They came and they conquered, the dynamic duo of Jason Thompson and Black Magic Opal put on a dazzling display for spectators, leading all the way in a best of the night 29.41.
In a night full of upsets, next Thursdayâs $350,000 to the winner final will prove most interesting, with the crucial box draw conducted at noon tomorrow.
Plenty of early speedsters have made it into the final, however many winners came from behind in tonightâs heats, providing an array of mixed chasers.
Melbourne Cup Heat One
1st: (3) Iona Seven â Robert Britton ($6.30) 2nd: (2) Spud Regis 3rd: (8) Dashing Man
Spud Regis began fast to lead the field at the first turn. Iona Seven sat right on his heels and shot away in the straight to qualify. Special mention to Dashing Man who found a heap of trouble and only needed a few more strides to secure the win.
Melbourne Cup Heat Two
1st: (2) Peter Rocket â Keith Hellmuth ($3.30) 2nd: (6) Take It All 3rd: Tee Brady
Sveta Monelli exploded out of box four to lead the field to the first turn, before a very talented chaser in Peter Rocket was quickly sitting on his heels. After some interference to his chasers on the home corner, this talented greyhound shot away to win by 3.8 lengths in a sensational time, just 0.01 behind the best of the night.
Melbourne Cup Heat Three
1st: (1) Proven Maddy â Wayne Vassallo ($7.10) 2nd: (2) Buckle Up Mason 3rd: Easton Bale
Proven Maddy began fast to lead the field around the first turn before being rounded up in the back straight by the speedy Buckle Up Mason. Proven Maddy gallantly fought back in the home straight and made a desperate last surge to secure a finals spot.
Melbourne Cup Heat Four
1st: (6) Black Magic Opal â Jason Thompson ($1.70) 2nd: (1) Gold Town 3rd: (3) Empire Allen
It wouldnât be a Melbourne Cup final without the influence of Jason Thompson and Black Magic Opal didnât disappoint favourite backers as he rocketed from box six, leading all the way in best of the night figures. Gold Town ran a brilliant second in taking plenty of ground off the leader, bringing the winning margin to under a length and is unlucky not to be starting in the final next week.
Melbourne Cup Heat Five
1st: (6) Hawk Alone â Andrea Dailly ($8.50) 2nd: (7) Farmor Las Vegas 3rd: (4) Dyna Nalin
Yet another upset in heat five with Hawk Alone beginning fast from box six to cross his rivals and sit early behind the speedy Whata Good Size. Taking a risky rails run on the home turn, Hawk Alone got the break and shot away to score in brilliant time.
Melbourne Cup Heat Six
1st: Kiss Me Ketut â David Burnett ($6.80) 2nd: (6) Xylia Allen 3rd: (7) Peloton Bale
Kiss Me Ketut began fast from box three before checking off the heels of the early leader and running very wide at the first turn. Superbly made up a stack of ground and was too good in a solid time. Xylia Allen came from last to run second after finding a heap of trouble, sensational run.
Melbourne Cup Heat Seven
1st: (2) Shifty Sticka â Paul Anderton ($3.20) 2nd: (3) Ferly Reign 3rd: (4) Jordan Allen
The well-supported Shifty Sticka began well and sat behind early leader Ferly Reign. Checking off his heels after a failed attempt at a rails run, Shifty Sticka got plenty of room to move in the straight and bounded away by 3 lengths.
Melbourne Cup Heat Eight
1st: (3) Dyna Beth â Andrea Dailly ($22.10) 2nd: (5) Speed Series 3rd: (6) Marcus Joe
The last heat produced the greatest upset by far as Andrea Dailly secured her second runner into next weeks final with a stunning upset by Dyna Berth. In a roughly run affair, the winner managed to catch a few breaks, as there was plenty of interference behind him, however took advantage of some good fortune to produce a strong performance.
While the majority of attention at The Meadows on Saturday night was firmly placed towards Topgun, there were six heats held of what is usually a very entertaining and quite unique series â The Group 1 Hume Cup.
With the Sale Cup being regarded as the âMiddle-distance Championship of Australiaâ, the Hume Cup is actually the only time we get to see top level racing conducted around a two-turn middle distance metropolitan track, and the 2013 version is another not likely to disappoint. Â Â
Things started out with an even affair, as three runners vied for favouritism in the opening heat. Just As Fancy would eventuate as the puntersâ elect from box one, with Destini Fireball and Infinite Wish also receiving plenty of support. It was Lektra Grey for the Lenehan-Dailly combination that would steal the show however, going back-to-back after a big-margin win over the longer trip at Sandown last week.
Paying $8.30 on the local TAB, Lektra Grey overcame a tardy start to find itself second with a lap to go. Just As Fancy was showing the way, after Supersonic Hawk and New Tibur had jumped well but continued to get in each otherâsâ way. Lektra Grey soon slipped into overdrive as the favourite started tiring, and came away for a commanding victory in 34.41.
Destini Fireball ran on nicely into second spot, while Paris Sparks added value to the trifecta in third.
Heat two was expected to be match-race between the two widest runners, Bookkeeper and Proven Impala, however it turned out to be more of a one-act affair. Bookkeeper for the Glenn Dainton kennel flew out of the pink alley, and gave nothing else a chance in an impressive lead-all-the-way performance. While the multiple Group-race winner, Proven Impala was second for the duration of the event, it was powerless to stop Bookkeeper, who ended up six lengths in front in a slashing 34.05.
It gives the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Smashing Amy his first crack at a Group 1 event.
Temlee Winner, Cintiarna, dominated the betting for the third heat and drawn the red rug it seemed a formality that she would bring up her second win in a row. But sealing her own fate in the opening stages, Cintiarna wanted to run up the track, crashing into Blue Giant and sending him tumbling to the ground.
This carnage allowed 20/1 outsider, Easton Bale, to set up a handy lead with a lap to go. Once the field had settled, Evieâs Entity would soon emerge out of the pack and throw down the gauntlet to Easton Bale, with the pair drawing level turning for home.
In a titanic struggle, Easton Bale and Evieâs Entity went stride for stride throughout the home straight, with Easton Bale getting the nod on the post, giving Andrea her second winner for the series in 34.66. Major League was very noticeable in the ground it made up on the leading duo, finishing just over a length from the winner in third place.
There was to be no boilover result in heat four, with Alpe Dâhuez taking it out at odds of around $4.10. Displaying the powerful finish that has seen him win 16 races previously, the Kelly Bravo-trained dog flashed along the rails to narrowly beat Especially and Magpie Bob in 34.60.
Especially was the lamplighter for most of the event with Magpie Bob close in pursuit. While the chasing brigade always looked to be winding up, they seemed to take an eternity to make up the ground, with Alpe Dâhuez only gaining the lead in the final bound.
Named after a French ski resort, the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse has now won over both longer trips at The Meadows.
After all of the Topgun excitement had wound up, it was back on with heat five of the Hume Cup. Defending champion Jethro was drawn five for Kel Greenough, with Darwin Cup winner Take It All where it likes to be, near the rails, in box two.
But punters would be left scratching their heads once again, as Born Ali for Robert Britton would come away as victor, ahead of Hala Belle and Lukey Deez in a time of 34.37. It was a race where nothing made ground from the back, and Born Ali capitalised on a speedy getaway to simply run the others off their legs.
Jethro put in what was clearly the worst run since his comeback, finishing a clear last, while Take It All was in fourth position for entirety of the 600-metre journey.
Veteren trainer, Steven Collins had to wait until the final event to ensure one of his brigade progressed onto next week, as Dyna Willow won in 34.67. Settling second behind Our Pale Ale in the early stages, Dyna Willow proved too classy as the race went on, winning with a couple of lengths to spare.
Without a doubt though, the run of the race and possibly the entire meeting was that of Surf Mail. Starting from box four, the former Queenslander copped a severe check just after boxrise and was a clear last around the first bend. Making up close to ten lengths by the time the field reached the home turn, Surf Mail looked the winner before checking off two sets off heels at the crucial moment. Despite losing all momentum for a second time, he still picked himself up to run second behind Dyna Willow, putting the writing on the wall for a strong performance in the very near future.
The Group 1 $75,000-to-the-winner Hume Cup final will be run on the traditional pre-Melbourne Cup Silver Bullet meeting Monday 4th November.
G1 Hume Cup box draw
- Box 1- Â Â Â Alpe D’huez
- Box 2- Â Â Â Easton Bale
- Box 2- Â Â Â Proven Impala
- Box 4- Â Â Â Lektra Grey
- Box 5- Â Â Â Dyna Willow
- Box 6- Â Â Â Bookkeeper
- Box 7- Â Â Â Hala Belle
- Box 8- Â Â Â Born Ali
A star-studded lineup of stayers will battle it out tonight at Wentworth Park, vying for the coveted Group Three Sydney Cup worth $25,000 to the winner. With the unfortunate scratching of Smart Valentino from box one, betting will be thrown wide open after his perfect box draw and personal best of 41.88, had many already declaring another trophy was heading to the mantelpiece of trainer Mark Swift.
After the heats were run and won last Saturday night, Angela Langton was victorious in both races with talented chasers, Set Sail South (42.20) and Infinite Wish (42.34), capping off a spectacular night for the Victorian trainer.
Mark Gattâs Gradence was gallant in defeat behind Infinite Wish, just nudged out at the finish and Bell Haven for Edward Medhurst put in another solid performance to finish runner up behind Set Sail South.
The all-important box draw will play its roll tonight as greyhounds vie for their position at the first turn and rely on pure heart and stamina to last out the grueling 720m journey.
Group Three Sydney Gold Cup
Box One â Suits Us â Kenneth Burnett ($19.00): finished fifth last week behind Infinite Wish and is yet to record a win over this distance at the track. Has the right box but will need significant improvement to test this hot field.
Box Two â Set Sail South â Angela Langton ($2.60): extremely impressive on debut at the track last week, making his way through the field after a steady start to streak away at the finish in a fast 42.20. Only needs some luck from this draw and will be hard to beat again.
Box Three â Lucy Wires â Robert Britton ($6.00): was at the tail of the field for the majority of her heat last week behind Infinite Wish. Flashed home to finish in fourth spot and will be one to watch if she gets some luck tonight.
Box Four â Bell Haven â Edward Medhurst ($8.50): began fast from box six last week and sat behind the early leader, waiting to make her move she copped a few checks and sprinted to the finish to place second behind Set Sail South. Expect another big performance tonight from this talented stayer, with luck the only element required.
Box Five â Number Krunch â Darren Sultana ($23.00): finished third last week behind Set Sail South after being squeezed out at the start and forced to the tail of the field. Ran home very well and took a lot of ground off those in front of him.
Box Six â Pride Of Egypt â Dawn Garrett ($16.00): very talented stayer who has racked up a stack of wins over the middle and staying distances in recent times. Began very poor last week and took enormous ground of the greyhounds in front of him and didnât have any luck on the home turn. Expect another solid performance tonight, very capable of stealing this.
Box Seven â Infinite Wish â Angela Langton ($4.40): was outstanding on debut at the track last week, edging out track specialist Gradence in 42.34. Will be looking for sixth consecutive win tonight and has a perfect box draw inside a slow beginner.
Box Eight â Gradence â Mark Gatt ($3.80): drawn to perfection out wide as a notable slow beginner. Has a stack of ability and only needs some luck to be victorious. Very gallant in defeat behind infinite Wish last week, just being nudged out at the finish and look for him to wind up at the concluding stages of the race.
The Sydney Cup will be run and won at 9.47pm tonight (EDST).
The month of October has quickly appeared from the winter haze, and those based in the Southern part of our great land are starting to get excited. Previously run in the blazing heat of summer, the Group 1 Adelaide Cup is the premier event on the GRSA calendar and now sits nicely in the springtime, bringing a bumper month of racing to a crescendo finish.
