Sawyers Gully trainer Darryl Thomas will have Xerri in the Million Dollar Chase grand final (520m) at Wentworth Park after he scored a two-length win in the semi-finals on Friday night.
One of the least experienced dogs in the qualifiers, Xerri was the $2.70 favourite from box two in the second semi but was headed early by Stardom. Xerri railed well to cut inside the Peter Lagogiane-trained Stardom on the bend before racing clear to win in 29.72 seconds.
The Gunnedah regional final winner, Xerri was Thomas's first-ever runner in the series which concludes next Friday night with the $1 million-to-the-winner decider at Wentworth Park.
Xerri's brother Whitfield, the Maitland champion, was never in the hunt in semi No.1 from box eight, finishing seventh to Lagogiane-trained Handsome Prince.
Aston Zodiac, for Martins Creek trainer Geoff Grimwood, was second in the fourth semi after holding out series favourite Shima Shine for the lead. She looked set to qualify before Wallbanger (Christine Proctor) flashed home to win by 0.75 of a length. Other finalists are Flying Ricciardo (Kristy Sultana), Tommy Shelby (Steve Whithers), Awesome Catch (Jodie Lord), Shadow Mist (Lauren Harris) and Waging War (John Finn).
Queensland Stinger Noir is with Richmond Vale trainer Jason Mackay for the series. He led the eighth and final semi but was run down late by Waging War to finish second.