Interstate invasion of Summer Carnival takes hold of Derby, Futurity

Caption: Zipping Remus (Melinda Finn) claims his Derby heat in a BON of 29.76. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

By Pat McLeod

The interstate invasion of the Golden Greys Summer Carnival stepped up a gear on Thursday night at Albion Park with seven of the eight Derby and Futurity heats taken out by southern kennels.

Of the 16 finalists to contest the two prestigious, $75,000-to-the-winner, Group 2 finals next Thursday night, 13 are from south of the Tweed.

In fact, in the Derby, all eight finalists are interstaters, with the Sydney-based Melinda Finn kennel grabbing three of those positions.

Her charge is led by class group performer Zipping Remus, who took out the second Derby heat in a BON of 29.76.

Finn then added to her ‘final collection’ with second places to Zipping Ronaldo in Heat 4 and Zipping Caleb (Heat 5).

“The dog did very well,” Finn said after Zipping Remus had accounted for Irinka Daniel (Raymond Smith) and Kushti Bok (John Mccarthy).

“He has raced at Albion Park before (in this year’s Winter Carnival), so I wasn’t concerned about how he would handle the track.

“He probably lacked a little bit of fitness tonight.

“Last week at Wentworth Park he wanted to get off the track. He has had a few bad injuries since the Million Dollar Chase campaign and has had about three and a half months off.

“He’s just got to get back into racing.

“As far as the final goes, he just needs for the dogs around him to give him a bit of leg space.”

The powerful Victorian Britton kennel, who have set up a satellite operation west of Brisbane, at Churchable, flexed their muscles in the Derby heats, but not with the dog that most were expecting.

Weblec Wolf claimed a finals berth in the last heat with a very solid win in 29.81 – his first look at the track.

This came in the wake of kennelmate and recent Group 1 Silver Chief winner Mepunga Shine being relegated to first reserve for the final when he finished second in his heat to NSW Northern Rivers’ Party Mode (Craig Gardoll).

“It all comes down to box draws,” said a slightly bemused Jeff Britton.

“You do everything for Mepunga Shine. Bring him up here early, trial him last week. This one (Weblec Wolf) we just threw him in and he draws Box 2 and wins. The other one draws Box 8 and you make a mistake from Box 8 and you are gone.

“However, Weblec Wolf is a nice dog. He flew up Wednesday night, so hadn’t seen the track.

“He is a very good chaser and he can certainly run or else I wouldn’t have flown him up here.

“He will fly back with me Friday and then come back next week.”

Another fly-in, fly-out Victorian heavyweight, Morton (Jessica Sharp), was also comfortable with his first look at the track, claiming a Derby heat win in 29.88.

“I am very happy with that,” said Jason Sharp. “Especially this being his first look at the track.

“It was lucky we got the red and it worked out really well.

“He is a very good dog. He has just been really unlucky with box draws and had to come to Queensland to get a red.”

Here’s what the connections of the other Derby heat winners had to say:

Party Mode (Reg Gardoll, for trainer Craig Gardoll):

“He (Party Mode) went well tonight. I wasn’t expecting him to go as good as that. He surprised me. “He jumped on the bunny, and he can run, but he does have a mind of his own.

“We came here tonight on a song and a prayer, so we’re certainly very happy to be in the final, but won’t get carried away with our chances.”

Overflow Beau (Craig Chappelow – trainer):

“We were hoping that he would repeat what he did up here (winning the Rising Stars) about six weeks ago, and so we were happy with that run tonight.

“The time (29.83) shows that he is improving all the time.

“Unfortunately, I had a bit of a setback when I went to Melbourne with him.

“But it is a beautiful reward to travel up here again and see him get the win and be very strong at the end.

“Off that run tonight I believe he is back to his best. That is the most pleasing part.”

Caption: Loving Smile (Col Graham) claimed the fastest heat time in the Futurity heats on Thursday night (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

The standout performer in the Futurity heats was Loving Smile, for northern NSW trainer Col Graham, who accounted for Bee Pink (Matt Bourke) and Ringbark Rebel (Graham Hall) in 29.85.

“She looked very special tonight despite missing the kick,” said Graham.

“Looking at the race from behind, I saw the seven come out really well and I think that might have put my girl off a bit, coming out of the eight.

“However, she prefers to stay out wide and was able to muster and going around the corner she got up to second.

“Her run home was very strong.

“She’s going along like a little beauty.”

This is what the connections of the other Futurity winners had to say:

She Is Fire (Mark Maroney – trainer):

“She exceeded expectations tonight, considering that is only her second time over 500 metres and the other was a trial.

“She is only 20 months old and I always thought the litter would go better over more ground.

“But when I trialled her here she went disgracefully, but tonight she did everything right.”

Kia Kaha (Warren Nicholls – trainer):

“I thought this race might have been a week soon with her because I have been trying to get her back from being on season.

“I have been bringing her back over the sprints and ideally I would have liked to have had a couple of 500 metre races before tonight’s heat, but I was very happy with that.

“She showed tonight that after starting well she is pretty tough in front.

“She is on the improve and with early speed, next week hopefully, that will see her out of trouble.”

Caption: Captain Larry was a surprise winner of the New Years Trophy Final (520m) at Albion Park on Thursday night for trainer Tim Britton. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

The Britton camp also celebrated a win in the $12,025-to-the-winner New Years Trophy Final (520m) with Captain Larry saluting in 30.07 ahead of Dino Way (Michael Lalicz) and Professor Snitch (Steven Bruce White).

“That was a surprise because I thought he was a run short,” said trainer Tim Britton, who heads the Britton’s Churchable kennel.

“He came up to us three weeks ago and this was his first race up here.

“I really wasn’t sure where we were going with him, but there were plans to race in the masters and just see how he is. He was a good dog back in Victoria.

“Now we will probably look at other races after tonight’s performance.”

Box draw for next Thursday night’s Group 2 Bogie Leigh Futurity Final (520m): 1. Daddy’s Girl (Kody Charles); 2. Loving Smile (Colin Graham); 3. She Is Fire (Mark Marony); 4. Saanvi (Tom Tzouvelis); 5. Kia Kaha (Warren Nicholls); 6. Nangar Nellie (Dennis Barnes); 7. Bee Pink (Matt Bourke); 8. Weblec Marquise (Jeff Britton). Res: 9. Ringbark Rebel (Graham Hall); 10. Letho Land (Matt Bourke).

Box draw for next Thursday night’s Group 2 Queensland Derby Final (520m): 1. Weblec Wolf (Jeff Britton); 2. Overflow Beau (Craig Chappelow); 3. Party Mode (Craig Gardoll); 4. Zipping Remus (Melinda Finn); 5. Morton (Jessica Sharp); 6. Zipping Caleb (Melinda Finn); 7. Irinka Daniel (Raymond Smith); 8. Zipping Ronaldo (Melinda Finn). Res: 9. Mepunga Shine (Jeff Britton); 10. Super Scrub (Travis Elson).

Box draw for next Thursday night’s Group 1 Golden Sands Final (600m): 1. Bat Sign (Stephen Rolph); 2. Springtime Rose (Sean Galloway); 3. Father Rick (Ray Webster); 4. Witty Wendy (Ray Burman); 5. Sorority (Tom Tzouvelis); 6. Fahey’s Magic (Tyson Barton); 7. Pursuer (Tom Tzouvelis); 8. Nangar Lucy (Dennis Barnes). Res: 9. Scintillate (Tom Tzouvelis); 10. Get Carter (Grant Franklin).



For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit

Social Media

Chase News Subscribe (it's free!)
Scroll to Top