Just like Mantra Lad did on Thursday night at Sandown in the Victorian National Distance Championship Heats, Velocette must have had a sense of occassion tonight and stepped from the boxes when it mattered to book his ticket to Perth for the National Sprint Championship final.
With Fedex a surprise late scratching from his box one appointment in the fifth heat of the Victorian National Sprint Championship, that left the Ron McCullagh and Graeme Bate trained Velocette in the enviable position of being the highest ranked greyhound left in the National Sprint Championship nominations. Velocette just needed to convert that rank to a Victorian National Sprint Championship finals berth, to gather the AGRA priority rank seeding straight to the Group 1 National Sprint Championship final at Cannington in Perth.
As it stands, Like Mantra Lad in the National Distance Championship, Velocette can either win his way through to Perth for the big final; or if he is beaten in the Victorian National Sprint Championship final, he will still go to the $50,000 to the winner National Sprint Championship final as the highest ranked AGRA ranked greyhound securing the eighth finalist position.
On Thursday night Graeme Bate proved his dominance of Victorian greyhound racing by winning each and every heat of the Victorian National Distance Championship Heats, but despite Amity Bale running a sensational sub 42 second 41.99 winning her heat, Mantra Lad effectively took the honours by booking his Group 1 National Distance Championship ticket as the top ranked greyhound who can either win through or lose and still start in the nationals final.
Well if you thought Thursday wasn’t a warrning sign of what was to come, you’d have been sadly mistaken. Graeme Bate was staring down the Victorian National Sprint Championship heats with more than a quarter of all hopefuls and wasn’t just making up the numbers with some very good chances including Turanza Bale and Velocette.
Bate had been excited by the anticipation of tonights heats saying ““It’s the strongest team I’ve had for a national sprint series for as long as I can remember. In fact, it’s my best chance of national sprint glory since Henerik Bale in 2001 at The Meadows”.
Tantalised by the potential of starting both or either Velocette or Turanza Bale in the Group 1 $50,000 to the winner National Sprint Championship, Bate said “Velocette and Turanza Bale have both raced at Cannington, which is a track where you need to have had experience”. Both greyhounds finished second in heats of this year’s Group 1 Perth Cup prior to running the quinella (Velocette-Turanza Bale) when Velocette smashed the Cannington track record in the Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation Final earlier this year, before going on to win the Group 2 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park in July.
Velocette had shown a re-invigoration for racing during the the Brisbane Carnival and from four starts in group company in Brisbane was only beaten in the Group 1 Winter Carnival Cup final by Trew Millions. However at his last start back In Victoria at Cranbourne he showed none of the exemplary form from the north and was comprehensively beaten by Dyna Lachlan, never looking likely.
Fronting the boxes tonight in the third heat of the Victorian National Sprint Championship, Velocette put that past run behind him and again showed the speed from the boxes he’d been demonstrating in Queensland. Beginning beautifully from box six tonight Velocette went to the first mark in 5.00 dead which was a personal best and the second quickest first sectional of the five Victorian National Sprint Championship heats.
From that point is was always going to be a question of how far, as Velocette motored to the second mark in the second fastest of the heats in 17.74 and found the line strongly running 29.74, easily the best of the night and the quickest of the heats by almost three lengths.
Given his very good form at Cannington earlier in the year Velocette easily represents Bate’s best chance for National’s glory since he won with Henerik Bale in 2001. But it may well not be his only finalist.
As he did Thursday night in the Distance heats, Bate dominated the sprint heats tonight qualifying not just Velocette, but also Keeko Bale and Turanza Bale. Keeko Bale managed a very handy 4.25 length second behind all the way winner Dyna Lachlan in 29.93 for Andrea Dailly, while Turanza Bale overcame a little interference but was always going to win when he bloused past early leader Naomi Cambaz to win by 8 lengths in 30.06.
Other heat winners were Gardam Prince for Darren McDonald, who off a dream box draw ran the fastest first two sections of 4.98, 17.62 and got to the line in 29.99. And in the first race the Peter Giles trained Jamaican Bolt used box one for all it was worth leading all the way in 5.04, 17.79, 30.07. beating Cindeen Shelby by 7.25 lengths.
The box draw for the Victorian National Sprint Championship Final was conducted trackside and has given Bate even more confidence with Turanza Bale drawing the coveted rails alley and Velocette out in box 8.
Should Velocette win the Victorian National Sprint Championship Final then High Earner becomes eligible for the AGRA ranking priority call up to the final but should High Earner also win his state final then Turanza Bale will definitely earn the priority eighth finalist spot.
However given the box draw for the Victorian final, Bate’s best chance for two runners in the National Sprint Championship would be for Velocette to lose in the Victorian final and claim the top rank seeding, while off box one Turanza Bale could qualify as the Victorian representative for the National Sprint Championship by winning from box one.
Victorian National Sprint Championship Final
- Box 1: Turanza Bale
- Box 2: Dyna Lachlan
- Box 3: Gardam Prince
- Box 4: Unique Daisy
- Box 5: Keeko Bale
- Box 6: Din’s Son
- Box 7: Jamaican Bolt
- Box 8: Velocette
- 1st Res: Cindeen Shelby
- 2nd Res: Dyna Jayden