He came, he saw, he conquered in 2010; now NSW Greyhound of the Year Elite Blue Size is on track to claim his second consecutive Group Two J&H Air Conditioning Maitland Gold Cup. In last week’s heats, he led from start to finish in recording the best time of the day in 25.10.
Already a winner of 27 races and three group victories, Reg Kay would be oozing confidence going into Thursday’s final. The track specialist has drawn ideally in box 8 for the $30,000 winner to the final plus a free service to Group One winner Lochinvar Marlow.
Six strong heats provided some great racing entertainment for the Hunter Valley. Heat one went to Elizabeth Bont’s Dusty Arizona who provided the day’s most spectacular run, coming from last at the home turn to swoop down the outside of the track up the home straight to record 25.30.
After drawing the coveted box one in the final, Main Drag is one of the main dangers to Elite Blue Size’s attempt at back to back successes. Trained by successful Hunter Valley Eric Castle, he began well and mowed down Dave Irwin’s speedster Bralyn Midge in the final stages clocking 25.25. A repeat performance from his favoured box draw could see him contest the lead late in the contest.
A depleted heat four who only had six starters, Wentworth Park specialist Bralyn County had an early battle with Silk Degrees before pulling away up the home straight to hold off the noted finisher in 25.29. Despite some big names in heat five including; Golden Easter Egg placegetter Adam Meway, consistent performer Diddy Rose stepped up to produce a career best performance from box eight in 25.32. After beginning well she run down known finishers Moonshine Caddie and Retro Zarr to cement her place in the final.
The sixth and final heat provided another victory for an underdog with Owen Makin’s Black Rogue, from the difficult box seven, overcame his more favoured rivals including; November Tribute and Chenzhou Boy. Despite beginning fairly, the Bulli specialist worked his way through the field to round up Anthony Azzopardi’s talented sprinter Fancy Will in 25.62.
The box draw for the final is; 1. Main Drag, 2. Bralyn County, 3. Dusty Arizona, 4. Black Rogue, 5. Bralyn Midge, 6. Fancy Dean, 7. Diddy Rose and 8. Elite Blue Size.
With the final taking centre stage there is also an equally impressive support program. Reg Kay’s hot youngster Pure Lee Foolin by Pure Octane out of successful producer Hearts War, who made his Maitland debut last week in an ultra impressive 22.49 victory, will step out from box four in race two and should take her record to four wins from just eight starts.
The first of these features is race four, the NSW GBOTA Sprint over the 400m. Track specialist Chief Relief who contested last year’s Maitland Gold Cup Final, will start from box five along with recent Maitland Gold Collar winner Barb’s Gamble who will jump from the favourable box one. It should be a battle between these two with Greg Perrin’s Style Queen who has recorded a personal best of 22.46, could easily come into the frame at the finish.
Race five, the Maitland Mercury Consolation is full of talent from those who failed through to make it through last week’s heats. Leading the way is Silk Degrees who has a personal best of 25.24 and has drawn ideally in box eight. Hunter Valley mentor Jason Mackay’s multiple group winner Big Bunga will surely lead the field early from box seven and Warning Label who will start from box one, has been as consistent as ever running four seconds in his last four starts.
The Good Guys Middle Distance Championship over the gruelling 565m contains some classy sprinters and stayers. Stress Rate trained by Alan Buman who has recorded three consecutive wins in her last three starts will be looking to make it win number four starting from box four. Distance star Salvatore will jump from box eight and with a personal best time of 31.90 is a lively chance of stealing a victory. Barney’s Lee trained by local trainer Raymond Lee has the fastest personal best out of the field with 31.83 which he recorded just two starts ago.
With a great night of racing on offer, head to Maitland Showground with the first race commencing at the altered start time of 7.28pm with the feature race the Group Two J&H Air Conditioning Maitland Gold Cup commencing at 9.58pm. All racing action will be broadcasted on Sky Racing One.