MEGSIE Marble stamped herself as the greyhound to beat in this year’s Group 3 Summer Puppy Classic (520m) after a near record heat performance at Nowra on Monday afternoon.
Stepping evenly from box two, the daughter of High Earner and Secret Marble was able to hold her position on the fence in the run to the first turn, driving to the front in the run through the catching pen and sprinting clear down the back.
The black bitch made it a one act affair out in front, swinging for home to record a four and one quarter length victory in a blistering 29.54 – just four one hundredths off Aphorism’s track record.
It was the second win in as many starts for the Merv Buckley-trained speedster, which will likely be crunched in as the favourite with bookmakers to take out the final of the feature on April 16.
Far from disgraced was Martam Gold (box five) which ran a great race to finish second, clocking 29.88 in defeat, with Fugue (box eight) rounding out the placings back in third, 11 lengths off the winner.
Bulkender, a regally bred chaser by Where’s Pedro out of Tifia, a half sister to former NSW Greyhound of the Year Double Twist, was also ultra-impressive on Monday, recording a slick sub 30 heat win off box three.
The 37 kilogram powerhouse was slow to begin from the white, but used his bulking frame to push his way through the pack and find the front around the first turn.
There was no looking back once the fawn heavyweight found the bunny, charging clear to secure his second straight win five and one quarter lengths clear in 29.87.
Merv Buckley and Michael Clayton both qualified a second runner through to next Monday’s semi-finals, with Ginger Marble (box four) finishing second to Bulkender for Buckley, and Miss Millennium filling the trifecta for Clayton as the first reserve off box one.
Fantastic Polar, which was the favourite to take out the final in the all-in markets prior to Monday’s heats, will progress through to the next round of the series following on from his 30.39 victory.
The white dog, by Swift Fancy out of super producer Light Fantastic, was only fair to begin from box seven and found plenty of trouble early, forcing him to the back half of the field around the turn and into the back straight.
From there the Jason Fletcher-trained greyhound hugged the fence, railing underneath the leaders to assume the lead in the run to the line, defeating Blinky’s Idol and Worrigee Road en route to recording his sixth career win at start 16.
The final heat was another popular result, although punters had a few nervous moments throughout the race, with Sassy Pose producing a strong finish to get the win. The black bitch began well off box one but faced tightly with Chipsy Lipsy (box three) in the run to the line on the first occasion, allowing Tin Pan Alley (box seven) and Destiny’s Soul (box six) to zip around the outside and shoot clear down the back.
Once in the clear, the 26 kilogram pocket rocket began grinding away, slowly taking ground off the leaders before railing through on the inside around the home turn and kicking clear to win by two and a half lengths in a handy 30.20.
Tin Pan Ally stuck on well to finish second, with Destiny’s Soul running third.
The top four from each heat will progress to the semi-finals which will be run and won next Monday, with the top four from each semi then qualifying for the $25,000 to the winner final.
Watch Megsie Marble (2) winning her heat of the Group 3 Summer Puppy Classic.