Top Hunter trainer Jason Mackay is counting on a little help for Aston Lee as he tries to qualify dogs through all three Million Dollar Chase heats at The Gardens on Saturday.
Mackay, who had Flying Bazza and Get It Gizmo in the Million Dollar Chase main event last year, starts his campaign at The Gardens with Zipping Veyron in heat one, Aston Lee in the second and Nev's Gift and Cursed in the third. The races will decide regional finalists to compete the following week at The Gardens for three places in the MDC semi-finals next month at Wentworth Park.
Zipping Veyron has box three in an open race featuring the Barry Gibbons-trained Galaxy Banner in two, All Star Punk in seven and Macca winner Aston Zodiac in eight.
It will be Zipping Veyron's first run since seventh from box eight in the Black Top heat won by eventual champion Flying Ricciardo.
"She got bundled up, pushed wide and never got a look in off the wide draw," Mackay said. "This is a much better box.
"The leaders there look two and three, so if she can get up outside the two and put a bit of pressure on it, she's got that real mid-race burn. Seven and eight go OK, but they've got the wrong side of the track."
Aston Lee, which ran a near-record 29.17 seconds at the track in March, will have to overcome a draw in eight. Gibbons' group 1 winner Lilly Banner will be the one to beat from four. Mackay hoped Bedazzled Babe in seven could clear the way for Aston Lee.
"He's going great but as soon as I nominated him, I just hoped he drew an inside box," he said. "What I've got to hope for is Bedazzled Babe, she's a flying machine, that she can begin and cart him into it. If we do qualify, he's the one I'll be wanting to get on the inside because he's going super."
Mackay was pleased though with the wide draw for Nev's Gift in seven for the third heat.
"She's got to have wide," he said. "Off the middle, or even the inside, she wants to hook to the outside then go straight. But off a wide draw, she will circle them. She likes to funnel the opposition, not get funneled."
"The other one [Cursed, in box six]. He's new and I've only given him the one start up here. He's a hard-head but it's not an ideal draw for him."
Mackay said Aston Sapporo would be saved for the Maitland MDC heats and would have a lead-up race there on Monday.
** The John Miles-trained Laurie's Flyer broke the 272m record at The Gardens on Friday, running 15.13 to better the 15.20 mark of Greek Bombshell.
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