RIVERINA reinsman Jackson Painting will get two more chances to break through for a first career Group One victory in next weekend's NSW Breeders Challenge finals, but was left to rue some more bad luck at the barrier draws.
Painting will drive David Kennedy-trained duo Braedos Lad (three year old colts and geldings) and A Perfect Dance (three year old fillies) after he settled both on the pegs just behind the pacesetters in their respective semis at Menangle on Saturday night.
With the first four in each semi qualifying for the final, Braedos Lad ($41) finished strongly to pinch third in his heat before A Perfect Dance ($151) overcome a less-than-ideal lead up to box on for fourth.
However, Painting knows he'll require some luck next week after Braedos Lad drew barrier nine and A Perfect Dance barrier 11. Both should come in a couple of slots once emergencies are taken out.
"They both went really good. I was pretty confident they could both qualify, they had both been working and racing really well before the race," Painting said.
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"It was just going to depend on where they lobbed in the trip and they both got a perfect run along the fence.
"It was how I had the plan in my own head going into the race, you can never be sure how it will pan out but it worked out good and they both ran on well. I'm happy to be in the two finals, but they're going to be up against it as they drew terrible.
"I've driven in plenty of them (group ones) but I've never cracked one. I've been taunted by bad barrier draws and it's happened to me again.
"It's obviously what everyone is in the game for, you strive to win group ones. If it happened it would be awesome, I don't like my chances but anything can happen."
Braedos Lad has only been in the Kennedy stable for about three weeks, but Painting was encouraged by how well he found the line.
He is confident A Perfect Dance has plenty of natural improvement left after she battled sickness in the lead-up to the series heats.
"We had a few issues with her before the heat, she's been crook and were just hoping to get through to last night with her," Painting said.
"That race last night will top her off and she'll be 100 per cent next week, she'll definitely improve a lot I think.
"She can run a place if they go mad early and I can find a run into it somewhere."
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