It’s that time of the year again when the Hunter Valley’s premier greyhound track Unibet Gardens takes centre stage this Friday with the running of the Group Two Multicam Systems Black Top heats where the final carries a winner’s purse of $40,000. This race has been claimed by some of greyhound racings best in the past with last year’s winner Penthouse, 2010 winner Snozz and 2009 winner Cindeen Shelby.
Five fantastic heats will be conducted on Friday afternoon whilst the final along with a very strong supportive program including the $5,000 ‘Macca’ consolation, the Lord Mayors Cup over 600m worth $3,000 and the inaugural John Sweet Maiden Memorial which is worth $4,000 to the winner. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be a full house at Newcastle next Saturday night!
Heat one kicks off in race three on Friday with the return of the 2012 National Derby Hero Sure As for Syd Swain who will jump from a favourable box three and after somewhat of a form slump after his enormous effort at the track back in February, has won 3 of his past 4 including some sizzling times recorded at Bulli (28.96) and Gosford (34.98) suggesting his second group win at this track might not be far away. Of course there is plenty of competition he will have to overcome including Zara Zulu who was also a National Futurity finalist, has come up the a preferred box two and has posted a personal best of 29.61. Other hopefuls include Two Tree Hill who will try to emulate what his mother did in this race back in 2007 and overcome a difficult box five draw to advance to next week’s final.
Heat two is full of greyhounds currently in white hot form with all dogs having recorded impressive stats in their past four starts which will make it very difficult for punters to separate the field. In terms of personal bests, Cavendish Flyer for Geoff Sattler has posted the best time in a near record 29.34 just last month and has come up with an advantageous box three, Miss Joyful for Anthony Azzopardi is unbeaten in her past four starts including an impressive 22.76 over the 400m at the gardens just two weeks ago, although drawn out wide in box eight her early speed will definitely help her cross the field at the crucial first turn. Flying machine Avondale Queen for Beau Hedley returns to the track with a tricky box seven but her Wentworth Park form has been ultra-impressive with a flying 29.59 win two weeks ago and no one can rule her out of making the final. National Futurity winner Midnight Capers also returns to the track coming up with box five and was very solid in her 29.69 win at the track just a few weeks ago.
Heat three is very interesting with another case of punters closing their eyes and picking a number. Little Ed for Barry Evans seems to have a slight advantage with a personal best of 29.44 however an unfavourable draw of box six with some speedy beginners on his outside will make the task that much more difficult. The consistent performer of the field is Tomato Catch Up. Despite only having 14 starts under his belt, his always been in the money and if recent form is anything to go by, his box two advantage should see him at the mix in the finish with a personal best of 29.62 recorded just two starts ago. Chiselled for Jason Mackay is a greyhound who is continually on the improve and definitely a real danger of winning this race. Renowned for his run home strength a personal best of 29.67, no one would be surprised to see him make the final.
Heat four has just the seven runners where the favouritism should be centred on the two outside runners, Young Snozz and Billy The Sid. Young Snozz, another strong Jason Mackay performer who has clocked 29.74 at this track in the past. Despite mixed recent form do not write off this greyhound that has the talent to win the final. Billy The Sid was a Dapto Megastar finalist and has excellent early speed that should see him easily get across from the wide box eight draw. All eyes will be anticipating how he handles his gardens debut. Despite drawing box six, John Edwards Fire Muldoon has been in red hot form as of late nothing up two very fast gardens victories in consecutive weeks in 29.80 and a personal best of 29.69. He is definitely a contender to tackle this field and book his spot in next week’s final.
The old saying save the best for last is put in full perspective with the fifth and final heat where several greyhounds can not only win this heat but could win the final as well. Kelly’s Hero has come up with the valuable box one and is starting to recapture some of his best form everyone knows his capable of. Prior to his past few starts where he has been racing over the 400m a sizzling 29.66 victory back in March illustrates he still has the talent to be competitive at this level. Recent Dapto Megastar hero Bye Bye Bucks has drawn extremely well in box two and making his return to the track since a slick 29.75 National Derby heat win in January, he also comes to the track with some good Wentworth Park form under his belt, priming him for a finals berth. Anthony Azzopardi’s Adam Meway also makes his return to the track for the first time in 12 months and has drawn on his favourable side of the track in box three. He has a sizzling personal best of 29.56 and if he can emulate anywhere near that time he will definitely be a threat to this heat and the final next week. Seemingly the other main danger from box seven and has been if fantastic form as of late with consecutive wins in recent weeks at Wentworth Park and a personal best at this track of 29.68 definitely a live chance of making it through to the final next week.
The heats kick off in race three this Friday afternoon at Unibet Gardens with the final to be conducted next Saturday September 1 along with a massive supportive program. The Hunter Valley is the place to be this week for your greyhound fix with some of Australia’s best on show.