Only 36 entries were received this year, which is well down on what is usually expected for such a time-honoured race. However, the fields certainly donât lack quality and hopefully all readers can navigate their way through such competitive races with a little bit of help.
ADELAIDE CUP HEAT ONE
Quite a tough race to start with. Peter Rocket (box three) continues his road-trip after a brilliant Megastar win at Dapto. He has experience around the 515-metres of Angle Park, but faces some speedy types on this occasion. His fate could depend on Kim Johnstoneâs Encosta Kahn (box one), who usually musters well and could keep Peter Rocket off the fence around the first bend. If either one of those chasers find the early lead the rest may struggle.
Hawk Alone for Team Dailly will exit the eight box. Â He put in admirable runs in both the Derby heat and final here recently, and could represent value if able to avoid trouble.
Farmor Las Vegas (box six) is more known around the Victorian one-bend circuit, but is another that likes to zip out the boxes. Considering the poor draw, and the ability of his rivals, heâs considered a place chance only. Token McLaren (box two) will be near the rear but running on, while the other locals Victa Sam and Galilee Spirit are talented, but face an uphill battle.
Selections: Peter Rocket â Hawk Alone â Encosta Kahn
ADELAIDE CUP HEAT TWO
Ronan Izmir will be odds-on after coming with the red box. He solo trialled in 29.77 last Thursday night and a repeat of that should be good enough to lead all the way. In saying that, S.A Oaks winner Kokoda Spirit makes a return to the track where she came of age, running sub-29.70 in both of her wins during that series. From box eight, itâs simply a matter of whether Ronan Izmir can be crossed, but Mark Morriseyâs dog should qualify as one of the quickest seconds regardless.
Kalden Kurageous (box two) is the best of the locals, and likes the inside draws but is up against some stiff competition. The ever-present Dailly kennel has Osbourne Bale (box three) engaged who won in Melbourne after making the Derby final, but appears a genuine roughie along with the veteran stayer Cousin Callum out in six.
Victa Brooke and Senni Tony will be very big odds, although that didnât stop the latter becoming a huge upset last month.
Selections: Ronan Izmir â Kokoda Spirit â Kalden Kurageous
ADELAIDE CUP HEAT THREE
Looks a race in two on paper. Victorian sprint champ Tomac Bale (box one) is the likely favourite along the rails, with form lines behind Xylia Allen and Spud Regis. Given the better draw on this occasion, and some recent experience at the track, heâll begin fairly then zip straight to the front.
Jason Thompson has brought youngster Phenomenal to Angle Park to start from the widest draw. Resuming from injury, heâs a bit of an enigma, and has a range that varies from the sublime to the terrible. He had a look at the track with a 29.67 trial last week, but would want to improve his first split to avoid first-turn trouble. At his best, Phenomenal would seriously challenge Tomac Bale, but it cannot be guaranteed.
The rest of the field is all up in class, but Two Tree Hill (box four) is the one dog accomplished enough to run a place. The vacant box on his outside will assist, but he wonât lead and it will take a big effort to run down the fancied pair up front.
Again the locals will likely start double figure odds, being Kalden Mischief, Significant Bit and Benchmark, while Modest Ruler comes to Adelaide for the first time while some fair Sandown Park form. All those four have similar ability, with the one obtaining the clearest run becoming a placing possibility.
Selections: Tomac Bale â Phenomenal â Two Tree Hill
ADELAIDE CUP HEAT FOUR
Lots of chances here with the draw making things tough to predict. Iona Seven for Robert Britton will probably start favourite after hitting peak form during September. Sheâs drawn four in a race where early positioning could be crucial.
Fire Tyson (box two) will head towards the middle of the track, and if he begins well it could spell trouble for those runners positioned nearby. Iona Seven might well be one of those, as too could Bubbaâs Dream who jumps back up to feature racing second-up from a lengthy spell. Itâs hard to predict what sort of run he is capable of at this stage of his career, but at his best would run the time needed to win.
Dyna Cari could become the value factor in the race coming in with two impressive Sandown wins to her name. Despite a poor record at Angle Park (no wins from three tries), and a poor history from box six (one win from nine tries), Dyna Cari could be the one to beat with a clean getaway.
Fair Change for Todd Kelly will get the gun run and is worth including in trifectas, while Young Snozz and Stetson Donna should be safe to risk.
Selections: Dyna Cari â Iona Seven â Fair Change
ADELAIDE CUP HEAT FIVE
Rounding out the heats will be the local sensation Ernie Bung Arrow. Ken Gill must be blessing his luck when Ernie came up with the pink rug, and he will be extremely hard to catch with repeat of his 29.55 Derby-winning performance. Expect him to lead with ease.
The challengers will be coming at the end of the race via the Victorians, Walk Hard and Powerhouse. Walk Hard is an underrated chaser that has a Group 1 Hobart Thousand final on his resume, and has recently proven he can run out the two-turn circuits with as much class.
Powerhouse has started to string his good runs together of late, and despite having tonnes of ability, he has been known to find trouble and let punters down at times. He will be popular in the market though, after an impressive 29.65 solo trial in lead up to this series, but question marks remain over his reliability when pressure is on.
Robyn Mackellarâs Dee Dee Corsair is one of the more consistent breakers in S.A, and doesnât look terribly drawn with moderate starters on his left. Itâs definitely a chaser worth considering for multiples.
Cee Ronaldo appears the next best, while Webster, Mark of Love and Carlos Tyson will be relying on some sharp improvement and perhaps a bit of luck to make it through.
Selections: Ernie Bung Arrow-Walk Hard â Dee Dee Corsair.
Unfortunately defending champion Spud Regis has not made the trip across to defend his title, so a new star is to be crowned amongst those above. The Adelaide Cup final is scheduled to be run on October 10 on what is always the biggest night of greyhound racing in the state. Best of luck to all involved.ÂÂÂ
OCTOBER 1st – 7th
Champion stayers Kirstyâs Charity and Whip Tip ran first and second in the Sydney Cup final. Trained by Harry Sarkis, Kirstyâs Charity ran a brilliant 42.27 to set a race record which stood until the grass surface was replaced by loam a few years later.
The 1994 National Sprint Championship final was held at Wentworth Park and won by local hope Gallant Ruler who scored by a record winning margin of 12 lengths from Kyasha (Victoria) and Fear None (South Australia). It was also the last time a National Sprint Championship final took place in October.
Super sprinter Macareena scored a sensational eight lengths win over 580 yards (530 metres) at Wentworth Park downing classy greyhounds such as Majortel and Rua Lad in a solid 31.7.
Irreplaceable annexed the 2008 South Australian Oaks with a stunning seven lengths victory at Angle Park for trainer Majella Ferguson.
Pinkstone narrowly won the 1964 Sydney Cup final. Goldent, who had won her previous seven successive distance starts, finished a three and a half lengths third after being skittled early.
Sonic Wave, a former Victorian, took out the first running of the Sydney Cup on the newly-remodelled Wentworth Park track. Although still run on grass, the race was now contested over 720 metres.
Local star Miss Cruise took out the 1994 National Distance Championship, run at Wentworth Park, downing South Australian Tilka Lass by three-quarters of a length.
One Tree Hill peaked at just the right time to take out the 2008 Paws of Thunder final and give Victorian-trained greyhounds their fourth successive victory in the race. For the second consecutive year Victorian-trained sprinters took all three placings with Mantra Lad second and race favourite El Galo third. One Tree Hill was trained by Victorian mentor Robert Britton but had begun racing in New South Wales and was having her 24th start at Wentworth Park.
Tired won the 1949 Lincoln Stakes, run over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park, earning ÂŁ285 ($570) for his connections. Among the unplaced division were Dreamâs Image (fifth) and Erinâs Ace (seventh). On the same evening, Valley Ann won the prestigious October Stakes.
Mr Slick, representing Victoria, won the 1992 National Sprint Championship. The final was conducted for what would be the last time at the Olympic Park circuit.
Gold Star Lass defeated the up-and-coming Busyâs Chief (a son of former track stars Benjamin John and Busyâs Charm, the litter sister to the great Zoom Top) by three lengths in the 1974 Casino Cup.
The Appin straight track opened in 1975. A crowd of 12,000 was on hand to witness the dayâs racing. Flaming John had the honour of winning the first race.
Painted Wish defeated Silent Assassin and Malawi Law in the 1995 Geelong Cup final, earning $12,500 prize money.
Leprechaun Pace took out the 2007 Paws of Thunder at Wentworth Park in a race completely dominated by Victorian greyhounds. Shanlyn Prince, Bettyâs Angel (a litter sister to the winner), and Meticulous, all Victorians, finished second, third and fourth respectively.
Miagi broke the 720-metre track record with a 42.03 victory in the 2007 Sydney Cup final, defeating Queensland star Miss Brooks by just over nine lengths.
Casino Tom, the South Australian representative, won the 1993 National Sprint Championship on his home track at Angle Park. In a close finish, Casino Tom downed Victorian Amyâs Doll by half a length with NSW contender Benâs Image a half length away third.
Quidame took out the final of the Sydney Cup to join Trojan Tears, Kobble Creek, and Distinctive as the Queenslanderâs who have taken out the long-standing distance classic.
It certainly feels like a long time since a one-turn provincial cup has been run in Victoria, but after the six heats of the Shepparton Cup were held last Monday night, it highlights how entertaining these types of races can be.
While the topic of âseedingâ heats for Group events is something that can be discussed on another occasion, the Shepparton Cup looms as a final stacked with quality as all five heats were won by dogs on the first or second line of betting.
Kicking off proceedings was a small field of five, in which Spud Regis was making his highly-anticipated return. Wearing the black and white stripes, Spud Regis began well enough and led the field for the majority of the 450 metres, but Dark Warrior for Darren McDonald would eventually run over the top and spoil the party in 25.25.
Owned by the Fast-track Racing, Dark Warrior began his career in the quainter surroundings of Tasmania and started with a bang winning his first seven outings. Having since developed his craft in becoming a genuine metropolitan-class sprinter, he will be hard to beat if he can replicate the form that saw him place fourth behind Blackalls Boss in the Group 1 Hobart Thousand in December last year.
Dark Warrior will appreciate the rails draw he has been granted, while Spud Regis will be listed as first reserve for the final, clocking 25.27 in his narrow defeat.
Onto heat two, and again it was the second-favorite who took the prize when Allen Dion for Andrea Dailly won in a time of 25.30. Despite leading all of the way, Allen Dion would eventuate as the slowest of the six heat winners, but the race was one of the more competitive affairs, with the Anthony Azzopardi trained Ferly Reign making things interesting in the home straight.
Allen Dion has drawn box three for Friday nightâs main event, with Ferly Reign hoping for some scratchings to get a gig as second reserve.
Recent maturity winner Marcus Joe was to start $2.30 favourite from box seven in that race, but after copping three checks before the first turn, he would be last of the seven runners across the line.
From here on the results were pretty one-sided, and punters were on the mark more often than not.
Former New Zealand sprinter Clone Your Own turned in the most eye-catching run of the night, with a 25.18 win from box five. Stepping away from the boxes slowly, the Alison Lee-owned son of Droopyâs Marco came from mid-pack to find the lead along the home straight. Once on the bunny he stretched out very nicely, and put five lengths on his rivals soon after, beating Blaster, State Sensation and Sapporo convincingly.
He will start from box two on Friday night, and while he wonât be afforded the same luxuries at the beginning of the race, there will probably not be a stronger dog at the business end of proceedings.
Heat four was a one act affair from a betting perspective, but certainly not in reality as Ronan Izmir was pushed to an inch of his life by Farmor Las Vegas. Starting unbackable as a $1.20 favourite, Ronan Izmir was gunning for six straight wins, but almost blew the streak when the Robert Britton runner got within a neck on the line.
