ALL eyes will be on Angle Park this Saturday night as the Nationals series’ culminates with two blockbuster events over the sprint and distance trips.
Over the past three weeks, greyhounds from all around the country have contested heats and finals in their home states, with the winners over both the ‘500’ and ‘700’ qualifying for the respective Group 1 National finals, both of which are worth $75,000.
The Group 1 National Distance Championship will be the first to jump, with Victoria aiming to claim the last three editions of the race with their representative, Ring The Bell, set to exit box two. He will take on a classy line-up, including Queenslander Big Easy Red and NSW stayers Cardiology and Whittaker.
The Group 1 National Sprint Championship is also set to be a cracking race, with big guns Zambora Brockie, Dundee Osprey and Outside Pass, who are all accustomed to racing at the highest level of racing, taking on some of the best young sprinters from around Australia in what is sure to be an action-packed affair.
Sign-up with Sportsbet and claim up to $501 in free bet bonuses to place on the Nationals!
Group 1 National Distance Championship – 7:49pm
Ring The Bell (2) looks poised to take out his first group 1 title when the lids fly for the Group 1 National Distance Championship.
Trained in Victoria by Gerry O’Keeffe, the brindle dog comes into the series having won his past three starts, including a dazzling 41.53 victory at Sandown Park.
On that occasion he jumped fairly from box seven, but was able to work his way to the front mid-race, proving too strong for Lady Toy when scoring by just under seven lengths on the line.
From box two this Saturday he is expected to settle just off the pace and prove too strong at the finish – with online bookmaker Sportsbet installing him as the $2.50 top elect.
A winner of 14 of his 44 starts, Ring The Bell is an experienced campaigner at the top level of racing, having won the Listed Super Stayers and the Destini Fireball Stayers, while he has also been a finalist in the Group 1 Sale Cup, the Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup and the Group 2 Great Chase.
Big Easy Red (1) is the likely leader of the race and he comes into the final in career best form, having strung together three in a row including a 41.73 success in the Queensland State final at Albion Park.
The inside draw is ideal for him and he should be in this for a long way, with his slick 34.84 stewards trial over the 600m trip at Angle Park sure to see him fit and firing for the decider.
New South Wales star Cardiology (6) will face her biggest test to date in this race, but the daughter of Where’s Pedro and Amnesia is going great guns at present and she does appear to be a star on the rise.
Box six will do her no favours against a handy line-up, but she has had a look at the track and she is more than capable of upsetting the favourite.
It is hard to know for sure how well Senator Monelli (3) will run out the testing 731m trip here at Angle Park, but he did trial in a respectable 35.03 over the 600m trip on August 20. One for the multiples.
- Tips: 2 – 1 – 6 – 3
Group 1 National Sprint Championship – 8:45pm
It is hard to go past Zambora Brockie (1) in the Sprint decider, with the black speedster chasing 10 in a row from the cherry.
The son of Nitro Burst and Flying Liddy is an absolute beast, having won his heat and final of the Victorian Championship at The Meadows in 29.47 and 29.66 respectively.
He is also unbeaten from the inside draw, having won all four starts wearing the red stretch vest.
A winner of the Group 1 Vic Peters, the Group 1 Winter Cup, the Group 2 Warrnambool Cup and the Group 2 Horsham Cup, Zambora Brockie trialled in an airborne 29.44 last week, with a repeat performance set to see him go almighty close to landing this race.
Benteke (3) is the most unexperienced greyhound in the final, with the NSW finalist having faced the starter on just 11 occasions from which he has amassed six wins and four minor placings.
The Ruth King-trained powerhouse clocked a scintillating 29.67 at Wentworth Park when winning the state sprint and followed that with a stunning 29.49 stewards trial at Angle Park.
He has a slow beginner in Dundee Osprey (2) on his inside so he should get every chance to run a nice race at the handy odds of $8 with Sportsbet.
Worm Burner (6) appears to be the best of the local chances despite the ordinary draw, with the son of Oaks Road and Little Looper having won his last 10 starts over the track and trip, the best of which being a 29.48 victory off box seven.
There isn’t a stack of speed on his outside in this race so if he can get some clear galloping room early he could wind up and threaten the favourite.
Outside Pass (4) is a star Queenslander and she is probably capable of going quicker than her 29.56 stewards trial over the track and trip.
She will have to avoid the speedy Fabregal (5) in the early stages, but she is a class animal and is more than capable of featuring on the dais.
- Tips: 1 – 3 – 6 – 4