If successful young South Australian owner/breeder Nathan Wilson is searching for omens ahead of Friday night’s (12 Oct) semi-finals of the Million Dollar Chase in Sydney he only has to look at the breeding of his exciting contender Oakvale Warrior.
Not two until later this month, Oakvale Warrior, which is trained by leading Victorian mentor Jeff Britton, is a son of ill-fated sire High Earner and that’s exactly what he will be if he can take out the inaugural Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park next Saturday (October 20).
“When my wife, Kerri, and I bred this litter we were just hoping to win a few races. We never even thought about a race worth a million dollars and now we’ve won a heat and we’re in a semi-final,” Nathan Wilson said.
Victory in the Million Dollar Chase wouldn’t be the first time 31-year-old Wilson has hit a greyhound racing jackpot, with his very first foray into breeding reaping a fairy tale result, headlined by Oakvale Warrior’s Group 1-winning mother Oakvale Destiny.
Oakvale Destiny, which was also trained by Jeff Britton, won the 2014 Sapphire Crown, with litter sister Oakvale Flyer running second in a memorable family quinella, while she also won the South Australian Oaks and finished runner-up in the Topgun and Shootout.
“Oakvale Destiny’s mother Foot Luce was one of the first dogs we had and her Vapour Whirl litter was the first litter we bred,” Wilson explained.
“It was an unbelievable litter. They won over half a million dollars, there were six city winners and multiple Group finalists.
“Unfortunately, Foot Luce only had one litter. We lost her with a snake bite, which was very disappointing, but she left us with some very nice females and the way Oakvale Destiny has started off hopefully the line will throw on.
“The High Earner litter is Oakvale Destiny’s first. Oakvale Warrior is going really well and Oakvale Magic (recent SA Oaks finalist) has also started to find her feet over in Victoria. She probably broke in better than Oakvale Warrior but she was a bit immature. But she’s put three together over in Melbourne now too.”
To earn a berth in the Million Dollar Chase, Oakvale Warrior will have to prevail in his cutthroat fourth semi-final on Friday, where he’s drawn in box seven with his rivals including fellow Victorian raiders Azkaban (4), She’s Gifted (6) and Mossimo Bale (8).
Wilson is hoping Oakvale Warrior will derive great benefit from a victorious Wentworth Park debut in last weekend’s heats, where he led throughout from box five to defeat favourite Aston Duke in 29.91sec, his third win in a row and ninth from 17 overall.
“We were rapt. Over the moon,” Wilson said. “He hadn’t seen Wentworth Park before and hadn’t travelled heaps so we were hoping he would handle the track and different boxes, get through to the semis and be better for the run. We were ecstatic to get the result we did.
“He’s got box seven this week and I think he’s better off drawing a bit wide. He doesn’t always fly out but he really accelerates when he hits the ground and his mid-section is generally his best, where he sets it up.”
A very strong Victorian contingent will be in action in the Million Dollar Chase semis, featuring reigning Golden Easter Egg heroine Up Hill Jill, West On Augie, My Redeemer, Poke The Bear, Dyna Patty, Hecton Bale, Hasten Slowly and Orson Allen.
WATCH: Oakvale Warrior wins a heat of the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park last Saturday night in 29.91sec.