Devel Sixteen and the Sharp family will fly the flag for Victoria in the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg Final in Sydney next Saturday night after a stunning all-the-way semi-final surprise.
Devel Sixteen wasn’t even an original nomination for the Easter Egg series, with Avalon trainer Jessica Sharp and husband Jason taking advantage of the postponement of the opening round to send her and litter sister Junk Food Junkie north.
Devel Sixteen put the writing on the wall with a massive heat run, where she was edged out in fast time, but she was a $16 outsider in the fourth and final semi-final from box five, where fastest heat winner Flying Ricciardo stifled betting at $1.30.
But the local hot-pot didn’t begin from box eight as Devel Sixteen found the front and opened up a race-winning advantage in the back straight, convincingly accounting for Queenslander Farmor Beach by 3.75 lengths in a flying 29.54s.
“We thought we didn’t even have much of a chance tonight but obviously she’s gone and surprised us all,” Liam Sharp, Jessica’s son who travelled to Wentworth Park with sister Mia, told The Dogs.
“She ran a really good race last week. I reckon that was one of her best races ever and she’s starting to become a really good race dog.
“I was just really worried (when Devel Sixteen was leading). I thought the four (Farmor Beach) would come and even Flying Ricciardo could come from anywhere but she just kept going. We’re really proud of her.”
Devel Sixteen boasts an Easter Egg-winning pedigree if ever there was one, with her all-conquering sire Fernando Bale winning the race in 2015 and her champion great-grandmother Paua To Burn victorious in 2005.
Devel Sixteen was the second fastest semi winner, behind Wow (29.45s), but after drawing box five for the second week running she’s again a $15 outsider in TAB’s Easter Egg market.
“For the whole week leading up to this final Mum and Dad will be walking on air,” said Liam.
“To win this would be utterly life-changing. Mum and Dad could pay off the house fully and their whole dream could basically come true about going into greyhounds.”
Faithy Bale, trained by Andrea Dailly, is first reserve for the Egg after running third in the opening semi, where Kayla Cottrell’s $1.70 favourite Fernando Bluey finished at the tail of the field after the normally faultless beginner stumbled at the start.
Victoria will have three representatives in the Group 1 Association Cup (720m) at the bumper Easter Egg meeting, led by Keith Hellmuth’s Burn Time, a homebred son of Group 1 winner Peter Rocket, which was a 42.11s heat winner at his Wentworth Park debut.
“He runs his best races sight unseen, so if it had been his second run there I don’t know,” Lisa Hellmuth, owner and Keith’s wife, offered.
“The first time he’s at any track he really puts in his best and we were really happy with him tonight.”
Fernando Cazz (Kayla Cottrell) and Here’s Tears (Robert Britton) also advanced to the Association Cup Final after heat placings, while Papi Go Fast (Rob Camilleri) booked a berth in the Ultra Sense Final after running second in his heat.
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