The nation’s elite will be putting their best paws forward this week, as each state holds their Sprint and Distance Championship heats. Each series will see state victors qualify for the National Championships to be held at The Meadows on August 24 where the winner will walk away with a lucrative $75,000.
New South Wales, alike many other states, is rather light in numbers with only two heats of the distance and four of the sprint, two of which are not full fields.
NSW NATIONAL SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT ONE
The beautifully bred Royal Sprite looks primed to bounce back from his last start defeat at headquarters from box two. The son of Magic Sprite has only faced the starter on eleven occasion, remarkably seven of those starts have been from box four, but has already put together six wins and clocked a flying 29.68 sec at Wentworth Park. Like his littermates, Triggsy and Clockwise, Royal Sprite does not have much speed out of the boxes but is blessed with his breed’s trademark motor that should see him featuring in the finish.
Drawn in the prized rails alley is the Frank Hurst trained Notso Sweet. The daughter of Where’s Pedro is from an exceptional litter out of Fancy Jaffa and is starting to live up to her talented brothers (Zulu Zeus and Zulu Zircon) reputations claiming seven of her fourteen career starts with a flying personal best of 29.78 sec over the track and distance. Notso Sweet has never started from box one and does not have blistering early speed however given room to move early she will be able to showcase her excellent acceleration.
Evergreen sprinter Dinkum will be lining up for start number 49 tonight and aiming for his 24th victory from box three. After putting together two wins at Dapto at his most recent starts he heads back to Wentworth Park tonight where he has saluted on eight occasions. If he begins he has enough early speed to lead and may give the youngsters a run for their money.
Watto Lotto loves to salute, especially at big odds, so he must be kept safe despite being drawn out wide in box eight.
NSW NATIONAL SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT TWO
The exciting Zulu Zeus will make an appearance in heat two from box three. The 34 kilogram chaser returned to the winner’s list last start when blitzing his rivals at Wentworth Park, scoring by five and a half lengths in a hot 29.73 sec. With an average beginner on his inside he should get a nice run into the event.
Ron Bell is well represented with his emerging talent Avondale Maurick jumping from box four. The red fawn dog by Knocka Norris out of Sirocco Pearl is exceptionally bred and has four wins from his short seven start career including a 30.11 sec at the track. The pup is normally a smart beginner and punters should forgive his last start flop where he missed the kick and was never in contention.
Sharron Webster’s Jay Bee Rock loves the inside so is suited perfectly in box one. The seven race winner began well and put in a strong performance last week when clocking 30.26 sec from the same box so is quite capable of running a similar race tonight.
Jason Mackay always has to be respected when he brings a greyhound to the big smoke. In heat two he will line up with Tricky Terry from box six who failed at his last attempt at the Ultimo circuit but prior to that had put together two slick wins running 30.18 sec and 30.02 sec respectively.
Electro Storm has the talent to be competitive but hasn’t been racing to his full potential in recent starts.
NSW NATIONAL SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT THREE
Fast Archer is an ultra-consistent sprinter trained by young Clay Mullens and despite being drawn in box five he is certainly the one to beat. As a winner of six races at Wentworth Park the son of Collision knows his way around the course and as a quick beginner he should be challenging for the lead in the early stages potentially running around the 29.50-29.60 sec mark.
Amadeus Strikes is a top class bitch trained by master trainer Steven White. The Bombastic Shiraz three year old has won three of her last four starts, all of which were at headquarters, with her other run a close second at Sandown in a heat of the McKenna Memorial. Box six is a concern because she is either very fast or only ordinary at the start. If she is on her best behaviour tonight she will be a genuine threat as she also has a big motor and terrific finishing burst.
Black Rip probably has the best zip of all eight runners and boasts five from twelve in town however he does get the wobbles in the home straight and against top company he really can’t afford to tire.
Triggsy is one of the runners that will be flying home late. He has absolutely no speed but is one of the strongest greyhounds in NSW. He has not started since falling at the track six weeks ago which may give him a bit of toe being nice and fresh and ready to race.
Ron Bell’s Kobi Jay has a stack of talent and could easily take out the race from box one however he is hard to pick and often mixes his form.
NSW NATIONAL SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT FOUR
The fourth heat of the sprint is the hardest to find a winner. Most of the money will be on Jason Mackay’s newest sensation Zipping Willow who is drawn great in the cherry. The daughter of Goodesy has won nine from eleven with five of those triumphs over the track and distance. The 26 kilogram lightweight is an exceptional beginner and if she lands on the bunny could go close to the record.
Where’s Wob is a litter brother to Winsome Charlee with trainer Sharron Webster having huge wraps on the son of Where’s Pedro for quite some time now. The blue dog showed why two starts back recording a scintillating 29.59 sec over the trip and a repeat performance would put him right in contention.
Double Twist is a fantastic young bitch with plenty of class but will need to find her best from box five. Out of the well-bred Tifi, Double Twist has run some electrifying times for Garry Edwards including 29.65 sec at the track in April however she will need to recapture that form with a few of her recent runs well below her best albeit in tough company.
Transcend Time has returned to NSW after a successful stint in Victoria but has been afforded no favours from box six. Nonetheless he is as reliable as you will find and is normally a pretty good beginner. With a few average beginners on his inside he may be able to position himself well and run a good race.
Cadence should never be forgotten as a winner of ten at Wentworth Park with a slick best of 29.76 sec.
NSW NATIONAL DISTANCE CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT ONE
Set To Shine will be the likely favourite in the opening heat of the distance. The daughter of Mandagery Man loves the 700 at Wentworth Park as a winner of three from six with a quick best of 42.34 sec. She has just enough speed to sit just behind the leaders and finish off over the top.
Smart Valentino is one of the most frustrating stayers going around. He has so much talent but seems attracted to trouble. The 30 kilogram chaser is a poor beginner but has great acceleration and will just need some room to move to slot into a handy position. From box one he should be able to get a nice run along the rails and if so will loom as a big threat.
Starliner will be another runner vying for favourite. Trained by Gary Pettersen, the son of Pure Octane holds the daunting record of 22 wins and 16 minors from 45 starts. He ran a handy race last start at his debut over the track and distance finishing three quarters of a length second to Gradence. Although in box four there isn’t much speed drawn underneath him, making him poised to go one better tonight.
NSW NATIONAL DISTANCE CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT TWO
The last heat of the night will see Gradence aim for a hat-trick over the Sydney half mile. His last two starts have been super in particular his first win clocking a slick 42.11 sec. Box eight should not be a concern as he will be at the back of the field in the run to the turn and will just need a little bit of luck in his run to qualify for next week’s final.
Proven Stellar ran the legs off Starliner in a best 8 distance feature at the annual Grafton carnival two starts back before finishing second to Gradence two weeks ago. She is a beautiful front running stayer who will give plenty of cheek and may prove hard to catch if she gets away from them.
Midnight News has ability but is yet to crack through over the 700. She is highly capable of winning but is another runner who seems to get tangled up at every start.
Anthony Azzopardi’s Where’s Keroma is another tough runner drawn poorly in the six. He can be explosive on his night and dismal at other times. The result will depend on which Where’s Keroma turns up to the track.
The first heat of the Nationals series is race three and will jump at 8:10pm.