10 heats stacked with talented youngsters were conducted over the 400m distance at Maitland this past Thursday, with one greyhound setting an extremely high standard heading into this week’s $7,000 to the winner final.
Izzy Marlow, trained by Mavis Moran, stepped out in heat one and blitzed her rivals by 9.25 lengths in a flying time of 22.64. Now labelled the series favourite, with no other greyhound coming close to her time standard, as the rest of the heats were conducted throughout the afternoon. After beginning well from box one, the 27kg bitch found trouble early before gapping her rivals around the turn, accelerating away at the finish. Evident of another star on the rise for boom sire Lochinvar Marlow, bred out of owner Kevin Gordon’s bitch Lochinvar Lass, is certain to be a force to reckoned with this coming Thursday.
Second fastest qualifier, Wong Valley for Emu Plain’s trainer Robert Macmurray, began well from box two in heat two and took advantage of a rails run on the home turn to sprint away and score by 3.5 lengths in a slick 22.81. Ronald Marsden’s Hardaway Grand was equally impressive in heat five, scoring at healthy odds ($10.30), in a fast 22.83, with plenty of room for improvement.
With plenty of upsets during the heats, the biggest came in heat six when Lenny Enlim stepped out as a $23.80 outsider, holding out pre-race favourite Hardaway Law at the finish by a head in a solid 22.88 performance. Certain to have put a huge smile on trainer Len Haaring’s face, making the 3-hour trek from Cooks Gap, worth every second.
The all-important box draw for the final on Thursday afternoon will be conducted tomorrow.