The Group 1 Centrebet Paws of Thunder series over the 520 metres at Wentworth Park kicks off on Saturday night with eight star studded fields. The heats will be cut-throat, with only the winner of each heat progressing through to the $100,000 final on Saturday, 18th of January 2014.
Heat One (Race 3 at 8:08pm)
Double Twist will have to contend with box six to continue her affinity with the Wentworth Park circuit. She recently broke the track record at Dapto and has won eight from 18 at Wentworth Park, and placed on seven other occasions. Her best time at the track is 29.65 and she secured an eye catching come from behind win in the Group 3 Christmas Gift back in December. She has won from this box on three occasions and looks the favourite in this heat.
The Victorian chaser Gimme Fuel has box one and has a perfect record from the box. He is only a young dog but has the ability to lead. He has seen Wentworth Park before, winning in October in a time of 29.64. Romantic Affair has never been unplaced at Wentworth Park and has a best of 29.70. She will jump from box three, a draw where she has recorded one win and four placings from five starts. She has failed to begin in her last three runs at Gosford, Richmond and Wentworth Park. She can't afford to be tardy here.
Cawbourne Havoc in box two has knocked off Double Twist at Wentworth Park recently (late November), recording a best of 29.73 in process. He has plenty of experience at Wentworth Park, winning seven of his twenty starts. The inside draw also suits but he can be risky at box rise. Of the others, Laurels finalist Prue Bale is having her first look at the track and will need to contend with box seven, Ben's House is a Queenslander jumping from the squeeze box and has run second at his only start at the track, while Evil Punk in box four and Knot Telling Ya in box eight are facing a big rise in class.
Heat Two (Race 4 at 8:30pm)
Battistuzzi debuted impressively at Wentworth Park last week from box two and has box one this week. The Group One Brisbane Cup place getter has been racing in good heart with three wins from his last four starts. He has won 11 from 20 starts and looks one of the main contenders in this heat. Innocent Til contested the Cranbourne Cup Final from box four on Wednesday, running unplaced, and he has that same box here in this heat. He hasn't raced at Wentworth Park previously but is a good beginner who resides in Jason Thompson's kennel. He's won 20 from 33 so is in this with a great chance.
Melbourne Cup place getter Dyna Beth is drawn in the white, a box she has won from on three occasions, but her box manners have been inconsistent lately. She ran sixth in her Cranbourne Cup heat in her most recent run, but prior to that won at The Meadows in 30.15. Pierino is on a winning streak, winning his last four at Albion Park. Good form is winning form but he has the squeeze box. He has led his last four starts and will need to do so here. At his only start at Wentworth Park back in July, he was sixth away and could only manage to finish seventh.
Gaudi failed from box six at Wentworth Park last week and has the same draw here. He is hit and miss when the lids go up but is capable of running time on the bunny, as evidenced by his 29.80 personal best at the track. Manyana Groper (box two), Osteria Mozza (box seven) and Trapper Jet (box eight) will need some luck to adjust to the jump in class.
Heat Three (Race 5 at 8:52pm)
This heat is one of the quieter heats on the card. General Destini has recently contested heats of the Sale Cup and Cranbourne Cup, placing on both occasions but just missing the final. He has box three in this heat and has been beginning well recently. He has been to Wentworth Park previously, placing on two occasions. He has won three and placed three from eight starts from the box. Tee Brady finally cracked a win at Wentworth Park last week after five attempts. He recorded 29.93 from box eight. He moves to box one, which appears to suit as he has two wins from three starts out of the box.
Any dogs trained and owned by the Dailly-Wheeler combination can never be discounted, and two of their dogs line up in this heat. Easton Bale has box four and ran fourth behind Banjo Boy in a recent heat of the Cranbourne Cup. He hasn't won since early November and hasn't won from the box, but he has won at Wentworth Park in the past in 30.12. His kennel mate Jordan Allen is drawn next to him in box five. Jordan Allen contested the final of the Cranbourne Cup on Wednesday, finishing at the tail end of the field. The dog won his heat last week and that was his first win since September. He will need some luck to feature.
Fancy Pete (box six) and Evoke (box eight) are both run on dogs that have recorded sub 30 second runs at Wentworth Park. They don't always show the best early speed, so will need to make their own luck in running. National Time may struggle from box seven at his first took at the track and Woods (box two) has not been racing well enough recently to be considered a chance.
Heat Four (Race 6 at 9:08pm)
The obvious draw card in this heat is Black Magic Opal. The current star of greyhound racing in Australia has drawn box six, but has the early speed to overcome the draw. He has won nine of his last 10 and scorched around The Meadows in 29.73 last week. He has won at the track previously in 29.77 with a flying first section of 5.34 to his credit.
This heat also features recent Group race finalists Peter Rocket (box two) and Farmor Las Vegas (box eight). Peter Rocket's form has been indifferent of late, but he has run 29.52 at the track from box two and at his best he may lay a challenge for Black Magic Opal in the early stages of the race. Farmor Las Vegas will be having his first race start at the track and has been given no favours with the draw as he has the unenviable task of trying to cross Black Magic Opal from the outside.
Edge (box seven) is a talented Wentworth Park chaser, winning seven from 19 at the track. However, he's only won one from the box and must also try to cross Black Magic Opal to get into the race. What For (box three) has taken to Wentworth Park well with three wins and three placings from nine starts. He hasn't managed to break 30, but is a reliable beginner. Veyron Bale hasn't drawn well in box four and Cosmic Station (box five) is rising in class. The ageing Ritza Ryder has box one, but hasn't been beginning well in recent times so may not use the box to his advantage.
