National Sprint & Distance Championships “Crystal Ball” Predictions Revisited

Regular readers of this website will recall a piece I compiled about eight weeks ago – A look into the Nationals Crystal Ball posted 28/6 – putting my neck on the line and assessing what I thought were the main Nationals hopes around the country.

Never being one to back away from responsibility, the fields for both the sprint and distance grand finals are now assembled, so the time has come to look back as see how those selected greyhounds faired, and whether I made myself look like a hero or a fool.

VICTORIAN SPRINT
Victoria is always a hard place to predict with so much depth, but I’m counting my top pick Peter Rocket as desperately unlucky. He copped a big bump from box eight in the state heats before being run down in the shadows of the post by Dyna Oats. Then franked the form, with a good win last night against a top class field breaking 30 seconds in the process.

Phenomenal put in a couple of shockers before getting injured and taking no part in the National sprint series.

VICTORIAN DISTANCE
General Destini did indeed take his place via the wildcard, and Irma Bale didn’t fire as predicted either. The only hurdle was Proven Impala failed to lead in her heat and was unable to qualify any further. There was a mention given to eventual winner Mimicking in the original prediction however, who has found a second wind after being exiled to S.A before getting its act together again.

Newfire Riley hasn’t come on as I would have hoped and is battling in the 600m classes. Will win again soon at big odds.

NEW SOUTH WALES SPRINT
Didn’t even get a run for my money here, with Black Magic Opal, Punch One Out and Princess Black all suffering injuries before the heats. Transcend Time stayed in Victoria and gave the nationals a miss. Not sure they would have rolled Zulu Zeus the way he went about it anyway.

Double Twist at least took its place in the heats, but drew the yellow and was never out of trouble behind Zipping Willow. Of course, it came out last Thursday and trampled a field at Dapto by 14 lengths. Sigh.

NEW SOUTH WALES DISTANCE
Set To Shine was picked from the NSW stayers’ and was beaten in both state heat and final by Smart Valentino. Smokey chance Calm Model actually went the other way to the Sprint heats and ran third behind Zipping Willow at huge odds.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA SPRINT
Tragedy struck in the City of Churches as Sometimes Speedy crashed to the turf and with serious injuries suffered, drew the curtain on a very successful career. Hope’s Up showed she is indeed in the top echelon of sprinters with a commanding lead-all-the-way state final victory.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA DISTANCE
We’re on the board! Kalden Mayhem proved the concerns over the South Aussie staying depth by overcoming a terrible heat run to win the final as first reserve. Must be sentimental favourite for the Grand Final after continuing to defy his age. Sheza Ten has been a shade disappointing although still shows promise as a stayer. Tercel didn’t contest the heats, but is now up to 8 wins from 9 tries over the 600 at Angle Park.

QUEENSLAND SPRINT
So close – Second and Third. Glen Gallon wanted Xylia Allen to win in order to take his place after just missing out via the Queensland final. Top Story was game in defeat too, but Innisplain Jet put in the run of its life to knock them both off.

Give a dog a wrap and this is what happens; The form Frosty Jay Jay has fallen apart after my prediction of bigger and better things and has been very patchy the last six weeks.

QUEENSLAND DISTANCE
Mrs Thursday hasn’t graced the track since running second to Bell Haven in the superstayers, so no judgement given there. I did state that Ba Bling would either give a great account of itself or be missing in action, and while he qualified through to state final, was comfortably held in fifth place. I certainly didn’t see Wag Tail coming either.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA SPRINT
Both On Coin and Boss Coin were there in the state sprint final, but neither of them could find clear galloping room and made punters cry by finishing third and fifth respectively.

Igor Monelli hasn’t been able to find the same success over the 530m trip as I expected, but is still lightly raced and could improve further. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and having followed Rumbling Rick from his Tasmanian beginnings it did please me to see him cause the boilover.

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN DISTANCE
This was always hard to predict with so many entrants new to the 700 metres, and it doesn’t help when the only tip I give out doesn’t line up in the heats. Magpie Bob was probably the most accomplished from the fourteen entrants that did start, and got sent out $2.20 favourite in the final as a result.

From the two smokeys, Mr Rooster made the state final but never fired a shot, finishing seventh, while Talk and Sit had time off the track and resumed with a nice win over the Cannington sprint trip. Potential topliner for sure.

TASMANIA SPRINT
God Bless the Apple Isle. Read this one like a book with She’s All Class defeating Buckle Up Wes in a perfectly anticipated result. Many people seem to be underrating the chances of She’s All Class (particularly after a 30.50 Meadows trial) but the daughter of It’s A She is a true flying machine and has posted times that most mainland dogs have been unable to match (Devonport 25.30, 25.69. Launceston 29.72, 29.77 Hobart 25.77 25.82).

Buckle Up Wes is also a class above the rest down that way with the exception of another super dog coming through the ranks; Hellyeah Bolt.

TASMANIA DISTANCE
Wow. Just wow. Surely I wasn’t the only one that went down on the Bell Haven ship. First of all, having only five nominations (one scratched) for a Group 1 series was a dismal showing, but secondly seeing Bell Haven have every possible chance only to get convincingly defeated was simply a shock.

Lashing Jill had shown form over the staying trips in the weeks leading up to the Nationals, but based on times she still had a heap of ground to make up on Ted Medhursts’ kennel star. But to her credit, Lashing Jill put the foot down when it mattered and is going to give trainer Allan Anderson the race of his career.