A GRADE: Gatt pup wins big Bulli final

Iron dog Gradence made the most of his kennelmate Ritza Ryder's misfortune to power to his second Group win in a fortnight at Bulli on Wednesday night.

The first reserve only gained a start in the Cyril Rowe Gold Plate (472m) final after Mark Gatt's other runner, old marvel Ritza Ryder, was a race morning scratching with an injury.

It allowed Gradence ($6.80) to be elevated into the field and jump from box one, overcoming his usual tardy getaway to collar Zipping Logan ($33.10) in the shadows of the post in the $25,000-to-the-winner final.

"I just said to him [Gatt] make sure everything is OK [with Ritza Ryder] because he hurt his leg [on Tuesday]," owner Joe Scerri said. "I said to Mark, 'make sure you do the right thing'.

"I'm working for Mark and it was good to have [Gradence] in, but I still wish Ritza Ryder was there. I'm just that type of person."

Gradence won The Collerson at Wentworth Park earlier in January and has been a revelation since scaling back to the sprint trip having been tried over the staying distance.

The Cyril Rowe Gold Plate final wasn't without drama though as favourite, My Signature ($3.20f), broke down on the top corner after speeding to the lead and looking all over the winner.

The Hunter Valley speedster got the better of Warilla-trained fairytale dog Spring Eddie ($8.30) in the first 100 metres, but was believed to have dropped a back muscle with the race at his mercy. He quickly went reeling back through the field.

Spring Eddie and Zipping Logan headed the field into the straight, but Gradence angled to the outside and blitzed the leading pair to win by half-a-length in a moderate 26.47-seconds. Fastest qualifier Knocka's Return ($4.50) finished a length away in third.

The win carried extra special significance for Scerri who named Gradence after his grandfather.

"We carried on with the family [greyhounds] and I handed the dog over to Mark Gatt," he said. "Lately he's been going excellent and it's a real thrill."

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