times in her career and won six of those starts. She has also won three of five starts at the Bathurst track.
Falcon’s Fury, the track record holder at Kennerson Park, is the feature runner in heat three of the series and has drawn well in box three.
The Paul Braddon-trained Falcon’s Fury has won seven of his 10 starts at this track including the 2017 Bathurst Cup final, and his stunning track record performance back in January of 29.24.
And finally, Ray Smith’s Midnight Treat, the 2016 Soldiers’ Saddle winner has drawn the red in the fourth heat of the night, perhaps the most open of the four qualifiers.
First and second from the heats on Monday will advance to the final to be held on September 10.