As it turned out, defeat would have still been enough to get a berth in the final with both chasers progressing. With the box draw released, it can be reported that Ronan Izmir will be looking to carve across from box eight while Farmor Las Vegas has drawn poorly in six.
Meanwhile, it wouldnât be a Group race in Victoria without a Bate runner, and Desalle Bale honoured that code by flogging her competitors that were engaged in heat five. Showing no hesitations from box five, the old girl showed she still has what it takes, running 25.14 in her six-length win.
Desalle Bale has been one of the more prolific money-spinners for the Wheeler/Bate combination, having amassed over a quarter-million dollars in her 67 starts to date, with another chance to add to that on Friday, when she will wear the black rug and must always be considered a danger from there.
While Slater Hill was game in defeat as runner up, his series ended there, while Walk Hard and Crackerjack Lil were the high-profile pair amongst the beaten brigade.
Leaving the best until last is the dog that will enter the final as fastest qualifier. Paw Licking for Kel Greenough was expected to be too classy from box eight, and she proved punters right by flying around in 24.92. Such was the pace being created up front, Watta Good Size for Jason Thompson still qualified for the final, despite being beaten over five lengths by the black and white speedster up ahead.
Paw Licking has always been a top class one-turner for owner Allen Lang, and only recently converted to Metropolitan layouts after an emphatic Traralgon Cup victory earlier in the year.
So for the final we have a big-name trainer showdown, with McDonald, Britton, Greenough, Thompson, Dailly, and Bate all competing for the $43,750 heading to the victor.
Group 2 Shepparton Cup Final â Friday 13th September
1) Dark Warrior â Darren McDonald
2) Clone Your Own â Robert Britton
3) Allen Dion â Andrea Dailly
4) Paw Licking â Kel Greenough
5) Watta Good Size â Jason Thompson
6) Farmor Las Vegas â Robert Britton
7) Desalle Bale â Graeme Bate
8) Ronan Izmir â Jason Thompson
9) Spud Regis â Andrea Dailly
10) Ferly Reign â Anthony Azzopardi
The Shepparton Cup series kicks off tonight with six sensational fields competing for a spot in the Group 2 final. This yearâs series sees some serious speedsters contesting the $43,750 event including a mix of proven group performers and emerging young talent.
Shepparton Cup Heat One
Powerhouse sprinter Spud Regis will line up tonight for his second start back from retirement and looks a great chance from box two. The son of Bombastic Shiraz lost no admirers last week when running a strong second behind the electric Ronan Izmir and whilst this is still a very classy race, it is not as difficult as that assignment. The four time group winner is unbeaten from three attempts from box two and has enough early pace to be prominent in the run to the first turn. If he is up near the lead he will be very hard to hold out.
The biggest threat in the event is undoubtedly the sensational Hoover Jack who has drawn ideally in box one. The Peter Hunt trained sprinter has a great record from the cherry and has a perfect one from one over the track and distance where he has recorded a handy 25.41 seconds.
Dark Warrior is racing in fantastic form at present but has been afforded no favours in box six. However, he is generally a great beginner and is capable of finding the front and stealing the win.
Willy Wag Tail is an exciting Tasmanian prospect having his first at Shepparton tonight. The son of Cosmic Rumble faces a sharp rise in class and this race will certainly give an indication of what he is capable of.
Shepparton Cup Heat Two
The Group 1 Maturity winner, Marcus Joe, is the class runner in the second heat, despite being drawn out wide in box seven. The son of Velocette won impressively at Geelong two starts back before running a luckless fourth at his latest assignment. This will be his first race at Shepparton but he has run well first up at different tracks in the past.
Zoenahâs Entity is tardy early but is great at navigating her way into a good position and from box three she looks well suited. The Mogambo bitch is looking to make it three wins in a row after notching up two nice victories at Sandown and The Meadows at her most recent starts.
Cee Ronaldo is another looking to make it three wins in a row and although drawn poorly in box four, he does have a moderate beginner on his inside and a vacant box on his outside which should assist. The son of El Galo has good early toe and looks a genuine threat with a handy 25.65 seconds personal best at Shepparton.
The Wheeler-owned Allen Dion looks the other main chance from the two. Whilst he has not won since mid-June, he has had to contend with some difficult box draws and should appreciate the move in towards the rail.
Shepparton Cup Heat Three
The Robert Britton trained Clone Your Own looks to be the one to beat in the third qualifier. The black chaser, formerly from New Zealand, is in great form at the moment having won three of his last five starts including a slick 25.17 seconds over the track and distance last start. The Group 2 Harrison-Dawson winner is not blessed with much early speed but he should be suited by the big one turn track which will give him plenty of room to move and stretch out.
Blaster has been racing extremely well against some quality chasers recently and will relish the draw closer to the rails tonight. The Premier Fantasy dog is a reliable beginner with two wins from four starts over the trip and a personal best of 25.24 seconds.
State Sensation loves the Shepparton circuit as a winner of seven from 15 however he does appear to be more suited towards the rails. Nonetheless, if he can begin well and find a good position early, he is capable of running a handy race.
Michael Carter is well represented with Jimmy Lane in box four. The son of Dyna Lachlan is a safe beginner with 17 career victories to his name so must be respected.
Shepparton Cup Heat Four
The classy Ronan Izmir was sensational at his track and distance debut last week, leading all the way from box two in a scintillating 24.98 seconds. The son of Elite state moves out to box seven for his heat tonight, the only box he is yet to salute from in his 40 start career. However, with moderate beginners on his inside, he should be able to carve across the field and bring up win number 21 for trainer Jason Thompson.
Ronan Izmir will no doubt be a short priced favourite in the event and rightly so. The best of the rest look to be Blue Giant (Box 1), Fully Advanced (Box 2), and Shadow Lane (Box 3).
Shepparton Cup Heat Five
Desalle Bale has shown tremendous early speed in her recent starts and if she begins like she has been, she will be very hard to beat despite being drawn in the five. The Graeme Bate trained bitch has won 27 races throughout her 66 start career, including a slick 25.25 seconds at Shepparton in December last year.
Slater Hill is a newcomer to Robert Brittonâs Lara kennels after making the transition from NSW recently. At his first start for his new trainer, the red brindle dog ran a handy second at Sandown behind Swans Twelve but will be looking to go one better tonight from box two. Slater Hill is a son of the great One Tree Hill and will just need a bit of luck to feature in the finish after inheriting plenty of his famous mumâs talent.
Walk Hard is drawn on the inside of Desalle Bale which is not ideal but he is unbeaten over the track and distance. The Bit Chili speedster has won three from three at Shepparton with a fast best time of 25.23 seconds whilst he has won 10 overall with a further 10 minor placings from 25 career starts.
Cracker Jack Lil is drawn in box six and is capable of taking out the heat on her night however, she does mix her form and is hard to catch.
Shepparton Cup Heat Six
Paw Licking should prove hard to beat in the final heat drawn out wide in the eight. The son of Elite State is a brilliant beginner and he drops back to a more favourable distance after leading and tiring throughout most of the Nationals series over 525 metres at The Meadows. The white and black dog has won 20 from 32 including the group two Traralgon Cup earlier this year and although this is his first start at the track he has the class to overcome that obstacle.
Jason Thompson has an exciting young prospect on his hands with Whata Good Size facing his acid test tonight against some speedy competitors. As a good beginner he should be able to find a spot on the rails early from box two and with a flawless one from one at the track he looks the testing material for his more experienced counterparts.
Andrea Dailly is not without a chance in the heat, lining up with Garrick Bale from the coveted rails alley. The son of Go Wild Teddy is out of form at present but is more than capable of being a threat in the race if he is on his best behaviour.
The first heat of the Group 2 Shepparton Cup is race three tonight and will jump at 7:50pm (Vic time)
The Buxton Winter Cup final headlined the Victorian provincial scene this week, with a superstar field assembled, including three Group race victors tackling the $10,000-to-the-winner event.
Held over the extra ground of the 596-metres trip, two heats were held last week with Boris Fields for Jason Thompson and Proven Impala for Joe Borg entering the event in winning form. Boris Fields had come up with his favourite cherry draw for the final, and as such would start as the $2.40 popular pick with Proven Impala at $3.40 from box seven.
Recent Darwin Cup winner Take It All was on the next line of betting ($5.20) and would exit the four alley, while Sachin Bale from box six was also under double-figure odds ($8.50).
However, someone forgot to tell punters that Two Tree Hill from the Robert Britton kennel was deep in calculations, as the son of Bombastic Shiraz came out with a smooth beginning and took the trophy home in 34.46.
Having never started over the track and trip until this series, Two Tree Hill obviously benefitted from the experience gained in his heat and turned the tables accordingly bringing up his 21st win overall and sixth win from box three. Paying $32.70 on the local TAB, punters were left scratching their heads and nursing their wallets after reserve runner Quo Vadis completed the $132.00 quinella, with the trifecta returning over $3,000 thanks to Czar claiming third spot, also for the Britton kennel.
Both Boris Fields and Proven Impala were in the midfield pack early on and were never able to get a crack at the leaders from there, finishing fifth and seventh respectively.
The win of Two Tree Hill caps of a stellar week for the Britton kennel, who also took out the $3,050 prize given out at Horsham earlier in the week, thanks to Skinny Vinnie leading all the way in the Vic Bred Grade 5 final.
Carrying a $1000 GOBIS bonus, the race was completed in a winning time of 27.40, but the talented El Galo x Who Told Helen pup would give punters a small scare, winning by just over a length as a hot $1.70 favourite.
It adds to a rich vein of form for Skinny Vinnie with seven of his eleven career wins coming in his last ten starts. That hot streak includes a metropolitan Grade five series when saluting at good odds, and at the time of writing lines he up in the Free-For-All race at The Meadows, worth $6,260 to connections if successful.
Meanwhile, back to Friday nightâs festivities and another attractively funded series concluded at Traralgon, with the club hosting the Castle of Mey Trophy for the Grade four and fives.
As was reported last week, Anthony Flores from the quaint surroundings of Yinnar South would be represented by Hurricane Isaac who zipped around the 513 metres as fastest qualifier from the six heats with a 29.48 run.
Proving he was the premier greyhound competing in the series, Hurricane Isaac got the job done again in the final, winning convincingly in 29.82 over Superstar Magic for Maureen Brown and David Knockerâs Deutronium. Drawn poorly in box five, the $4.20 second favourite was only fair to begin, but found himself sitting just off the speed as the pack flew down the back. Clicking into overdrive in the concluding stages, the margin quickly blew out to four lengths once the February 2011 dog found the lead.
Also owned by Mr. Flores, the son of Paddyâs Flame and Amity Rose is building a handsome reputation as a strong 500-metre style greyhound, and the Castle of Mey Trophy takes his overall purse to $41,288.
Looking ahead, and there is more dosh up for grabs in the coming days, with feature events taking place at Sale on Sunday, Shepparton Monday as well as the rich $7000 Warragul Oaks final on Tuesday night.
It appears the great Irma Bale has run her last race.
The daughter of Bartrim Bale and Amelia Bale lined up in the final of the Victorian Distance Championship on Saturday night, with the series set to be her last campaign on the racetrack. Connections were hoping their bonny bitch would do enough to qualify for this weekâs Group 1 National Final, so that she could attempt to go out in winning style. However, the fairytale ending was not to be, as she weakened to finish in fourth position after leading the race.
Irma Bale did enough, however, to qualify as the second reserve for the final, but a start in the feature is doubtful with her trainer, Graeme Bate, confirming that she is retired unless she gains a start in the $75,000 to the winner event.
âShe is retired as of last night (Saturday)â, Bate said.
âI would be happy to see her to get a start in the final and will prepare her for it this week just in case she does, but it is unlikelyâ.