Heat Five (Race 7 at 9:27pm)
The other chaser on people's lips, Phenomenal, features in box seven in this heat. He is a recent track record breaker at Horsham and place getter in the Sale Cup. He's a fast and strong dog who will win this on his ear if he is amongst the leaders early. This is his first start at Wentworth Park. Spud Regis has drawn box four and has been leading in his most recent starts at Sandown and Ballarat, but has been run down on the last two occasions. At his best he recorded a 29.63 here at Wentworth Park from box three and has two wins from four starts at the track. He will need to lead clearly to win.
Tasmanian chaser Buckle Up Wes has been to Wenty on three occasions, scoring twice with a best of 29.82. He loves an inside draw and has box three. He is capable of being in this race for a long way. Retiring is a last start winner at Wentworth Park and handles a wide draw well. He jumps from box eight and may hamper Phenomenal in the early stages.
Gradence hasn't been beginning well enough of late to overcome box five, but he did win at Gosford on Tuesday night. Double Trigger (box one), Cawbourne Hawk (box two) and Kobi Jay (box six) all have plenty of experience at the track with Double Trigger best served by the inside draw and a personal best of 29.72 at the track.
Heat Six (Race 8 at 9:50pm)
It will be the battle of the bitches in this race, with Xylia Allen (box four) and Wentworth Park track record holder Punch One Out (box six) facing off against each other. Punch One Out hasn't raced since early November and her Wentworth Park return is keenly anticipated. She recorded her track record run of 29.27 back in March 2013. She has won five from seven at the track and four from eight from the box. Interestingly, Xylia Allen defeated her at her last start in November, which was at Sandown. Xylia Allen had no luck in the Brisbane Cup or in her Cranbourne Cup heat last week, with her tardy box manners letting her down. She has won three from eight at Wentworth Park with a best of 29.47.
Belfast Johnny is drawn between the pair of bitches and has plenty of talent on his side. He has won his last three and won five from eight at the track with a best of 29.63. He's a pretty reliable beginner so could make things interesting for the two fast girls around him. Dyna Kayla is another chaser that has won her last three. Her last two runs have been over the middle distance at Sandown. She is strong finisher and has box one.
Gold Town has won four at the track, but has box eight and will be hard pressed to cross the field as he is a get back dog. Plenty of luck at the first turn will be needed for him to feature. Tomac Bale has drawn box three and has won two of his last three. He needs to be near the lead to win so will need to begin well. Iona Seven (box seven) and Hawk Alone (box two) are both talented chasers in their own right but will need some luck early.
Heat Seven (Race 9 at 10:12pm)
This heat is littered with chances. Recent Silver Chief winner Ollie Bale arrives at Wentworth Park for the first time and will jump from box five. His last few runs have been very impressive and he has really found some form. His fellow Silver Chief finalist Ride the Rails has box six and is having his first look at Wentworth Park.
Brisbane Cup winner Kiss Me Ketut has box eight. Since his winning run in the Brisbane Cup back in early December, Kiss Me Ketut has had one unplaced run at The Meadows. He has won four from six out wide and has enough early pace to be up there amongst the leaders. Avondale Amor ran third in the Gosford Gold Cup on Tuesday after leading the race for a long way. He is trained by Ron Bell and has three wins at the track for a best of 30.03. He has box seven for this heat.
Brooklyn Drive defeated Double Twist at Wentworth Park last week and has drawn box three. The lightly raced dog has had just 12 career starts for six wins. Four of those wins have been at Wentworth Park. His best time at the track is 29.79. What makes this race tough is that the remaining contenders have all also won at Wentworth Park. Victorian Allen Malik has recorded 29.96 from box one, which he has drawn here. Zipping Logan (box two) has a best of 30.10 and Zipping Zoro's best is 30.06, but he will need to overcome box four.
Heat Eight (Race 10 at 10:35pm)
The talented Lady Jasmin has drawn box five in the final heat. She has impressed and those with a keen eye have taken notice of her racing ability. She has been plying her trade around northern NSW and Queensland and has won 12 from 16. She made her Wentworth Park debut last week, winning comfortably in 29.99. Her box manners are very reliable and she has good early speed, evidenced by her 5.38 first section last week.
Another young up and comer is drawn in box three. Boyce Road has won seven from nine and has won two at Wentworth Park. His best time to date is 29.88. He can be slow at box rise, but musters pace very quickly. Ferly Reign has drawn box one, but has never won from the box, with nine of his 15 career wins coming from boxes six and eight. His best time of 29.80 was recorded from box eight back in November 2013. He is an honest dog, so expect him to be amongst the placings.
Where's Wob had his second run back from a spell last week, running second to Lady Jasmin. He has drawn outside her here in box six. He couldn't cross her last week, so he may have the same trouble here again this time around. John's Son has won his last two at Wentworth Park, including a win from box seven, the box he has drawn here. He has recorded a flying 29.56 at the track, but that was back in January last year.
Empire Allen ran fourth in the Silver Chief final and has box four. He can show early speed and is having his first look at the track. Fancy Rhythm is a 30.04 winner here at the track, but has box eight, a box he has failed to win from. Glamorous Opal, starting from box two, has five career wins from 28 starts and this will be a test for her.
With just one final spot up for grabs from each heat, no greyhound can afford to make a mistake. It will be a top night of racing at Wentworth Park, so be sure to tune in.