Like the other clashes, there is nothing between Cheap Wine for Kev Macintosh and Crazy Cool for Robert Jacobsen who both ran game seconds in their heats in 29.86 and 28.87 seconds respectively.
Cheap Wine went up a huge price and ran Tommy Shelby down to a length-and-a-half on the line, and Macintosh remains optimistic about his chances next week.
“We all know the wraps on that dog, and we gave him and start and almost chased him down, if she’d avoided trouble at the first turn she might have got there,” he said.
“I knew she was back to her best when she won in 29.7 a few weeks ago, I was just hoping to make it through to a match race and we’re there now.
“Hopefully we don’t have to worry about trouble at any stage and I can see her down around 29.7 again which will be competitive in any of the heats.”
Crazy Cool has been knocking on the door of a feature win after running second in the Group 2 Futurity and third in the Group 2 Golden Sands, and trainer Rob Jacobsen is hoping it’s third time lucky in the Golden Ticket.
“I’m not sure how she found herself out three-wide down the back in a four-dog field, but she’s fit as a fiddle from her 600-metre starts and did what she needed to do to get through to next week.
“She’s a really nice balance of speed and power; if she gets out in front, even a strong bitch like Cheap Wine will struggle to make a dent.”
Not to be forgotten are Speranza and Frieda Las Vegas, two greyhounds who’ve run in the 29.6 range before, and will be charging late in their matchup.
Tony Zammit said Frieda Las Vegas will be much better off after her first 500-metre start in a couple of months.
“We just gave her a really light week and she responded, she jumped and almost crossed them - if she had the inside, she would have held them out,” he said.
“Like a lot of others, we just wanted to get to the match races, she’s usually coming from behind so the less traffic the better.
“Speranza is a fairly similar chaser to us, we won’t be taking anything for granted.”
Just about everything that could go wrong did for Brian Baker’s charge but Speranza still found the line and a spot in the final.
“He’s done a remarkable job to qualify, we were racing the clock to have him fit after a niggle and new he was going in fresh tonight,” Baker said.
“He’s finished a long way off the leader but the checks he copped to keep coming speaks to what kind of a chaser he is.
“We know how strong Frieda Las Vegas is, I’m confident we can lead early and rattle off some quick splits to make her do it the hard way.”