Irma Bale began brilliantly in what could be her racetrack swansong, spearing directly to the front of the field in the run to the turn. The pint-sized speedster was still a clear leader through the back on the second occasion, however, as she turned for home, she started to get weary and was swamped by the backmarkers who dashed straight passed her. The race was taken out by the Robert Britton trained Mimicking in 42.76 seconds.
For Bate, the run was not disappointing as his plucky little bitch showed plenty of courage and was gallant in defeat.
âShe did a great jobâ, Bate said, âShe tried her little heart out up in frontâ.
âShe is not a true stayer but she still battled away. They only got her half way up the straight and then they swamped her on the line, but she still didnât get beaten by much in fourthâ.
The Paul Wheeler owned and bred bitch has been a marvel on the racetrack, facing the starter on 90 occasions from which she has amassed the impressive record of 37 wins and 31 placings. Included in those wins were four Group victories; the 2012 Group 2 McKenna Memorial at Sandown, the 2013 Group 2 Summer Distance Plate at Wentworth Park, and consecutive victories in the 2012 and 2013 Group 1 Sandown Cup.
While she may not have been classified as a âtrue stayerâ, there is no doubt that she had the class and capability to match motors with Australiaâs best throughout her time on the track. For the majority of her staying career, the black bitch was a regular rival against Miata and although she was probably not held in the same class as the Western Australian sensation, Irma Bale did what Miata could never do when completing a Sandown Cup double. In fact, Irma Bale became the first greyhound to collect consecutive Sandown Cups since the legendary Bold Trease took out the race over four years from 1986 to 1989, and just the fourth greyhound in the history of the event to do so.
Bate has trained the classy performer since the start of her career. The speedy bitch was very competitive over the sprint trip however Bate felt her calling would be over the middle distances. What he did not initially realise was that Irma Bale would go on to prove herself extremely versatile by competing and winning over the staying distance.
âI thought she would be a good bitch for the 600 metresâ, Bate said.
âThere are not a lot of 600 metre races available once you reach the top grade so we stepped her up in distance and she just kept findingâ.
Of all her wins, Bate rates her stunning triumph in the 2012 Group1 Sandown Cup as her most memorable.
âShe looked beaten when the Sydney dog (Heâs My Future) rushed up beside her but she just kept going. They were all over the top of her but she got there. It was one of her most memorable winsâ.
With his staying star now retired, Bate does not have any youngsters ready to take over from where she left off, although he hopes that dual Group 1 winner, Xylia Allen, will have a future over the longer trip.
âI havenât got anyone looking to take her spot. I am hoping one day Xylia Allen will but that remains to be seenâ, Bate said.
Xylia Allen has already had a brief stint as a stayer. At her first start over the 725 metres at The Meadows, she did a great job to lead for the majority of the race but was out of her depth against Miata. Returning the following week for her second and last staying assignment to date, Xylia Allen finished down the track behind Destini Fireball in the Group 1 Superstayers.
Now that Irma Baleâs racing days appear to be over, the rising four year old will embark on a new career – motherhood. The 25.8 kilogram pocket rocket will soon make the trip back to NSW where she is sure to make an excellent broodbitch. While he is sad to see her go, Bate is fortunate to have been a part of such a stellar career and is happy that she has made the transition voluntarily, rather than being forced into retirement.
âI will be very sad to see her go, she has been a great little bitchâ, Bate said.
âIt is satisfying to see what she has done and the prize money she has earned ($579,466) when in reality she is a 600 metre bitchâ.
âShe has had a great career and I would much rather see her go out on a note like she went out on rather than through injuryâ.
Although it would be an amazing twist if Irma Bale did get a start in this weekâs Group 1 AGRA National Distance final, even more so if she were able to go out on a winning note, Irma Bale has lost no admirers. It takes a sensational dog to race so competitively at the top level, let alone over the staying trip, for an extended amount of time and Irma Bale did just that.
When you team up her dazzling record, her superb breeding, her tenacious heart, attitude and genuine will to win, Irma Bale stands out as one of the best of her era and will be remembered for years to come as the champion bitch she truly is.
The Robert Britton trained Mimicking provided one of the biggest upsets of the 2013 Nationals series, powering his way home to score a triumphant victory in the Victorian Distance Final at a massive $32.60.
The race favourite for the event was Graeme Bateâs super stayer, Irma Bale ($2.00), who surprised many punters when tiring after leading. Beginning beautifully from box two, the daughter of Bartrim Bale and Amelia Bale was a dominant leader going past the judge on the first occasion. From there the race appeared at her mercy as she stretched out well in front of her competitors.
Running down the back on the final occasion, the legs of the rising four year old started to get weary and upon entering the home straight she was bombarded by the backmarkers, finishing in fourth position.
Dashing past the four time group winner was Set Sail South( box four), Mimicking (box one) and Gold Affair Two (box five) who all showed an exhilarating burst of staying power however, it was the cherry rugged runner who had the final say, scoring a narrow victory over Set Sail South in a handy 42.75 seconds.
It was the 12th win for the son of Flying Penske from 69 starts on the race track. Prior to Saturday night, Mimicking had not won a race since the 11th April and had been mixing his form against some tough Victorian company over the middle and staying trips.
Although he may have been overlooked throughout the Nationals series, the 33 kilogram powerhouse was a proven group winner after taking out the group three West End Draught Distance Championship at Angle Park, defeating quality group one winning bitch, Proven Impala. Before his group victory in South Australia, Mimicking had contested the group one Solo Bold Trease at Sandown Park, finishing fifth behind Miata, and the group one Macro Meats Zoom Top at The Meadows, finishing sixth behind Destini Fireball.
Set Sail South was gallant in defeat and made it a great duel between the two black chasers in the run to the finishing line. The son of Westmead Hawk will be given the chance to go one better when he lines up for the National final next Saturday night from box seven whilst Mimicking is drawn awkwardly in box six.
Destini Fireball was disappointing in his efforts, finishing seventh. However, the white and black dog already had his ticket in the national final booked regardless of his performance in the state final.
Whilst the Distance series delivered a shock result, punters anticipated Tomac Bale as the winner of the state sprint, sending him to the boxes as the $2.70 favourite. The son of Dyna Lachlan was beaten for speed in the run to the first turn by Kel Greenoughâs Paw Licking and had to settle for second position racing into the back straight. With great determination, the red fawn flash knuckled down to the task and dashed passed the tiring leader to bring up his 11th career win in a sizzling 29.83 seconds.
The group two Launching Pad winner qualified for the state decider courtesy of a scintillating 29.67 seconds heat triumph last week. The best of the night effort from box two was enough to ensure that the Mark Delbridge trained speedster started as the favourite in the event last night and although moving into a horrible box five draw, his class ultimately prevailed.
Amazingly, Tomac Bale has been racing in elite group company for the majority of his short career and can never seem to draw a decent box when it counts. A true testament to this is his draw for the $75,000 to the winner decider next Saturday where he has drawn out wide in box seven however; he does have speed drawn directly on his inside which may actually assist his pursuit to find the rails when the lids fly open.
Clinging onto second position was Paw Licking, who once again weakened on the run home. Nevertheless, Kel will have him in tip top shape to contest the final next week in what is sure to be a thrilling event.
Xylia Allen was third all the way after being beaten for speed in the early stages before kennelmate Imry Bale pipped her for the top three placing just before the line. The daughter of Turanza Bale will still line up for the National feature being the wild card sprinter in the series.
The final box draws for the AGRA Nationals series are as follow:
AGRA National Distance Championship 725m
1. Smart Valentino
2. Destini Fireball
3. Wag Tail
4. Lashing Jill
5. Kalden Mayhem
7. Set Sail South
8. Magpie Bob
1st res Gold Affair Two
2nd res Irma Bale
AGRA National Sprint Championship
1. Xylia Allen
2. Zulu Zeus
3. Rumbling Rick
4. Hopeâs Up
5. Sheâs All Class
6. Paw Licking
7. Tomac Bale
8. Innisplain Jet
1st res Imry Bale
2nd res Dyna Oats
The final piece of the Nationals puzzle will fall into place tonight, when the home state competitors contest the finals of the AGRA Victorian Sprint and Distance Championships. Chasers are looking to qualify for next weekâs group one AGRA National Championships, which have seen the best greyhounds Australia has to offer compete in search of a spot in the final and the $75,000 winnerâs cheque.
AGRA VICTORIAN DISTANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Box One: Mimicking
Mimicking was the surprise result of his heat last week, running a great race at big odds to finish second behind Irma Bale. The son of Flying Penske has been a great money spinner for connections winning 11 of his 68 starts however, he has only won once over the track and distance from 17 appearances which is problematic being in such a classy affair. The Robert Britton trained dog, won the group three West End Draught Distance Championship at Angle Park in April but has not won since then making it hard to see him salute tonight.
Box Two: Irma Bale
The daughter of Batrim Bale has been a fantastic little bitch throughout her 89 start career. The four time group winning distance diva has won 37 races and earned almost $580,000 in prize money. Jumping from box two she should bounce straight to the lead and prove hard to catch. Although she is approaching four years of age, she is still racing well and is certainly capable of pinching the qualifier at what is most likely to be her penultimate race start.
Box Three: Leprechaun Macey
Leprechaun Macey is greyhound racing royalty being out of the exceptional bitch Bettyâs Angel and is developing into a promising stayer herself. With just eleven runs to her name, she has already amassed six wins and two placingâs with a personal best of 42.80 seconds over the trip. Tonight is a sharp rise in grade and it will give a definite indication of her class.
Box Four: Set Sail South
Trained by Angela Langton, Set Sail South has a stack or ability as a winner of eight from 24. The black dog is a true stayer in that he comes from behind to win his races however, being a moderate beginner drawn in a poor box, he runs the risk of finding trouble and eliminating himself from the race early on.
Box Five: Gold Affair Two
One of the most underrated dogs racing at present. The black bitch by Texas Gold out of Olgers Affair flew straight under the radar last week when claiming her heat in a handy 42.88 seconds. As a winner of fifteen races; four of which have been over the track and distance with a best time of 42.70 seconds, she represents the value in the event. Box five is not ideal but she does have enough pace to overcome the draw and race prominently.
Box Six: Dashing Red
The Michael Fox trained performer is always thereabouts and ran a solid race last start when finishing quarter of a length behind Gold Affair Two. The son of Surf Lorian clocked 42.68 seconds when winning over the track and distance in June however, he does his best work from the inside- of his ten race wins only one has come from outside of box three.
Box Seven: Destini Fireball
Destini Fireball is as tough as they come and has been the leading male stayer for quite some time now. The white and black powerhouse boasts an exceptional seven from nine over the track and distance with a hot best of 42.40 seconds. Although being defeated as the odds on favourite in his heat, Destini Fireball will still have a major say in the outcome of the event. As a versatile chaser, box seven will not be an issue and he should get plenty of room to move and wind up the massive motor that he possesses.
Box Eight: Maddison Dee
Last but not least is the consistent Maddison Dee from box eight. The pacey bitch recorded the fastest heat victory last week when defeating Set Sail South by two and one quarter lengths in 42.82 seconds. Although she is suited more towards the rails, she is not without her chance and could potentially qualify for her second group final in just four starts.
First Reserve: Major League
Has run a stack of placings in his recent starts in similar company so can definitely figure in the finish.
Second Reserve: New Tibur
Has really found his best form lately and although he only ran fourth in his heat, he can improve in the final with a clear run.
: DESTINI FIREBALL, IRMA BALE, LEPRACHAUN MACEY, GOLD AFFAIR TWO
AGRA VICTORIAN SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP
Box One: Xylia Allen
The dual group one winner, Xylia Allen, bounced back to her best last week after an unlucky series of runs at her most recent starts. Beginning well from box one in her heat, the daughter of Turanza Bale mustered enough pace to find the lead and snared a determined victory in 29.91 seconds. Drawn well on the inside this week, she should be able to hold a spot on the rails and loom as a massive threat.
