The Gardens will stage six outstanding heats of the Group Two Blacktop, with a juicy $40,000 awaiting next week’s final winner.
This race has an outstanding honour roll, with stars such as Snozz, Bye Bye Bucks and Cindeen Shelby amongst the former winners.
Pre-series favourite is Jason Mackay’s Zipping Willow, who will be looking for her ninth straight win on Friday and is out for redemption after finishing runner-up in this series last year.
Heat one will feature Kicking Rocks (4), who loves this track and posted a near-record 29.30 in his maiden victory back in April. The Ryan Tredway trained chaser is unbeaten at The Gardens and clocked a sizzling time of 29.46 earlier this month. Zipping Summah (5) had no luck in a heat of the NSW National Sprint Championship at Wentworth Park, but has posted flying times at this track including a personal best of 29.49. Trained by astute mentor Jason Mackay, the daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass will only need some luck early on to feature heavily in this affair. Kool Mac (3) has won his past two starts, recording impressive times at the Gardens (29.73) and Wentworth Park (30.35) and has the ability to run a cheeky race.
Queensland chaser Rose Of Galo (7) trialled impressively at The Gardens on Saturday, clocking a flying time of 29.66 and should improve on that this week in heat two. The daughter of El Galo and Noir Rose will be looking for her 20th career win for trainer Albert Kennewell, who will be looking to return home to the Sunshine State with a Group Two title. Fire Elusive (3) has regained form for trainer Mark Moroney after a short stint in the Jason Mackay kennel. The son of El Grand Senor and Cathella Ice recorded impressive wins at Maitland (22.66) and Wentworth Park (30.04) at his past two outings and has the genuine early pace to be competitive. Hersi (1) has solid form at this track, with a speedy personal best of 29.68 recorded back in March and should use the box one advantage.
Zipping Willow (7) steps out in heat three and has the early pace to cross from out wide and post another sizzling time. The daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass clocked a near record 29.33 in May last year and can emulate this with her current run of form. Rue De Kahn (2) returns to The Gardens for the first time since her Group One triumph back in February and is primed for a big performance from box two. Trainer Dean Swain will head into this race with plenty of confidence after a second placing in a FFA at Wentworth Park last Saturday. Dee Getta (4) has been a consistent performer of late and will be running home at the end. The Shane Hill trained greyhound has a flying 29.56 personal best at the track and must be respected.
Zipping Tarn (1) returns to the racetrack for the first time since June in heat four and clocked a blistering 29.37 back in May. The Jason Mackay trained daughter of Mantra Lad and Scarlett Girl has drawn perfectly in box one and is a huge threat in this affair. Golden Easter Egg finalist Magic Display (3) will make her debut at The Gardens for trainer Evelyn Harris. The daughter of Magic Sprite and Display Bonus has sizzling early pace and can lead from start to finish if she times the jump to perfection. Hector Kahn (2) gives Dean Swain another good chance of qualifying for the final, with the consistent chaser runner up at his past three outings. The son of Premier Fantasy and Another Request was successful in her only start at The Gardens, recording a speedy time of 29.53.
Queen Esther (2) is in red-hot form at present, with a flying 29.77 win at Wentworth Park two weeks ago. The daughter of Lochinvar Marlow and Fascinate Marina has recorded a brilliant early sectional of 4.93 and a sizzling overall time of 29.48 at this track, giving trainer Noelene Holloway a huge chance of securing a finals spot via the fifth heat. Push It (8) also has genuine early pace also clocked 29.77 at Wentworth Park at the start of the month for trainer Dean Swain, she is well draw out wide to get a clear run. Miner’s Moss (1) has come up with the red rug in this event and is making his debut at the Gardens for trainer Mathew Reid. The son of Magic Sprite and Bellbird Park recorded an impressive time at Albion Park last month, clocking 29.89 over the 520m journey.
In the final heat, exciting sprinter Lani Banarni (2) returns to the track for trainer Charlie Gatt, after recording three straight wins at her past few attempts, including a flying 29.72 at Wentworth Park. The daughter of Disintegrate and Hey Princess clocked a blistering time of 29.40 at this track back in January and is perfectly drawn near the rails. Evil Punk (4) also returns to The Gardens after some consistent form of late, including a 28.85 performance at Bulli over the 515m. The son of Collision and Punk Angel has a good record at this track and is one of the main dangers to take out this heat and the final. Edge (6) loves this track and has posted a personal best time of 29.51, however will need some luck from box six. Trained locally by Graeme Barnett, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Belle Tara has an outstanding Gardens record of six wins and two minor placings from just eleven starts.
Heat one will jump at 8.17pm, with the six winners and two fastest runner-ups, moving through to next week’s Group Two final.