As we approach the festive season, New South Wales’ premier track Wentworth Park will host their annual Group Three John Stollery Christmas Gift Series, with $25,000 to be presented to winning connections next week.
Last year’s final went to Greyhound of the Year winner Double Twist, who produced a sensational come from behind victory, which was also voted the 2013 Run of the Year.
Four competitive heats will be run and won on Saturday night, with the winner and runner up moving through to next week’s final.
Group One Vic Peters winner Lucy Lobster returns to Wentworth Park after a short stint in Melbourne and will exit from box seven for talented trainer Charlie Lamb. The daughter of Brett Lee and One Tree Hill exploded away from box five in the final a month ago, scoring by half a length in a time of 29.85. The tricky box draw won’t be of concern to connections, with her sizzling early split of 5.31, one of the fastest recorded in recent times.
Rue De Kahn returned to her winning ways at Gosford on Tuesday after a month spell, recording a sizzling time of 29.74 over 515 metres and is ideally drawn for trainer Dean Swain in box one. The daughter of Where’s Pedro and Shelbourne Dawn has notched up four wins from eighteen starts at Wentworth Park, including a flying personal best of 29.64.
Zipping Angel was brave in defeat last Saturday night at Richmond in a flying time of 30.55 over the 535 metre distance, beaten on the line by talented sprinter Addison Road. The Jason Mackay trained chaser has a brilliant chance to go one better this week with a favourable box three draw, and recorded a fast personal best time of 29.73 at this track back in August.
Zipping Willow continues to uphold her status as the queen of Wentworth Park, winning four of her past five outings at the track in sub-30 time. The daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass is another successful offspring of the famous Hallinan bloodlines, with her electrifying early speed surely to give trainer Jason Mackay plenty of confidence from box one.
Smokem Jimmy has an excellent Wentworth Park career record of two wins from three starts and clocked a sensational personal best time of 29.62 back in October. Exiting from box three, the son of Bekim Bale and Skates was gallant in defeat last Saturday at The Meadows in 30.27 and should be competitive in this affair.
Army Surplus has been very consistent of late, winning at Wentworth Park two weeks ago in a flying time of 29.61, before stepping up to the 600m at Gosford, leading all the way in 35.19. Box eight will prove testing for the Adam Wade trained chaser, however the son of El Grand Senor and Wacky Car Races has five wins from seventeen starts at the track and knows how to produce gutsy come from behind performances.
Group One Melbourne Cup runner up Chica Destacada returns to Wentworth Park after a successful stint in Victoria and has a sizzling personal best at the track of 29.49. Despite exiting from the middle alley, trainer Doreen Drynan will have plenty of faith in her chaser, whose box manners have been superb of late. The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Eluthra has seven wins from fifteen starts at the track and is the reigning National Sprint Champion.
Ritza Hattie produced a sensational return to form last week, finishing second behind superstar sprinter Zipping Willow in a fast time of 29.56. The Mark Gatt trained daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Midnight Flare took plenty of ground off the winner, beaten just three quarters of a length and will only need some luck from box seven to figure heavily at the finish.
Queen Esther returned to the winner’s circle at her last start, saluting by three quarters of a length against FFA class in a time of 30.12. The daughter of Lochinvar Marlow and Fascinate Marina has been well below her best in recent times, with her reversal in form certain to give trainer Noelene Holloway plenty of confidence heading into Saturday night’s heat.
Neville Brown’s King Cobber has a flying personal best of 29.60 at Wentworth Park and has recorded six wins from twenty-one starts at this track. The son of Swift Fancy and Dana Lou Lou comes into this heat off the back of a solid 29.92 win at Nowra and should get a nice run to the first turn with a lack of early speed in the race.
Despite Bessy Boo having failed to notch up a win since October, the Christine Proctor trained chaser always figures at the finish and will only need some room to move from the seven alley. The daughter of Bekim Bale and My Black Bess has nine wins from thirty three attempts at Wentworth Park, including a fast personal best time of 29.71.
Our Lady Di will exit from box eight for trainer Brian Tame and possess genuine early pace that should give her a lovely cart across from the wide alley. The daughter of Magic Sprite and Kinda Cocomama has two wins from fourteen starts at this track and should improve on her personal best time of 30.02 with a clear run.
The first heat will jump at 8.08pm EDST.