Box Two: Imry Bale
The son of Go Wild Teddy scored a great win in last weekâs heats after beginning well from an identical draw, defeating raging favourite Paw Licking in 29.83 seconds. Imry Bale has won ten races over the track and distance at The Meadows, with last weekâs performance his fastest time to date. From a favourable inside draw he has the ability to figure in the finish again this week.
Box Three: Clone Your Own
The former Kiwi greyhound recaptured his dazzling best last week, scoring impressively in 30.07 seconds. The group two Harrison-Dawson winner went through a brief form slump but now appears fresh and ready to race. The biggest concern for the Robert Britton trained chaser is the fact that he is only a moderate beginner and will need to position himself well early to be in with a real chance. Nonetheless, he does have a strong record with 15 wins from 30 starts, three of which have been at The Meadows. If he gets room to move in the early stages he has a live chance.
Box Four: Tick Bale
Tick Bale is a newcomer on the group race scene with only 11 race starts before tonight. The fawn dog is a son of the staying great Jarvis Bale out of Benden Flex so is certainly bred to run however, from a poor draw in the four he will have it all stacked against him at what is definitely his acid test.
Box Five: Tomac Bale
Tomac Bale always seems to draw terribly with tonight no exception. From a great draw in box two last week, Tomac Bale managed to ping the lids and raced away to notch up an eight and a half-length victory in a scintillating 29.67 seconds. The best of the night performance was a personal best for the son of Dyna Lachlan and Princess Bale over the track and distance and he now holds the strong record of ten wins from 16 starts overall. Within those starts was an exhilarating triumph in the group two Launching Pad and despite the shocking draw, his early speed puts him right in the race and makes him the dog to beat.
Box Six: Dyna Oats
Dyna Oats was a shock winner in his heat last week when clocking 30.14 seconds and paying a massive $23.60. Despite being last away, he navigated his way through the pack to notch up career win number nine from box three. Moving into an awkward box six this week he will face a tough challenge and will have to begin a lot better than in his heat to be considered a genuine threat.
Box Seven: General Destini
The 35 kilogram speedster is a litter brother to champion stayer Destini Fireball, who is also lining up from box seven in the Distance final. As honest as they come, General Destini has won 21 races throughout his career with last weekâs heat victory one of his most impressive. After an average beginning, the son of Whereâs Pedro had to do it the hard way but ran on superbly to finish over the top of Kevin Bale in 30.02 seconds. Box seven is not an issue however his lack of pace is, especially with a quick beginner on his outside.
Box Eight: Paw Licking
After a fantastic beginning in his heat, Paw Licking looked the winner but found Imry Bale too strong in the run to the line, going down by two lengths. The son of Elite State will probably lead the field, despite being boxed out wide in the pink and from there it will depend on his strength at the end of the race. If he can pinch a break in the run out of the first turn he will take some catching however, based on last weekâs performance he will not want a chaser like Xylia Allen, who has a sensational finishing burst, directly behind him.
First Reserve: Kevin Bale
Handy sprinter who mixes his form and would need to improve on some of his recent efforts to take out the race.
Second Reserve: Schroder Bale
Classy animal that was unlucky last week. Big chance if he gains a start.
: XYLIA ALLEN, TOMAC BALE, PAW LICKING, IMRY BALE
The middle distance stars will be given their chance to shine tonight at Sandown Park, with six heats of the group two McKenna Memorial. With countless feature events staged for sprinters and a healthy handful for stayers, it is great to see an event for those dogs that cannot perform to their full potential over the shorts but find the gruelling staying journey too arduous.
GROUP TWO MCKENNA MEMORIAL HEAT ONE
Jason Thompsonâs W.A Derby winner Boris Fields has come up with box three in the first heat and with a clean beginning he lookâs hard to beat. The son of Knocka Norris is a powerful greyhound over the sprint distance and should thrive with the step up to 595 metres. The white and blue dog has won thirteen races throughout his 32 start career, with many of those starts in elite group company. Whilst he does not have a great deal of early toe, he has a moderate beginner on his inside and should get every chance.
General Destini is a litter brother to multiple group winning stayer Destini Fireball and should relish the extra distance. The son of Whereâs Pedro has won 20 races and was a runner up in the group two Traralgon Cup two starts back. Although he is drawn out in box seven, he has enough early pace to be prominent and if he can find the lead he will be tough to run down.
Major League is a genuine stayer dropping back to the middle distance however that should not be a problem and from box one he has a good shot.
Darren McDonaldâs Take It All has been racing well lately and has a personal best of 34.18 seconds over the track and distance. Box six is a concern but he has plenty of experience handling himself from a poor draw.
GROUP TWO MCKENNA MEMORIAL HEAT TWO
Proven Impala is the class runner of the second heat and is the one to beat despite being drawn in box five. The Joe Borg prepared bitch was the winner of the group one Rookie Rebel at The Meadows in February and has since gone on to race competitively in group races over the 700 metre distance. Proven Impala is versatile in that she can win when leading or coming from behind and she should be able to match motors with the rest of the field.
Michael Carter has a huge opinion of Corridor who has drawn well in box two. The son of Collision is well suited over the middle distance and has a handy record at Sandown with a win and two minors from four starts over the 595, with his win in a strong time of 34.24 seconds.
Bagget Bale is a sensationally bred greyhound by Go Wild Teddy out of Princess Bale, trained in Victoria by Andrea Dailly. The black speedster has won two races over the distance at Sandown with a fast 34.07 seconds to his name. Whilst he is a backmarker and drawn out wide in box seven, if he can avoid early trouble, he will definitely be swooping late.
Newfire Riley is a smart stayer drawn in the cherry. He has a good record over the track and distance and has been unlucky in recent runs so is more than capable of bouncing back in this event.
Immy Rose is a handy front running bitch who makes her own luck and could pinch it if she can set up a good break on the field.
GROUP TWO MCKENNA MEMORIAL HEAT THREE
Paul Stuart has made the long trip to Victoria with the brilliant Dyna Nalin who will be looking for victory at his debut over the track and distance. Box six is not ideal under any circumstances but if there was ever a dog who could overcome the dismal draw it is this bloke. He boasts an impeccable record of 20 wins and five minors from 30 starts and is as strong and honest as they come and will only need a bit of luck at box rise to feature.
Set To Shine is a promising NSW stayer entering the series after three dominant wins at Richmond and Wentworth Park (42.01, 42.34, 42.68 seconds) The daughter of Mandagery Man likes to lead, and will give plenty of cheek out in front if given the chance.
Surf Mail is undefeated over the 595 after two attempts for trainer Darren McDonald. The light fawn three year old has been winning impressively over the sprint trip of late and should flourish with the step back up in distance. Box three is ideal for him to sit behind the leader and run home strong.
Cornelius Fudge is a good young dog, yet to win over the track and distance but is always thereabouts and should not be left out, much the same as Bing Gordyn who has won his last two over the middle distance in an identical time (34.65 seconds).
GROUP TWO MCKENNA MEMORIAL HEAT FOUR
Sandra Collinsâ Cintiarna will be looking to redeem herself after a close second last start behind Bing Gordyn. The group winning bitch has a stack of ability and looks suited by the rise in distance where she has recorded a slick 34.20 seconds win two starts back. With 20 victories under her belt, the daughter of Bombastic Shiraz should be able to handle box four and is the one to beat.
Calm Model will be making her debut in Victoria from the rails box. The 24 kilogram lightweight is by Collision out of Clay Model and has won her last four starts in great fashion. Last month, the red brindle bitch claimed the $20,000 Richmond Oaks followed by two fantastic wins over the middle distance at Unibet Gardens (34.86, 34.49 seconds). Calm Model appears to have improved her box manners which will definitely help in this event where she will face her acid test against some serious competition.
Fancy Liza is another NSW prospect who has had no luck in her recent starts. The Brett Lee bitch does not have much pace early and has been finding all sorts of trouble racing in group company. Despite her lack of early zip, she is a great little stayer who took out the Group One Association Cup at Wentworth Park in April. From box three she will be hoping to avoid interference when the outside runners cross over to the rails and although stepping back in distance she still has the class to be a threat.
The third NSW chaser in the event is Whereâs Keroma in box five for Anthony Azzopardi. The white and blue fawn dog has a stack of ability but can be hard to pick as he mixes his box manners. Nonetheless he has been racing well over the longer distance at Wentworth Park and should be included in the multiples.
New Tibur for Robert Britton has to contend with box six, but has won his last three starts, all at Sandown including a last start 34.26 seconds triumph.
GROUP TWO MCKENNA MEMORIAL HEAT FIVE
Super stayer Destini Fireball will jump in heat five from box seven. The classy greyhound has won 22 races with over $440,000 in prizemoney accumulated in his 41 start career. The 37 kilogram powerhouse stepped back down to the 595 metre trip last start when an unlucky fourth behind Bing Gordyn. Destini Fireball has a strong record from out wide and is the main contender in his heat.
Zelemar Fever looks a threat, returning from a stint in W.A where she placed fifth in the Oaks at Cannington last start. Before that, the daughter of Bombastic Shiraz had qualified in a scintillating 30.23 seconds and based on that form she should run a good race from box four.
Set Sail South has had two runs over the track and distance for two wins and moves out to box eight this week. Trained by Angela Langton, the black dog showed tenacity last start when overcoming trouble and interference to land victory in 34.72 seconds. Whilst the time was not overly impressive, he showed great promise in the way he took out the event, and as such he is one of the main chances.
Lektra Angie is impeccably bred and well boxed in the two, with a good personal best over the distance (34.28 seconds). Although she has been mixing form lately, she is capable of running a handy race and causing an upset.
GROUP TWO MCKENNA MEMORIAL HEAT SIX
Graeme Bateâs Irma Bale looks the standout from box two in the final heat. From the draw she should be able to bounce to the lead, and from there she wonât get caught. The front running stayer claimed her second Sandown Cup in May and has started twice since then for a second and a fifth. The Batrim Bale bitch should be winning this, with the 595 trip the perfect distance for her to shine.
Amadeus Strikes is a strong and ultra-consistent NSW bitch who has won her last two starts at Wentworth Park in sensational times (29.77, 29.79 seconds). From box five she may find it a bit tricky but is definitely one of the biggest threats to Irma Bale as a proven chaser over the middle distance, claiming a heat of the Big Dog Cup in 35.18 seconds.
Aeroplane Eddie is an emerging talent with eight wins and four minors from fourteen starts. The son of Velocette is a middle distance specialist and should be storming home from box seven.
Magnum Blast has been doing a lot of travelling of late and has been racing well against some tough company. From box three he is not without a chance.
The first heat of the group two McKenna Memorial will jump tonight at 7:25pm, with next weekâs final offering $40,000 to one talented greyhound and some happy connections.
Punters got off to a rough start in the first semi-final of the Group One Peter Mosman with the honours going to the Graeme Bate prepared Schroder Bale paying $10.20 for the win. Beginning well from box seven the black and white dog took advantage of Black Magic Opalâs poor beginning to find the lead in the run to the first turn and from there it was a case of times and margins as the son of Dyna Lachlan and Amity Bale kicked clear to notch up his eighth career victory in a breathtaking 29.61 seconds. Schroder Bale came into the series with fantastic form as a recent finalist in both the Group Two Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park (4th behind Clone Your Own) and the Group Two Warrnambool Cup (6th behind Ronan Izmir). Also sneaking through to next weekâs final was the Jane Carrutherâs trained Clockwise who ran a fantastic race from box two to finish just one and a half lengths off the winner.
Race favourite Black Magic Opal was disappointing when finishing down the track in seventh position. The Group Two Maitland Gold Cup winner began poorly from box six and did not fire at all missing a place for the first time at start number 21.
