Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay's chances of an amazing group 1 double on Friday night increased when National Derby (520 metres) favourite Simon Told Helen was scratched on Thursday.
Simon Told Helen was withdrawn from the $75,000-to-the-winner final because of a spider bite. It gave Mackay the TAB favourite in the Derby and Futurity at Wentworth Park with Hard Style Rico ($1.85) and Aston Maeve ($2.40) respectively.
Hard Style Rico defeated Queensland Derby and Silver Chief Classic winner Simon Told Helen with a sensational comeback effort in the heats last Friday night. However, Simon Told Helen drew box four for the final and had held slight favouritism ahead of the Mackay-trained dog, which has five.
Mackay also had Aston Sapporo in the Derby but he was scratched on Thursday because of a toe injury.
"The swelling has come down on the middle joint but seeing him walk around the yard this morning, he still looks in some discomfort," Mackay told GRNSW.
"There is no way I'm going to risk him in this. It doesn't matter if it was a million dollar race, I don't want him out there."
Second Derby reserve Zipping Vernon, for Brandy Hill trainer Mark Davidson, was also withdrawn.
Mackay already had the top two in the Futurity market with Aston Maeve and Zipping Veyron ($3.40).
Aston Maeve showed strength to take the lead on the outside around the first turn before clocking 29.87 seconds in her heat. It took her record to four wins in four career starts, and the coveted draw in box one cemented her as top elect for the final.
"Aston Maeve is a novice in this sort of company, only had the three starts and she's got an impressive record at home on the local tracks, but she's never been through the boxes here, she's never had a 520m, so she did well," Mackay said. "She copped a bumping duel, and looked good, so I think she could be a sharp improver."
Zipping Veyron won her heat in 29.86 after a flying start to build a huge lead before prevailing by two lengths. The winner of 10 races in 15 starts has box four.
In the group 1 Paws of Thunder, Clarence Town trainer Peter Honnery has outsider Connie's Boy ($41).
"I told the owners Connie's Boy lacks the early zip to be a top liner but he has won a dozen races and now has qualified for one of the biggest events on the calendar," Honnery told GRNSW. "Box two in the final is great.''