SUDOKU Bullet has stamped himself as the greyhound to beat in this year’s Taylor & Clarence Valley Sheds Maiden final following a dominant victory at Grafton on Monday night.
Stepping from box four in the first of 10 heats, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Kim Special was able to stride straight to the lead, cruising clear to score by one and a half lengths over Little Nangar (box one) for Dennis Barnes in a speedy 22.91.
Trained and owned by Keith Anderson, Sudoku Bullet was having his first start in the heats of the $14,000 to the winner series and he couldn’t have been any more impressive.
Incidentally, the same two trainers got the quinella in the second heat, with Barnes managing to reserve the result with the regally bred Nangar Bear.
By Primo Uno out of group 1 winning stayer Fancy Liza, the red brindle dog was sent to the boxes as the $3.20 second elect behind Mark Azzopardi’s Want It More.
Despite only beginning fairly from box six, Nangar Bear was able to weave his way through the field down the back, railing around the home turn to take the lead from Sudoku Flash (box one) in the home straight.
With a clear run, Nangar Bear was able to stride clear to score by two lengths in 23.20.
It was a running double for Barnes in heat three, with Nangar Range producing a powerful run to score in 23.09 over the 407m trip.
Beginning fairly from the four, Nangar Range was able to settle in second position in the run towards the turn, levelling up half way around the bend.
Turning for home and the 32.8 kilogram greyhound put the paw to the floor, stretching out to score by two lengths on the line.
Crown Eddie (box one) and Ef Ay Zarr (box three) battled for favouritism in the fourth heat of the night, however when the lids flew open it was Agro’s Thunder (box five) which rolled to the front of the pack.
However, in the run around the turn Crown Eddie was able to slot into a nice spot behind the lamplighter, driving to the front in the straight and holding off a late challenge from Ef Ay Zarr to win in 23.48.
Victorian trainer Mark Giddings made the trip north for the series with his beautifully bred pup Xavi.
By Fabregas out of Scissor Queen, the black dog was the dominant $2.80 favourite in heat five following a 23.50 performance trial on June 27.
However, Xavi (box two) fell out of the boxes when the lids flew open, giving the field a big start.
Taking full advantage of the situation was Petite Point (box eight) which was able to cross and take the lead for trainer Michael Landrigan.
Xavi gained a beautiful run along the fence around the turn and flashed home to grab second, finishing two lengths behind the winner which clocked 23.25.
Heat six was the only other qualifier to break the elusive 23 second barrier, with John Mcgrory’s Tahlia’s Way (box four) scoring her first career win in 22.99.
A first starter, the red fawn bitch was midfield away, but quickly mustered enough pace to take up the top spot, shooting clear after some mid race bother to score by seven and three quarter lengths over Spare Cash (box two).
Moving on to heat seven and it was a wide open market, with six of the eight runners starting under double figure odds. In the end punters settled on Stephen Barton’s Ima Necromancer (box two) which used the inside draw to perfection, landing straight on the bunny.
Despite a late challenge from Snoopy Groovy (box eight), Ima Necromancer was able to hold on and score by three quarters of a length in 23.26.
Charlie Lamb made the long trip from Swan Bay for the series and it paid off with Ron Shellfish getting the cash in the eighth qualifier.
By Barcia Bale out of Idelle Bale, the red fawn dog had to dig deep, making a line of three with Old Material (box one) and Hummin Gun (box three) before hitting the accelerator around the turn and booting clear.
Ron Shellfish defeated Hummin Gun by three lengths on the line in a respectable time of 23.32.
Team Barnes were aiming for a treble in heat nine with Nangar Rock (box one), but they had to settle for second behind Biwott (box six).
Despite an ordinary beginning, Biwott showed tremendous field sense to work his way through the pack, slipping into second around the turn.
Swinging for home and the Greg Brennan-trained chaser unleashed a powerful run down the outside, sprinting past Piecost (box three) and drawing away at the finish to record his first career win in 23.29.
The final heat of the night finally rolled around and it was another extremely open event, with Elanora (box six) starting as the favourite at $4.40.
When the lids flew open the Robyn Massina-trained greyhound made the race a one act affair, defeating Mjoliner (box seven) in a moderate 23.69.
With 10 heats run and won, the fastest eight winners will move through to the final which is set to be held on Wednesday July 13, 2016.