The second semi went to another Graeme Bate sprinter with Quiz Bale blitzing her rivals in a red hot 29.87 seconds. The petite black bitch took full advantage of an inside draw as Black Rip caused commotion when crossing from box eight to rail through on the first turn and set up a winning break down the back. Remarkably Quiz Bale is yet another pup by underrated sire Dyna Lachlan who also sired the previous winner Schroder Bale. Quiz Bale is out of the great producer Princess Bale who is the mother of Bagget Bale, Barcia Bale, Desalle Bale and Purcell Bale amongst others with the 28 kilogram pocket rocket certainly proving to be right up there with the best her mum has thrown. Last nightâs win was the eleventh for Quiz Bale after just 22 starts whilst she has another four placings to her name. Flashing home to get within half a length of the winner was the powerhouse Triggsy who in turn made it two Bate/Carruthers quinellaâs in a row when qualifying for the final.
The third semi went to Central Coast chaser Johnny Fire who ran the race of his life clocking a scintillating 29.63 seconds for the trip. Beginning in a flawless 5.38 seconds early the son of Knocka Norris and Gunna Oz made his rivals look like fifth graders, stretching out beautifully to claim the event by four and three quarter lengths. Johnny Fire is the only dog his trainer Trevor Hagney has in work at present but based on his performance, the full time electrician may be $75,000 richer this time next Saturday night. The black speedster has faced the starter on 28 occasions saluting 15 times whilst he has accumulated a further eleven placings. Last nightâs performance was easily his best time over the track and distance where he has now won four races and placed third behind Charmed Assassin in the Group Three New Sensation in March. Also making it through to the lucrative final was Michael Carter with his charge Shadow Lane navigating his way through the field to cross the line in second position.
The fourth and final semi went to yet another Graeme Bate runner with Xylia Allen blowing spectators and rivals away with a determined performance that is quickly becoming a trademark for the iron bitch. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale is a freak in the kindest of ways, overcoming all kinds of bumps and knocks on the first turn including being turned sideways but managed to find her feet, regain her momentum and mow down her opposition in a brilliant 29.84 seconds. The black speed machine has won fourteen of her 30 starts including the Group One Sapphire Crown at Sandown Park where she ran down Jason Mackayâs airborne Punch One Out to claim the $100,000 winnerâs purse. With her tendency to dwell and still dominate her races, Xylia Allen is quickly transforming into one of the most exciting youngsters to watch and should put on a scorching demonstration next Saturday night. Gallant in defeat was fellow Victorian Iona Seven for Robert Britton who was just one and a half lengths behind the winner in second position and will also go through to the decider.
The $75,000 to the winner Peter Mosman will be the highlight of a sensational night of racing at Wentworth Park next Saturday. With eight exceptional youngsters engaged it will truly be an enthusiasts dream to see yet another champion emerge from the series and write their name in the record books alongside the greats.
The box draw for the Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic Final is:
2013 Group 1 Peter Mosman Final Box Draw
1. JOHNNY FIRE TREVOR HAGNEY
2. XYLIA ALLEN GRAEME BATE
3. SCHRODER BALE GRAEME BATE
4. TRIGGSY JANE CARRUTHERS
5. SHADOW LANE MICHAEL CARTER
6. CLOCKWISE JANE CARRUTHERS
7. QUIZ BALE GRAEME BATE
8. IONA SEVEN ROBERT BRITTON
FIRST RESERVE FERLY REIGN ANTHONY AZZOPARDI
SECOND RESERVE VEYRON BALE ANDREA DAILLY
Round two of the Group One Peter Mosman series kicks off at 8:50pm tonight with four action packed semiâs offering a tantalizing quaddie for greyhound racing enthusiasts on what will be a terrific night of racing at Wentworth Park.
GROUP ONE PETER MOSMAN SEMI ONE
The first semi will be keenly watched with the freakish Black Magic Opal lining up from box six. The two year old sprinter was a resounding winner of his heat last week in a blistering 29.77 seconds on a rain affected track with the sizzling time easily the best of the night. The group two Maitland Gold Cup winner has good box speed and an enormous motor when he hits the ground. The son of Magic Sprite has won 16 races from 20 starts and is clearly the one to beat in the astute hands of Jason Thompson.
Boxed to get a perfect run into the race on his outside is the Graeme Bate prepared Schroder Bale who ran a fantastic second behind Gold Town last week beaten three lengths in 29.92 seconds. The youngster has been racing consistently in group company over recent months whilst he possesses 7 wins and 9 minors from 24 starts and an excellent record from box seven with four starts for three wins.
Bate has two other runners engaged in the first semi with Queensland Futurity winner Purcell Bale drawn in the one and Mosman heat winner Noble Bale drawn in box three. Purcell Bale is a resilient little bitch with a personal best of 29.71 seconds over the track and distance however she can dwell at the start which can cause problems from the cherry. Noble Bale on the other hand is boxed to perfection in the white with a very strong record of three wins from five starts wearing the rug number 3 . The black and white chaser has been a marvellous dog thus far with 17 wins and 7 placings from 41 starts. Noble Bale began well in his heat last week from box six and was a strong winner in 30.22 seconds over Shadow Lane.
Jane Carruthers is engaged in the first semi with yet another pup by boom sire Magic Sprite with Clockwise drawn in box two. The black bitch out of Elizabeth Royal has had ten starts and whilst she has only won two races, one of those was in the Group Three Magic Maiden final. The 28 kilogram chaser has also recorded a fast win at Gosford in 29.76 seconds and although she does not have much early pace, watch for her to be storming home.
GROUP ONE PETER MOSMAN SEMI TWO
Jagger Swagger was a little disappointing in last weekâs heats from box one however he is more than capable of bouncing back to his brilliant best from box two in the semis. Trained by Mark Azzopardi the son of Premier Fantasy has won nineteen races from 29 starts including triumphs in the Group One National Derby, The Group Two Richmond Derby and the Group Three Bulli Gold Cup. He also holds a great record from inside boxes with ten starts resulting in 7 wins and 2 placings. He is boxed to win but must do better than last week as he is drawn in a cracking field.
Frank Hurstâs enthralling youngster Zulu Zeus lines up from box six in the second semi. The airborne son of Whereâs Pedro and Fancy Jaffa has won five from twelve including a sensational 30.08 seconds domination at Richmond in May. The black dog ran the best race of his short career just two starts back when almost running down Jagger Swagger in The Bulli Gold Cup final which was followed last start by a good third behind Veyron Bale in last weekâs heats. Box six is a concern however he is a safe beginner and should run a good race.
Double Twist recorded the second fastest time last week(29.92 seconds) when landing her heat by three lengths however will have to overcome a horror draw in box five. The daughter of Whereâs Pedro and Tifi has a dazzling record of 10 wins and 4 seconds from just 15 starts with a best time of 29.65 seconds at Wentworth Park and will only need a clean beginning to be able to blow them away.
Triggsy, a litter brother to Clockwise also lines up in the second heat from box three. The Carruthers trained greyhound has won 10 from 23 however he is a backmarker that will need to find a few lengths at the beginning to be close enough to run down these top quality dogs.
GROUP ONE PETER MOSMAN SEMI THREE
There are eight genuine chances in this race with six of the runners coming up from Victoria.
Gold Town ran up to his best form last week when claiming his heat in a nippy 29.92 seconds from box five. The black dog moves one box towards the rails for the semis into the blue and although this is not ideal if he can begin like last week he should go close to leading and can pinch victory here. The Peter Hunt sprinter has won twelve races overall with two wins at Wentworth including a scintillating 29.49 seconds recorded in March.
Veyron bale also claimed his heat last week running a quick 30.12 seconds for Andrea Dailly and has drawn box two in his semi. The son of Meticulous is well travelled recently racing in both Western Australia and Victoria with success. He is very consistent and boxed well so should run a good race if he gets room to move in the early stages.
The best of the local hopes is the talented Johnny Fire who will line up from box six for Trevor Hagney. The Knocka Norris two year old is always there about with 14 wins and 11 minors from 27 starts. The 32 kilogram dog is as tenacious as they come and very reliable with the ability to win from out wide, or on the rails. Johnny Fire has a best of 29.79 seconds at Wentworth Park and it would come as no surprise to see him figure in the finish.
On his inside is Graeme Bateâs Tee Brady who has shown enormous potential after just seven starts winning five races in impressive fashion around Victoria. He ran a great race at his track debut last week running second behind fellow competitor Veyron Bale and despite the awkward draw in box five he could quite easily reverse the results from last week.
GROUP ONE PETER MOSMAN SEMI FOUR
Run of the night last week went to Xylia Allen who overcame a poor beginning and congestion to deliver her trademark spine tingling victory in a fast 29.93 seconds. The black bitch has won 13 from 29 including the Group One Sapphire Crown two starts ago. The daughter of Turanza Bale has no pace early but has a tremendous motor once her paws hit the ground. If she can navigate her way into a handy position from box six in the run out of the first turn she will run down the leader and score her fourteenth win.
Local hope Ferly Reign will be hoping to give Xylia Allen a shake when the black dog jumps from the cherry for Anthony Azzopardi. The son of Bombastic Shiraz took out his heat in fine style last week clocking a great win in 29.99 seconds over Johnny Fire and whilst he has never started from box one he has a liking for the inside with two wins from two starts from the checks.
Iona Seven is a promising type from the Robert Britton kennel with six wins from 13 starts including slick wins at Sandown (29.42 seconds) and The Meadows (30.40 seconds) who ran a top race at his track debut last week qualifying in third position behind Double Twist. Iona Seven is a good beginner who should get a clear run into the race with Xylia Allen, a poor beginner, boxed on his inside.
The semi-finals are a must see event tonight with the first two from each semi progressing through to next weeks $75,000 to the winner final- what is shaping up to be an incredible race.
There is no doubt the current generation of young sprinters in Australia is nothing short of phenomenal, in fact you would not be far off the money to say that it is one of the strongest generations greyhound enthusiasts have seen in recent years. Tonight marks the start of one of the most gruelling age classics nationwide with the heats of the Group One Peter Mosman at Wentworth Park.
Run over three weeks the $75,000 series is host to the best 80 sprinters whelped on or after the 1st December 2010 with the honour roll bursting with former track stars including Solve The Puzzle (1998), Big Sam Banner (2002), Elite State (2003) and Surf Lorian (2004) whilst last year it was taken out by top liner Garrick Bale. With nine spectacular heats tonight below are a few of the standout runners in the series.
Hard to go past the superstar Black Magic Opal in the first heat despite the fact that he has drawn poorly in box five. He is one of the most exciting sprinters to come out of the Central Coast in recent times and is now in the astute hands of master trainer Jason Thompson. He was a dazzling winner of the Group Two Maitland Gold Cup in April and has won two from two for Thompson in Victoria in near track record times. With nineteen starts for fifteen wins and four seconds to his name including a 29.79 seconds over the track and distance he should take some beating.
Despite the scratching of boom pup Zulu Zircon heat two is still a fantastic race with local star Winsome Charlee boxed in the cherry for John and Minnie Finn. The daughter of Whereâs Pedro and Ramblinâ Ruby has been freshened up for the series and will be lining up for her first start in almost a month. Winsome Charlee has won fourteen races all up including five at Wentworth Park with a best of 29.66 seconds and loves box one with four wins and a placing from five starts. The plucky little bitch does not have genuine zip but she makes up for it with a combination of heart and a big motor. Winsome Charlee is always thereabouts and has a strong record in group finals finishing third in the Group One National Futurity behind Sometimes Speedy and Punch One Out and second in this yearâs Golden Easter Egg behind Grigorieva Bale. Shadow Lane will be her biggest threat from box three with some speedy times down south for Michael Carter including a nippy 29.86 seconds triumph last start at Sandown.
