TRAINER Sam Dimarco is eyeing a top-four finish in the group 1 NSW Breeders Challenge final next Sunday with Black Silhouette after the two-year-old filly’s breakthrough win at Newcastle on Saturday night.
Black Silhouette, the $1.70 favourite, cruised to a 13-metre win for her Brandy Hill stable to cap preparations for the $125,000 final at Menangle. It was part of a double for driver Mitch Reese, who took Adam Francis’ Coringa Delight to a Menangle Country Series heat win.
Bolwarra trainer-driver Geoff Dorn won the other Menangle Country Series qualifier with Hustle Em.
Dimarco was relieved to finally get a victory with Black Silhoutte, which qualified for the Australian Pacing Gold and NSW Breeders Challenge finals without winning a race.
She was a three-time runner-up at Newcastle before the victory over 2030m and she has finished third at Menangle twice.
“She went very well,” Dimarco said.
“It was a longer distance and she handled that well. She ran her last quarter very slick [28.6 seconds] and won nice and easy.
“It was good to finally get a breakthrough with her because she’s had three seconds at Newcastle, and in the Breeders Challenge heat she got beat a nose when she led.
“That will top her off for the big race next Sunday at Menangle, which will be a very hard race. You’ve got Molly Kelly and the rest of them there. She’s drawn six and the favourites have drawn two and four. It would have been nice to draw closer but she will run an honest race and, with big money on offer, if she finishes in the first three or four, we will be tickled pink.”
Dimarco and his daughter Marissa, a part-owner of Black Silhouette, have enjoyed group 1 success with Bathurst Gold Crown winner Shadow Runner.
However, Shadow Runner and Gold Crown heat winner Gotta Go Gold are on the comeback from long injury lay-offs.
”It’s been disappointing for Marissa with those two out, so it’s good for the stable to get a win, it gives us a lift,” he said.
Also on Saturday night, Newcastle Horse of the Year Rockmemama warmed up for her NSW Breeders Challenge title defence with a second to Sapphire Stride.
Another 4YO mares finalist, Michael Formosa’s Swing With A Star, was ninth in the same race.
There was no Hunter success for Hunter trainers in Breeders Challenge semi-finals at Menangle on Saturday night.