Wagga greyhound trainer John Hartley always knew he had two good dogs on his hands.
But it was a twist of fate which guided Tennessee Tiger and Shanjo Prince to the kennels of top trainer Mark Gatt, and has them just one good run away from the Million Dollar Chase final.
As of Thursday afternoon Tennessee Tiger was the $3.90 second favourite behind Get It Gizmo in its semi on Friday night at Wentworth Park while his brother, the ultra-consistent Shanjo Prince, was a $13 shot from barrier eight in its race.
The winner of each semi final will advance to next Saturday's final, with the winning connections will claim the $1 million cheque.
Hartley trained Tennessee Tiger and Shanjo Prince earlier in the careers and is a part owner of both. He realised early on they had the talent for bigger things and tried to track down Gatt's phone number.
"I enquired about Mark's details but he ended up calling me first. He wanted to train them," Hartley said.
"I realised they were two very good dogs and travelling back and forwards from Sydney was a bit hard on them.
"This is the first time I've had runners in a big race."
Tennessee Tiger has drawn barrier two and is yet to win from an inside barrier, with the last five of his six wins from 13 career starts coming from barriers seven or eight.
"Mark trialed him over Richmond post to post the other day and he flew over it. We just need a bit of luck in the run," Hartley said.
"You just hope if he misses it that he'll stay on the rail, wait for a mix up on the corner and rail underneath them.
"He still goes well from the inside but he has to go through the field a bit. I just hope he doesn't want to go out wide and get into all the trouble.
"Mark thinks Shanjo Prince is also a good chance from out wide."
The Rock trainer Brian Smith's Ultimate Speed, who booked a spot by winning last month's regional final at Wagga, was a $4.40 chance out of box eight.
An 11-race card will also be held at Wagga on Friday.