Heat five will see three time group winner Jagger Swagger line up from the rails box off the back of his terrific win in the Group Three Ranvet Gold Cup. The 36 kilogram son of Premier Fantasy and Surpassing took out the Group One National Derby at Unibet Gardens followed by the Group Two Richmond Derby earlier this year. The Mark Azzopardi trained sprinter has a personal best of 29.56 seconds over the track and distance as well as a flawless three from three from the one. His litter brother Incumbent is in the same heat from box three and is a handy performer in his own right with nine wins from 18 starts. Best of the rest is Gold Town who ran a near track record 29.49 seconds during the Easter Egg series however he is a bit hit and miss and Jagger Swagger is more reliable especially from box one.
In the following heat Gold Cup runner up Zulu Zeus also has the luxury of an inside draw and will be the dominant favourite after nearly running down Jagger Swagger last start. The Frank Hurst greyhound has won five races from eleven starts with a scintillating 29.83 seconds recorded at his last start in town over Tempest Shiraz. The youngster does not turn two until August but is in a class of his own with blistering times at Bulli (26.20 seconds) and Richmond (30.08 seconds)
Making the trip to NSW for the series is Group One Sapphire Crown winner Xylia Allen who will line up from box four in the seventh heat. She is about the only dog in the series who can get knocked left right and centre and still win emphatically and she looks set to win again tonight. She lacks early pace but is extremely resilient in running and has an enormous motor once she finds her feet. To put it simply with a clear run there is no dog in the race that can beat her because she is an absolute machine. If there is a bunch up rails runner Clockwise will be hoping to sneak through on the inside and snare the event. She has only had nine starts but has shown a stack of ability with fast times at Gosford(29.76 seconds) and Wentworth Park (30.01 seconds). She has never had box one but I canât see it being a problem for her.
Xylia Allenâs talented litter brother Amram Allen will line up from box three in the heat after his freakish sister and looks to be right in contention. The black dog has put together ten wins and ten placings from 27 starts and was a dominant last start winner in 26.06 seconds (BON) at Warragul over Purcell Bale. He seems to have about as much speed as his sizzling sister but from the white he should be able to sit behind the speed and pounce on the leaders. His biggest threat is fellow Victorian and Group Two Harrison-Dawson victor Clone Your Own who will make his Wentworth Park debut from box six. The former New Zealander is trained by Robert Britton and has been racing brilliantly since venturing across the Tasman with six starts for four wins and a placing.
Included in this were thrilling times at Sandown clocked over three consecutive weeks (29.49, 29.41, 29.48 seconds). Box six is a concern however he is one from one from the green- if he can handle the track he will give them a shake.
The first race on a fantastic card at Wentworth Park will jump at 7:30pm. With so many exhilarating speedsters engaged in the series the next three weeks will certainly be action packed for greyhound racing enthusiasts and will reveal who Australiaâs top young chasers are.
It was the night that greyhound racing enthusiasts nationwide had been waiting for and despite dreary weather conditions Sandown shined with some dazzling performances that kept track-goers smiling and ensured that unlike their clothes, their spirits were not dampened.
It all started with the heats of the Sandown Cup which saw the return of Australiaâs staying sweetheart Miata.
The red fawn dynamo was returning to the track for the first time since March and bounced back to her best qualifying for the final in 42.39 seconds over the fast finishing Steve Allen. Whilst this was not the fastest heat time, it took a lot of heart and courage for Australiaâs highest stakes earner to return to the winners list first up after an extended break and against some of the countryâs best stayers. Miata will be better for the run and will start next Thursday in the final which is expected to be her racing swansong.
Prior to Miata strutting her stuff on the track, staying marvel Destini Fireball stamped himself as one of the greats with a strong 42.21 seconds success over outsider Reckless Charm. The white and black son of Whereâs Pedro and Greyâs Destiny is a multiple group one winner and is right in contention for yet another trophy to sit upon trainer Emilio Rinaldiâs mantelpiece when he lines up in the feature on Thursday night.
Heat three was won by the ultra-consistent Irma Bale, yet another headliner for Laraâs Graeme Bate. The pint sized performerthe scales at just over 25 kilograms but has the heart of a lion, leading all the way from box eight in a blistering 41.92 seconds in front of 50-1 chance Maddison Dee.
The fourth and final heat was taken out late in the night by Proven Impala for Joe Borg. The Velocette bitch is a winner of 25 races and over $230,000 in stakes money and certainly showed her class dominating the race to win over Tasmanian star Bell Haven in a sizzling 42.06 seconds.
Moving onto the group finals where Robert Britton took out the group-two Harrison Dawson with former New Zealand chaser Clone Your Own. Beginning only moderately from the cherry, the 33 kilogram dog weaved his way throughout the field to sit third on the first turn before pushing up on the outside of Warrnambool Classic winner Premier Event to take up the lead. The son of Droopyâs Marco was too strong on the line for Graeme Bateâs Irmy Bale who ran a gallant race to claim second with the winner taking out the event in a scintillating 29.48 seconds.
Grand old chaser Glen Gallon did not lose any supporters finishing third after another usual gutsy performance. Last nightâs triumph was the first group win for Clone Your Own with his record now standing at 16 starts for nine wins and five placings whilst it appears the sky is now the limit for the two and a half year old sprinter. Another interesting note from this race is that all runners finished in race book order- a very rare feat especially in a group race final!
Bateâs luck was reversed in the second feature event on the night with the phenomenal Xylia Allen flashing home to claim the $100,000 Sapphire Crown. After a poor beginning you would have been forgiven for focusing your attention on race leader El Brooklyn who exploded from the boxes, with NSW speedster Punch One Out quickly finding a spot behind her and looking an ominous threat. In the meantime Xylia Allen was pushed wide on the first turn in a scrimmage which saw kennelmate Desalle Bale take a heavy tumble. In a run similar to her heat win last week the stunning black daughter of Turanza Bale knuckled down to the challenge and just when Mackayâs chaser looked the winner, Xylia Allen loomed up and zoomed past to claim the event by a length on the line in 29.51 seconds. The 30 kilogram pocket rocket is freakish in her ability to take a thrashing and still win and has now done so on twelve occasions whilst she also has nine placings to her name after just 28 starts.
With the sprinting highlights done and dusted the spotlight will shine on Sandown once again next Thursday for the stayers with a highly talented field assembling for The Sandown Cup at what will be a night of greyhound racing history when we say goodbye to the magnificent Miata.
Greyhound racing does not get any better than this Thursday night at Sandown Park. The action-packed eleven race card offers a tantalizing treat for enthusiasts with the Group one Sandown Cup heats highlighted by the return of champion bitch Miata whilst the best Australian sprinters will also congregate for the running of the group one Sapphire Crown and the group two Harrison-Dawson.
The latter will be the first feature final to fly being race six with eight sensational males vying for the $100,000 first prize at 8:58PM.
BOX ONE: Coming up with the coveted cherry box is the former New Zealander CLONE YOUR OWN who has managed to sneak under the radar and into the final after a dominant heat win last week. The son of Irish sire Droopyâs Marco began moderately from box six and with plenty of room to move in the early stages, charged his way into the top spot around the first turn clocking a blistering 29.41 seconds ahead of Irmy Bale. Since joining the astute kennels of Robert Britton in April, the black speedster has barely put a paw wrong winning three of his five starts with a third placing also to his name. Another point worth noting about this bloke is that he has never drawn the one after eighteen starts and whilst he holds an impeccable record from out wide, box one is the enviable box to have in big races. The under rated dog in the series who has a great chance of holding a vital position on the rails and could be a serious contender for the prize.
BOX TWO: Ever consistent three year old Irmy Bale has drawn well in box two for legendary trainer Graeme Bate. The son of Go Wild Teddy and Amity Bale ran a fantastic race last week flashing home to finish one and a quarter lengths off Clone Your Own after the leader set up a big margin down the back. As a winner of 23 races and with a brilliant record from the checks Irmy Bale is right in contention for this event. The biggest thing working against him is that it often takes him a few strides to hit top gear; however there is not an enormous amount of speed drawn around him so he should get every chance.
BOX THREE: Champion Queensland veteran Glen Gallon proved that his age was not affecting him last week when qualifying for the final in the fastest time of the four heats (29.39 seconds). The red brindle son of Flying Stanley is a multiple group one winner ( 2011 Winter Cup and 2011 Brisbane Cup) whilst he has been placed in five other group one final (2nd in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, 2012 Silver Chief, 2012 National Sprint Championship, 2012 Brisbane Cup, and ran third in the 2012 Group 1 Temlee). The Tony Brett prepared greyhound has won 34 races from 61 starts including his last four in succession and with six victories from box three he is the one to beat. A win in the Harrison-Dawson would also propel his stakes earnings to over $603,000 and would firmly reinforce him in third position on the list of Australiaâs top prize money earning greyhounds.
BOX FOUR: The second of three runners for Graeme Bate is the well performed Schroder Bale who will be aiming to go one better than last week when defeated by Andrea Daillyâs Garrick Bale. Beginning fast from box four last week, he found trouble early and was knocked back into fourth position before firing again on the home turn to finish three and a quarter lengths off the winner in second. The Dyna Lachlan pup has been racing competitively in good company of late but once again will have to raise the bar in this race with so much experience and talent spread across the field. The black and white dog is another youngster out of top producer Amity Bale who has qualified three runners into this weekâs final- a sensational achievement for any sire or dam to attain. As a good beginner he should be up there in the early stages.
BOX FIVE: Angela Langton will be hoping her Warrnambool Classic winner Premier Event can make it his second group two event in as many weeks when he lines up from the awkward box five. The white and black chaser began quickly in his heat last week and gave nothing else a look in clocking a slick 29.54 seconds for the 515 metre trip. The son of Premier Fantasy has won seven from nineteen and should be matching motors with Schroder Bale in the early stages. He definitely has the speed to lead and if he finds the front he will take some running down.
BOX SIX: Hurricane Isaac ran the best race of his life last week when finishing second behind Glen Gallon however this is a steep rise in class especially from box six. As a winner of eight overall from 26 starts including a nippy 29.66 seconds he is certainly an above average sprinter for Anthony Flores yet has only won one of his last eight starts and looks to have it stacked against it him in the final. Regardless of this, the black chaser is all heart and is capable of running a cheeky race. As a $900 purchase it would be one of the greatest rags to riches story if he could bag the $100,000 feature for his 65 year old mentor.
BOX SEVEN: Garrick Bale, another Paul Wheeler bred chaser will line up from box seven for Anakieâs Andrea Dailly. The winner of the 2012 group one Peter Mossman must be respected as a winner of fifteen races including a triumph in last weekâs heats recording a hot 29.61 seconds over Schroder Bale. He also possesses a strong second section, however he will need to be up with the leaders in order to utilize it and with so much speed drawn ideally on the inside he will have to be at his best to challenge from the black. Despite this it would not be unlike the Wheelerâs to produce a group winner at big odds.
BOX EIGHT: The last of Amity Baleâs trio is Kevin Bale for you guessed it- Graeme Bate. The Lara trainer certainly knows how to put the polish on his team for the big races and there is no doubt Kevin Bale as well as Bates other two runners in the event will start being 110% ready for action. Kevin Bale has won 16 from 54 and ran home well behind Premier Event last week whilst he has won four races over the track and distance including a handy 29.59 seconds recorded last June. The 32 kilogram chaser has been racing consistently and is always thereabouts however he does prefer to be drawn closer the rails especially against such tough opposition.
1ST RESERVE: After finishing third to Glen Gallon in the heats, Nikitaâs Elite makes it through as the first reserve. A winner of nine from 33 who has plenty of talent but faces a tough test should he get a run.
2ND RESERVE: Boris Fields for Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson has a good shot if he gets a run particularly if drawn towards the inside. A winner at Sandown in 29.36 seconds he must be considered if he gains a start.
