Lee Burke is hoping tempting smokie chance Flying Mikayla can provide him with the perfect belated birthday gift in this Thursday’s $75,000-to-the-winner Group 3 Dapto Crownbet Puppy Auction Classic (520m).
The daughter of Tomac Bale and Gundal Goddess jumps from box eight in the decider looking a solid roughie tip for the $75,000 top prize after two impressive performances so far in the three-week series.
Flying Mikayla won her heat from box five before qualifying for the final with a sound placing behind storming winner Topper Teretto in last week’s semi-final. Owner-trainer Burke, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday – two days prior to the race – also believes box eight has give him every chance of scoring his biggest title to date.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the draw,” Burke said. “I prefer her out wide and I think she likes it out there too.
“She’s shown she’s capable of running strong times at Dapto. If she’s at her best, she can run a time that would trouble the best here. I’m over the moon to be in the final, although I’m very nervous.
“I know she’ll chase her heart out for me, she’s in great shape and she’s raring to go.”
Flying Mikayla ran a flying 29.69 while finishing second behind Six Sense at Dapto last month and looks arguably the best outside chance for the final behind likely favourites Benteke (box one) and Topper Terreto in box four.
She has also won twice and placed twice in five previous starts wearing the pink rug, including saluting at Wentworth Park on September 7 in a decent 30.13.
It would be a special victory for Burke’s family, with Flying Mikayla named after his 10-year-old daughter.
“Mikayla dotes on my greyhounds,” Burke said. “She wants to come down for the final but she wasn’t here for the heats and semi-finals and I’m a bit superstitious so I might ask her to stay at home.
“Hopefully there’ll be other finals in the future.
“Benteke and Topper Teretto are the main dangers but Flying Mikayla has first sectional of 5.32 at Dapto which is flying. If she can lead and there’s trouble behind her, she can win.”
A recent Group 1 Vic Peters Classic finalist, Benteke is an explosive talent and ran 29.75 in the heats. He looks to have the ideal draw, having won four of his five previous starts from box one.
A newcomer from the gun Victorian kennel of Anthony Azzopardi, Topper Teretto jumped from box four in both the heats and semi-finals and produced two scorching performances.
After clocking 29.64 in the heats, Topper Teretto zoomed round in 29.49 – just 0.15 behind Fantastic Dotty’s 2015 track record – in the semi-finals.
Notorious Thief (box six) won his heat and semi-final but may need some luck from this box.
Too Good Thommo (box two), Mornington Star (box three), Topper Swaye (box five) and Soft Gambler (box seven) complete the field.