There is no doubt the current generation of young sprinters in Australia is nothing short of phenomenal, in fact you would not be far off the money to say that it is one of the strongest generations greyhound enthusiasts have seen in recent years. Tonight marks the start of one of the most gruelling age classics nationwide with the heats of the Group One Peter Mosman at Wentworth Park.
Run over three weeks the $75,000 series is host to the best 80 sprinters whelped on or after the 1st December 2010 with the honour roll bursting with former track stars including Solve The Puzzle (1998), Big Sam Banner (2002), Elite State (2003) and Surf Lorian (2004) whilst last year it was taken out by top liner Garrick Bale. With nine spectacular heats tonight below are a few of the standout runners in the series.
Hard to go past the superstar Black Magic Opal in the first heat despite the fact that he has drawn poorly in box five. He is one of the most exciting sprinters to come out of the Central Coast in recent times and is now in the astute hands of master trainer Jason Thompson. He was a dazzling winner of the Group Two Maitland Gold Cup in April and has won two from two for Thompson in Victoria in near track record times. With nineteen starts for fifteen wins and four seconds to his name including a 29.79 seconds over the track and distance he should take some beating.
Despite the scratching of boom pup Zulu Zircon heat two is still a fantastic race with local star Winsome Charlee boxed in the cherry for John and Minnie Finn. The daughter of Where’s Pedro and Ramblin’ Ruby has been freshened up for the series and will be lining up for her first start in almost a month. Winsome Charlee has won fourteen races all up including five at Wentworth Park with a best of 29.66 seconds and loves box one with four wins and a placing from five starts. The plucky little bitch does not have genuine zip but she makes up for it with a combination of heart and a big motor. Winsome Charlee is always thereabouts and has a strong record in group finals finishing third in the Group One National Futurity behind Sometimes Speedy and Punch One Out and second in this year’s Golden Easter Egg behind Grigorieva Bale. Shadow Lane will be her biggest threat from box three with some speedy times down south for Michael Carter including a nippy 29.86 seconds triumph last start at Sandown.
Heat five will see three time group winner Jagger Swagger line up from the rails box off the back of his terrific win in the Group Three Ranvet Gold Cup. The 36 kilogram son of Premier Fantasy and Surpassing took out the Group One National Derby at Unibet Gardens followed by the Group Two Richmond Derby earlier this year. The Mark Azzopardi trained sprinter has a personal best of 29.56 seconds over the track and distance as well as a flawless three from three from the one. His litter brother Incumbent is in the same heat from box three and is a handy performer in his own right with nine wins from 18 starts. Best of the rest is Gold Town who ran a near track record 29.49 seconds during the Easter Egg series however he is a bit hit and miss and Jagger Swagger is more reliable especially from box one.
In the following heat Gold Cup runner up Zulu Zeus also has the luxury of an inside draw and will be the dominant favourite after nearly running down Jagger Swagger last start. The Frank Hurst greyhound has won five races from eleven starts with a scintillating 29.83 seconds recorded at his last start in town over Tempest Shiraz. The youngster does not turn two until August but is in a class of his own with blistering times at Bulli (26.20 seconds) and Richmond (30.08 seconds)
Making the trip to NSW for the series is Group One Sapphire Crown winner Xylia Allen who will line up from box four in the seventh heat. She is about the only dog in the series who can get knocked left right and centre and still win emphatically and she looks set to win again tonight. She lacks early pace but is extremely resilient in running and has an enormous motor once she finds her feet. To put it simply with a clear run there is no dog in the race that can beat her because she is an absolute machine. If there is a bunch up rails runner Clockwise will be hoping to sneak through on the inside and snare the event. She has only had nine starts but has shown a stack of ability with fast times at Gosford(29.76 seconds) and Wentworth Park (30.01 seconds). She has never had box one but I can’t see it being a problem for her.
Xylia Allen’s talented litter brother Amram Allen will line up from box three in the heat after his freakish sister and looks to be right in contention. The black dog has put together ten wins and ten placings from 27 starts and was a dominant last start winner in 26.06 seconds (BON) at Warragul over Purcell Bale. He seems to have about as much speed as his sizzling sister but from the white he should be able to sit behind the speed and pounce on the leaders. His biggest threat is fellow Victorian and Group Two Harrison-Dawson victor Clone Your Own who will make his Wentworth Park debut from box six. The former New Zealander is trained by Robert Britton and has been racing brilliantly since venturing across the Tasman with six starts for four wins and a placing.
Included in this were thrilling times at Sandown clocked over three consecutive weeks (29.49, 29.41, 29.48 seconds). Box six is a concern however he is one from one from the green- if he can handle the track he will give them a shake.
The first race on a fantastic card at Wentworth Park will jump at 7:30pm. With so many exhilarating speedsters engaged in the series the next three weeks will certainly be action packed for greyhound racing enthusiasts and will reveal who Australia’s top young chasers are.