THE biggest night on the NSW greyhound racing calendar is set for this Saturday, with the running of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg (520m) at Wentworth Park.
Worth $250,000 to the winner, 2016 will see the 26th running of the Egg, first run in 1990 when taken out by Ultra Sense. The race has been won by some of the finest chasers greyhound racing has seen, with the honour roll boasting names such as Highly Blessed (1991), Rapid Journey (1998), Brett Lee (2001), Bogie Leigh (2004), Paua To Burn (2005) and Fernando Bale (2015).
On top of the main event, there is a terrific support card of racing including the Group 1 Association Cup (720m), the Group 3 New Sensation (520m), the Group 3 Magic Maiden (520m), the Group 3 Ambrosoli (520m) and the Listed Ultra Sense (520m).
With such a cracking night of chasing ahead, we are going to preview the main features on the card, with the best bookmaker odds and top selections.
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Race Two – The Ambrosoli – 7:48pm AEDT
Named after greyhound racing’s most iconic race caller, Paul Ambrosoli, the group 3 event features greyhounds which finished third and fourth in the semi-finals of the Easter Egg the week prior.
This year’s Ambrosoli oozes class, with Nangar Flash ($7.50 with Bet365) looking a nice bet. The Dennis Barnes-trained dog takes a while to wind up, however there isn’t a huge amount of speed drawn directly around him. If he can find a handy spot in the early stages he should prove too strong, with a blistering 29.66 over the track and trip two starts back to his name.
Marley Bale ($4.80 with Bet365) catches the eye from box eight. The son of Turanza Bale and Dyna Gala can be hit or miss out of the boxes, but has a big motor and should get plenty of time to wind up from the pink.
Black Bear Lee ($5.50 with Bet365) is a very talented greyhound but is drawn a bit awkwardly. If he can step on terms he is definitely good enough to score, but he will need to avoid traffic in the early stages.
Suggested bet: Nangar Flash to win @ $7.50 with Bet365
Race Three – The New Sensation – 8:08pm AEDT
The New Sensation is open for greyhounds which were whelped after December 11, 2013, and with no more than 10 wins from no more than 20 starts.
This year’s event is packed with quality youngsters, however it could be run a number of ways with very little pace engaged in the race.
The speed is likely to be coming from Tilly’s Boy ($4.20 with William Hill) and Megalodon ($5 with Sportsbet) which have drawn boxes seven and eight respectively.
With no pace around him, Zipping Bruiser ($8 with William Hill) should get a reasonably clear run and he has a massive engine. If he is within striking range heading down the back he should go close to the win.
Zipping Lilly ($3.60 with Sportsbet) is blessed with plenty of ability but is a slow beginner. Despite this she is well drawn along the inside and should be able to work home into a nice position.
El Magnifico ($3.20 with William Hill) is another with a bright future and he is more than capable of landing a win in this event, however he is awkwardly drawn in box five.
Suggested bet: Zipping Bruiser to place @ $2.20 with William Hill)
Race Four – Magic Maiden – 8:28pm AEDT
The Magic Maiden is run for the babies of the sport, with a swag of talent emerging for this year’s $25,000 to the winner series.
It is hard to go past Benteke ($1.90 with Sportsbet) after two extremely impressive performances throughout the series thus far. The son of Collision and Pearl Napoleon clocked 29.83 in his heat and followed up that run with a strong 29.73 semi-final success. Hard to know how he will handle the outside draw, but there isn’t a huge amount of speed in this race and if he gets room to move in the early stages he should be driving towards the front in the run to the first turn and he will be hard to reel in if he finds the lead.
Lowanna’s Son ($5 with Sportsbet) has won both of his starts from box eight and finds himself in the pink again for the final. Probably better suited towards the fence, but he has done everything right from the wide draw thus far, giving no reason to suggest he can’t run another handy race on Saturday.
Fabulous Five ($13 with William Hill) has the gun draw and is more than capable of running a nice race after posting a slick 30.07 semi-final victory.
Wicked Warrior ($5 with Bet365) has a big engine but is slow into stride and will need a bit of luck in the early stages.
Suggested bet: Benteke to win @ $1.90 with Sportsbet
Race Five – Association Cup – 8:50pm AEDT
The stayers get their chance to shine in the $75,000 to the winner Association Cup, with some of the country’s most handy stayers making the trek up from Victoria to contest the feature in the Harbour City.
Come On Fantasy ($2.10 with Bet365) was ultra-impressive in her heat when leading all the way in a sizzling 41.92 for Joe Borg. She is ideally drawn in box two and a repeat performance would see her winning this event.
Lioness Lulu ($7 with William Hill) ran a terrific race at her debut over the track and trip. Box eight may make things a bit tricky but if she can run up to her 42.09 heat win then she will be right in the mix at the finish.
Dublin Bell ($3.80 with Sportsbet) was very strong when clocking a 42.26 win last week. Suited by the box draw and should be up near the front early on.
Suggested bet: Come On Fantasy to win @ $2.10 with Bet365
Race Six – The Ultra Sense – 9:13pm AEDT
Named after the first Golden Easter Egg winner, the Ultra Sense is a listed race open to the best 4th and 5th grade dogs which are nominated.
Goldengrove Lad ($4 with Bet365) scored a stunning 29.62 win here last week and a repeat performance would see him hard to beat. He is better drawn towards the inside of the track, but he has slow beginners drawn on either side of him and should get every chance to put himself into the race. You won’t find too many better trainers than Syd Swain, expect to see Goldengrove Lad firing on Saturday night.
Vidi Vici ($4.60 with Bet365) caused an upset when leading all the way in 29.74 in her heat. Drawn ok in box three and a similar performance would see her in contention for the win.
Berzerk ($3 with Sportsbet) ran a good race when finishing second here last week and he is drawn well in box one. Can be slow into stride but should be able to punch up along the fence and run a nice race.
Suggested bet: Goldengrove Lad to win @ $4 with Bet365
Race Seven – Golden Easter Egg – 9:35pm AEDT
The main event of the night is race seven, with four NSW chasers and four Victorians set to do battle in the $250,000 to the winner showpiece.
Knight Sprite ($8 with William Hill) will be aiming to secure his first win at group 1 level when he exits box five. The son of Magic Sprite and Jaydo’s Neglect is blessed with good early speed and looks the early leader, with the remainder of the field set to play catch me if you can. There are a few greyhounds in this race which are faster than him, but pace wins races and this bloke is about as reliable as they come at the jump.
Moreira ($3 with Sportsbet) is perfectly drawn in box one to give Jason Thompson his second Egg title. He normally walks out of the boxes but is as strong as a bull and should be able to position up well from the inside.
Dawkins Bale ($3.20 with Crownbet) is lining up for his second tilt at the Golden Easter Egg and will be aiming to go one better than his second finish in 2015. Box four actually isn’t too bad for him and if he can get clear room early he will be right in the race.
Mitcharlie Mia ($11 with Sportsbet) has won six of her last seven starts and should get plenty of room to move in the early stages out in box eight. She will need a bit of luck to get across from the wide draw but she is a very talented greyhound on her night.
Suggested Bet: Place bet on Knight Sprite @ $2.40 with Crownbet