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  • Tuesday, 01 Mar, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘The Devine Miss Em’

Potential ‘superstar’ Devine Empress was the ‘leader of the pack’ in last night’s Shepparton Matchmakers heats (450m).

Prepared by 19-year-old prodigy Kayla Cottrell, Devine Empress ($1.70F) defeated Runaway Miss ($5.00) by 0.2L in 24.96sec (Best).

The G2 Laurels finalist registered her eighth win from 12 starts and remained unbeaten in four starts over 450m at Shepparton. She also knocked around four lengths off her previous PB.

“She’s still immature and does a few things wrong. But I’m sure she’ll work it out.”

“At the start of her career, she was coming out running,” Cottrell said. “However, she has got into a habit of ‘pawing’ at the boxes. I think it first started in the Laurels final.

“She’s still immature and does a few things wrong. But I’m sure she’ll work it out.”

Devine Empress has drawn Box 1 in the final, but Cottrell says, “I’d rather her out of the ‘pink’ (Box 8)”.

“She just needs to come out and hopefully nothing comes down on her. She needs to be left alone in the early stages.”

WATCH: Devine Empress (7) holds off Runaway Miss (8) in a Matchmakers heat.

It was a memorable night for Cottrell who also scored with G2 Warragul Cup hero Robbie Rotten (25.06sec).

Contesting his second start back from a five-week spell, Robbie Rotten (Box 8) took out a Mixed 4/5 (450m) in 25.06sec. It was his 15th win from 31 starts, including five of his past six. He’s also six from eight exiting the ‘pink’ alley.

The other Shepparton Matchmakers heat was taken out by G1 National Futurity and G2 Laurels winner Idolize, trained by Peter Presutto, in 25.10sec.

Jungle Panther with Jeff Geall after a Maiden win at Sandown Park on November 2 last year.

Idolize – also runner-up to Aston Rupee in the G1 Temlee – recorded her 10th win from 19 starts, including five of her past seven.

Meanwhile, Jungle Panther – a younger half-brother of G1 Melbourne Cup hero Koblenz – was the fastest qualifier in the Shepparton Classic heats (450m).

Trained by Jeffrey Geall, Jungle Panther ($3.90) ‘leapt’ to a 4.2L win over Mighty Pie ($7.10) in 24.99sec.

WATCH: Jungle Panther (5) was ‘purring’ in his Classic heat victory.

Jungle Panther notched his sixth win (with four seconds and four thirds) from 19 starts and his winning time was around 2L quicker than his previous PB.

Other Shepparton Classic heat winners were the Joe Borg-trained Brewski Bruce (25.09sec) and In A Blue (25.48sec), prepared by Michelle Mallia who also has Matt’s Hope in the final.

Pawnote: Both $10,000 to-the-winner finals will be decided on Saturday’s twilight fixture.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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