3. Glen Gallon
1. Clone Your Own
5. Premier Event
South Australian trainer Troy Murray enjoyed a tremendous night at Angle Park last week however it may just be eclipsed as he stares down the barrel of two Group race victories in one night. With a duo of chances in the Group 3 Anniversary Cup, he also prepares grand stayer Kalden Mayhem who again lines up in a feature staying event.
The son of Big Daddy Cool and Abbadale Gold was whelped in October 2008, making him over four and a half years old, and despite 108 starts and 51 career victories he has lost none of the form that has made him the dominant stayer in S.A for multiple years. He will line up from box two in the Group 3 West End Draught Distance Championship worth $25,000 to the winner, and based on his stirring comeback in last weeksâ heat, he can only be described as a leading chance to add to his $171,000 in career earnings.
Lining up from box five he was far too strong for race favourite Proven Impala last week, running 43.36 and with only two heats, he meets much of the same quality opposition the second time around.
Proven Impala will benefit from the run, of course, but she conceded a significant lead to be run down last week, and would need to rectify that if she wishes to turn the tables and steal the top prize. She is currently listed as $2.50 favourite in the event, which does seem under-odds considering the awkward draw (four) and the dogâs mixed form in the past few weeks. Regardless of the betting aspect, Proven Impala is a quality chaser and trainer Joe Borg would be hoping for a successful showing from his prize bitch.
The other two greyhounds gaining a run from that first heat were Robert Andrew and Miss Woods. Robert Andrew was only beaten 1.75 lengths and could be a smokey for trifecta players, while Miss Woods has shown her ability over the 731m on many occasions and is expected to find this lot a little bit too good.
The second and final heat last Thursday was taken out by Mimicking for Robert Britton and Cherie Ivers. He is generally known as a get-back-run-on type of stayer and has been seen tailing fields on occasion. However that was certainly not the case last week where he found himself in second place upon settling and was always going to be too strong from there. Drawing box one for this appears an advantage at first, however the dog in winless from all starts when exiting the three inside boxes (none for six when beginning from the red) and that poses concerns for punters.
The start before last was an impressive victory ahead of Maddison Dee at The Meadows, and perhaps this is a sign that Mimicking is ready to put his best foot forward on a more consistent basis. With expected odds of around 5/1 youâd be taking him on trust.
The abovementioned Maddison Dee has also made the final and will start from box seven. Her odds of 20/1 appear tremendous value when considering she rolled Mimicking only four starts ago and then went down by less than a length the next time they met. She certainly wasnât disgraced last week and will improve with the Angle Park run under her belt.
She appears a far better bet than Cousin Callum for example, who had every chance to beat Mimicking in the same race last week. His best around the track is 42.11, which would likely win this, however that was set over a year ago, and his last two efforts suggest those times are probably past him. Cousin Callum is trained by Petar Jovanovic and current sits at $6.50 on the estimated market. Drawn box three with Proven Impala directly outside, it seems safe to risk the son of Hallucinate on this occasion.
Azz Always rounds out the field for owner-trainer Damian Mills, however he was beaten comfortably last week and with only one win over the distance (7 from 70 overall) it may be best to wait until itâs engaged in something easier.
The West End Draught Distance Championship will be underway at 9.41pm local time and will round out the Quaddie, being race 8 on the program.
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine last night congratulated an outstanding line-up of greyhounds and connections that were recognised at the 2012 Victorian Greyhound Industry Awards held at Crown Palladium.
âGreyhound racing in Victoria is on the up and up. In 2012, prize money increased by 20 per cent to a record $36 million, betting turnover levels are unprecedented and some of the biggest crowds seen for more than thirty years are turning up at tracks,â Dr Napthine said.
âIn addition, last year saw new standards set by greyhounds, their trainers, owners and breeders as well as by race clubs, club officials and of course the many dedicated volunteers.â
Continue reading Racing Minister Congratulates Victorian Greyhound Racingâs Finest
An outstanding training performance from master mentor Graeme Bate has seen the Lara legend qualify four runners for next weekâs Macro Meats Laurels final at Sandown Park.
Already a three time winner of the time-honoured classic, Bate trained a winning treble with Langi Bale, Purcell Bale and Gunda Bale winning their respective semi finals.
However the nightâs opening semi final went to Jason Thompson, with his two year old bitch Miss Mozoltov winning in 29.56 seconds.
Continue reading Graeme Bate Qualifies Four For Laurels Classic Final
It may be the case of third time lucky for Londonderry trainer Majella Ferguson as she aims to claim her first Canberra Cup victory on Sunday with in form sprinter Electro Storm who came up with the coveted box one in this weekâs final. After starting from box six in his heat last week, the son of Bit Chilli and Hallucinating was gallant in defeat beaten by just over a length in 30.38 recorded by Mepunga Geordie who came up with box two again in this weeks $25,000 to the winner Group Three final.
After beginning his career with Jason Mackay, Electro Storm came to the highly successful Ferguson kennel with solid sprinting form but over the past few starts has really matured into a competitive sprinter, clocking 29.86 in a FFA win at Wentworth Park just three weeks ago and has only been unplaced once in his past nine starts. Majella was hesitant in taking the dog with her kennel already full but said she always had confidence the dog could improve.
âI was hesitant about whether to take him or not but his been one of the most improved dogs going around. It didnât surprise me what he run at Wenty the other week and now his made a group finalâ.
Continue reading Ferguson Looking To Storm Home In Canberra Cup
The Graeme Bate-trained Irma Bale looks the greyhound to beat in next Saturday nightâs State Distance Final at The Meadows after drawing perfectly in box one.
The daughter of Bartrim Bale and Amelia Bale showed her customary early speed in last nightâs heat, recording splits of 4.88, 15.94 and 29.69 before a three quarter-length victory over litter sister and main series rival Fyna Bale in a Best of Night 42.82, which was also a new PB for the two-time Group winner.
Irma Bale will start a hot favourite to represent Victoria in the Group 1 Wrest Point National Distance Championship, to be held at Hobart on August 25 over 709 metres.
Continue reading Irma Bale & Lektra Jay Dominate Victorian National Distance Championship Final
A total of 17 nominations have been received for the State Distance Championship heats to be conducted at The Meadows over 725 metres on August 4, with the Victorian State final decided on August 11.
The winner of the State Distance final from Victoria will then take on the countryâs best stayers in the Group 1 AGRA National Distance Championship at Hobart on August 25, worth $75,000 to the winner. Victoria will be hoping to return to the winnersâ circle this year.
After three consecutive wins for the Vics in the National Distance Championship between 2007 and 2009 (Flashing Floods, Mantra Lad, Jarvis Bale) the state has played second fiddle behind more recent winners Blue Lorian (NSW) and Dashing Corsair (QLD).
Continue reading Seventeen Nominations Received For Victorian Heats Of National Distance Championships
Over 25,000 races across 2000 meetings have taken place in 2011. It was a year where locals across the land struggled to win big races at home. Victoria lost the Australian Cup to Tassie, but took revenge by again claiming the Adelaide Cup and stealing the Hobart Thousand in a thriller. Sydney trainers couldnât find a way to claim the Golden Easter Egg riches, while the Perth Cup went all the way to the sunshine state.
So who can lay claim to being each stateâs best performed greyhound? Doing comparisons is always such a subjective thing, so it seemed worthwhile making a shortlist of those in contention, while still picking a stand-out. For those that find a glaring omission or two; remember that in the end, opinions are just that â opinions.
New South Wales
New South Wales had another strong year, with multiple greyhounds tasting big race success in 2011. The usual suspects of Lutiger, Azzopardi, Mackay etc. all had strong kennels which made the racing as keenly contested as ever.
Continue reading 2012 Greyhounds Of The Year In Review : NSW & Victoria
The 2012 greyhound season is set to start off with a bang as The Meadows host a star-studded Group 1 AJS Corporation Silver Chief final over 525 metres on New Yearâs Day.
All the big guns progressed safely through to Sunday nightâs $75,000-to-the-winner final, despite the shock defeat of Heston Bale, who finished second behind the underrated Godsend to qualify for the first Group final of his much-publicised career.
Two greyhounds who continued on from their amazing heat efforts were Cape Hawke and Queensland star Glen Gallon, both stopping the clock at 29.77 (Best of Night) in their respective semi-finals. Cape Hawke â a Ballarat and Adelaide Cup finalist â will start from box seven in the January 1 final, while Glen Gallonâs chances were dealt a blow after drawing away from his preferred rails draw in box eight.
Continue reading Silver Chief Final For The Ages – Young Guns To Clash On New Years Day
Heston & Bekim Bale’s Litter Sister Stakes Her Claim For Group Race Glory In Sandown Laurels Classic
Irma Bale will start a warm favourite for the Group 2 Macro Meats Laurels Classic next Thursday night after her dazzling 29.44 win in tonightâs semi finals.
A member of the outstanding Batrim Bale-Amelia Bale litter which also features Macro Meats Shootout winner and Sandown track record holder Bekim Bale, as well as new Meadows track record holder Heston Bale, Irma Bale jumped well from box two to lead through the first turn, extending her margin at every turn to defeat By Starlight by 6.75 lengths.
The win was the tenth of her 20 race career, and her winning time was two lengths faster than the best time of the other finalists. Trainer Graeme Bate looks well placed to claim a fourth Macro Meats title since 2001 after Irma Bale drew box 2 again for the final.
Continue reading Heston & Bekim Bale’s Litter Sister Stakes Her Claim For Group Race Glory In Sandown Laurels Classic
Fastest heat winners McDoom and Lektra Jay have drawn side by side in boxes two and three in Monday-weekâs Group 2 City of Hume Cup final over 600 metres at The Meadows.
Both greyhounds won their respective heats in a flying 34.36 and clearly look the greyhounds to beat in the $40,000-tothe-winner final.
McDoom, who made the semi finals of the recent Group 1 Paws Of Thunder series, sped to the early lead in his heat, giving nothing else a chance (splits of 9.08 and 22.02), and looks suited in box two.
Continue reading Stars Draw Well For Group 2 City Of Hume Cup Final
Greyhound Racing Victoria Chair Nick Caley has resigned from his post amid a buzz of industry rumour.
Caley, who was appointed by former Labor Government Racing Minister Rob Hulls, will hold the “honour” of being GRV’s shortest serving Chairman.
It is understood that Caley tendered his resignation today and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine received and accepted the resignation effective immediately.
Continue reading Greyhound Racing Victoria Chairman Nick Caley Gone Immediately
AGRAâs Run of the Month for May 2011 has been awarded to the versatile sprinter-stayer Symmetry.
He won the award for his extraordinary performance when he came from last to win a heat of the Dawson on May 19th.
The powerful Robert Britton trained sprinter, come stayer and middle distance performer put up an amazing performance to qualify for the Group 3 final. Beginning average as he sometimes can, Symmetry was back last at the post the first time.
Continue reading Symmetry Lines Up May 2011 Run Of The Month
Itâs that time of year when the best of the best flock to Wentworth Park in hope of claiming the Group One Golden Easter Egg along with a record breaking $250,000 first prize.
Despite a few big names missing due to injury and retirement that hasnât stopped a mouth watering night of racing this Saturday with ten outstanding heats to be conducted with first and second placegetters guaranteed a starting spot in next weekâs semi finals along with the fastest four dogs that finish in third position.
As always, the all important factor in greyhound racing is the box draw. This concept is once again illustrated in heat one with Manuel Bale (quoted at $3.60 at Centrebet) trained by Victorian award winner Andrea Dailly, the current favourite after drawing the coveted box one. Last Saturday after beginning moderately, he quickly mustered speed to finish a gallant second to More Space in a classy free for all in 30.12.
Continue reading Eggciting Times Ahead As Easter Egg Heats Begin – 2011 Golden Easter Egg Preview