If you could select a trio of stayers that you’d hope to see contest a Group Three event, chances are that all the greyhounds you select are taking part in the 2014 Chairmans Cup series at Wentworth Park, which kicks off this Saturday night.
The heats of the $25,000 to-the-winner event features the two big guns of Australian “half-mile” racing in Xylia Allen and Sweet It Is.
Xylia Allen has done it all, eight track records, multiple Group One victories over both sprint and distance trips and is the greatest Australian stakes earner of all time.
Sweet It Is is a triple Group One winner who possesses an exciting finishing burst in her races.
Add to those two the former Wentworth Park track record holder Dyna Willow, who has also won multiple Group events at Wentworth Park and it has the makings of a classic series.
The race was first conducted over the 732 metre trip on the grass of Harold Park in 1984 before moving to Wentworth park in 1988, also on the grass surface. It has been conducted over the current 720 metre loam journey since 1992.
The honour roll boasts such names as Miss Cruise (1994), Sharden Blaze (1998), Yaroun Express (2000), Chinatown Lad (2008), Amity Bale (2009) and Shimaguni (2011).
Here is a look at the two heats;
Race 6 – Chairmans Cup Heat 1 – 9:15pm
1 – Avondale Maurick (Ron Bell) – A good beginner and a winner of 12 from 38 who loves box one. He has only won two from 10 over this trip and will need to find the front and hope he can hang on for a place in this sort of field.
2 – Dusty Moonshine (Denice Warren) – An exciting staying bitch who only tasted her first defeat over the Wentworth Park 720 metre trip at her last start. Before that she had won three in a row including a best of 41.90. She should be near the lead and is capable of pushing the two big guns in this race. If there is a query over her, it may be the fact that she has not raced for a month and may be better for the hit out.
3 – Bailey Rose (Eddie Lieshout) – A young Victorian who is yet to compete regularly in the top grade. She has been placed in her last two outings at Sandown Park but will need to be a lot better than that in a field like this. This looks too tough for her.
4 – Dyna Willow (Steve Collins) – A quality race bitch and multiple Group winner with a genuine penchant for Wentworth Park. She has won six from eight at the Glebe circuit and is a former track record holder with a best of 41.69. Her recent form has been a little below her best with a last placing followed up by a short let-up and two subsequent unplaced runs. She will need to find close to her best to win this but it will take a sharp improvement on recent efforts.
5 – Zipping Rory (Bethany Daparin) – A promising type and Group placed dog who has his first Wentworth Park outing in this race. His Victorian form is consistent without being outstanding and he would need the more fancied runners to make a few errors for him to be winning this.
6 – Xylia Allen (Jenny Hunt) – A Champion all-distance race bitch who is the current Wentworth Park track record holder. She has won 11 of her last 13 starts and warmed up for this with a dominant 39.07 win at Geelong. She has never missed a placing from box six and is clearly the one to beat in this race.
7 – Asteroid Miss (John Lawson) – A youngster who is still working her way up through the grades. Faces a massive class rise on her last start fifth grade win here and her best of 42.54 is a second slower than Xylia Allen’s best. This race is too much to ask of her at this stage of her career.
8 – Gold Affair Two (Robert Britton) – A 100-start veteran who has competed in top company for a long time. Finished second to Xylia Allen last week, albeit some 9 3/4 lengths from the winner. She is yet to race at Wentworth Park and looks to be more of a place chance than a winning one.
9 – Infinite Wish (Angela Langton) – A Group One placed bitch who has also made two Group finals at Wentworth Park. She has been a little below her best of late but does have a tendency to improve at the track and would be a place hope if she gained a start.
10 – Clan Annie (Alex Anderson) – A winner of just 4 from 38 who looks to be way out of her depth in this type of company.
Race 7 – Chairmans Cup Heat 2 – 9:35pm
1 – Miss Fiction (Ivan Hannah) – A slow beginner with a less than flattering strike-rate who is yet to impress on the clock in her three wins over this trip. She is likely to be tested in this sort of company.
2 – Liara Allen (Steve Collins) – A consistent Victorian bitch who races in good company on a regular basis. She has been placed in her last six starts and has a great record from box two with three wins from four attempts. She could find herself near the speed from the draw and may give a little bit of cheek at her first Wentworth Park appearance.
3 – Zipping Maggie (Peter Daprain) – Another quality Victorian stayer who has won her last three, including two at Sandown Park in slick time. She also has the ability to leave the traps well and will be a huge chance if the favourite finds trouble back in the field. She registered 42.50 in a stewards trial at the track last week and she will need to improve a little on that to be a winning hope here.
4 – Sweet It Is (Darren McDonald) – A triple Group One winner and recently crowned Australian Distance Champion. She has a terrific turn of foot in the back half of her races and provides a great spectacle as she flashes home. All she will need is a bit of space in transit and this race looks to be hers for the taking.
5 – Terry’s Memory (Raymond Smith) – Has only recently graduated to the longer trips and is yet to register a win in easier company at two tries over this journey. He looks likely to find this field a little bit too hot.
6 – Queen Marina (Nolene Holloway) – The recent New South Wales distance champion who finished last to Sweet It Is in the national final at Cannington. She has since finished third over 600 metres at The Gardens. Surprisingly, she has only managed one win in seven attempts at this trip and has a best of 42.28. She is likely to find this race tough and will need to find the front to be any hope.
7 – Yellow Fever (Ronald Bell) – A regular in easier grade staying races at this track who has only managed two wins in his last 20 races. Has only won one from 13 over this distance and has a best of 42.45. He is sure to be tested in this one.
8 – My Asuncion (Adele Powell) – A track regular who broke through for her first Wentworth Park 720 metre win two starts back at her 22nd attempt. She does not win out of turn but has a good place strike rate and her best claims look to be in the placings again in this event.
9 – Clan Annie (Alex Anderson) – A winner of just 4 from 38 who looks to be way out of her depth in this type of company.
10 – Infinite Wish (Angela Langton) – A Group One placed bitch who has also made two Group finals at Wentworth Park. She has been a little below her best of late but does have a tendency to improve at the track and would be a place hope if she gained a start.