The National Sprint and Distance Championship is the Group 1 event that sees the 8 finalists representing their State in having qualified through their respective state heats and finals. The prestigious events has a moving National Final, with this year’s finals set for the Meadows on August 24. With $75,000 to the winner for both sprint and distance events, as well as the title of Group 1 winner the state heats begin to take shape starting Thursday – seeing Queensland’s best nominations competing.
In another disappointing result for Queensland Racing poor nominations resulted in only 2 heats in each of the sprint and distance events. The Sprint series has some quality greyhounds nominated – including Queensland’s best in Glen Gallon. It’s unfortunate that it can’t be said for the heats of the distance event.
Without being critical of any greyhounds individually (in case they may actually win) Queensland Racing have done themselves no favours by drawing these two fields. The class of greyhounds nominated is poor and perhaps just a straight out final would have been the better option. With poor nominations overall for Thursday night in total – perhaps they didn’t have a choice. Unfortunately it’s another sign to the poor health of greyhound racing in Queensland and shows an industry lacking direction and support waning.
Heat 1 – AGRA NATIONAL QLD DISTANCE – 710m @ 8.05pm
Morayfield trainer Lester Kleinhans seems to have taken the traditional approach with his consistent chaser Nothing Goes (Dashing Corsair – Razolin Bond). After two tries at the trip for two impressive seconds at her most recent outings, the January 2011 black whelp appears to be handling the step up in distance with aplomb. Being a daughter of Dashing Corsair – the only greyhound to have won both the National sprint (2009) and distance (2011) finals – the omen is there for Nothing Goes to be the first state finalist through in heat one. With increasing track awareness she should be able to improve on her first up distance attempts and add to her winning record (26 – 6-4-2) here as she jumps from box 7.
Gregory Stella’s money spinner Rylee’s Reign looks well placed to be the leading challenger after drawing the pink rug (box 8) in heat 1. Consistent 710m racing has the 3 year old son of Bit Chili – Reneen Lass in strong form with his most recent four starts resulting in performances no worse than 4th, including a strong win when first up over the trip. A greyhound that is well supported in each of his races – he is in the hands of a well-respected mentor and with a little luck in running will be thereabouts at the finish. With an overall record of 48 starts for 16 wins and 13 placing’s he has the form on the board to be a strong winning chance.
Popular mentor Bob Giltinan engages the Leslie Bein owned Bogie Dawn (High Earner – Bogie Skye) in box 1 and she looks capable of improving her recent form having drawn the ideal cherry box. A hit and miss greyhound at her best she is ultra-impressive but she can go missing if things don’t go her own way. With form around the best dogs in Queensland and Northern NSW she does have an impressive overall record of 40 starts for 11 wins and 11 placing’s. With a best time of 42.32 at the track and trip a repeat of that performance should see her do enough to qualify in the top four for the state final next week.
Auriga Doll (High Earner – Auriga Gipsy) for Fernvale trainer Geoff Draheim looks another strong chance despite the poor box draw – box 6. A consistent chaser, she does have excellent track form and an imposing overall record of 45 starts for 14 wins and 13 placing’s. A new comer to distance racing she was impressive last week behind Mist Opportunity at her first try over the longer journey. Recent strong form over the 600m indicates that she should appreciate the longer trip and with a little luck early she could run a very cheeky race. Each way chance.
Selections – 7 – 8 – 1 – 6
Heat 2 – AGRA NATIONAL QLD DISTANCE – 710m @ 8.25pm
Versatile chaser Never Tell (El Galo – Georgia Anne) draws ideally in heat two after coming up with the cherry box and looks the greyhound to beat for Beenleigh mentor Anne Southee. A wonderful competitor Never Tell has been outstanding in his career winning from 300 – 700 m and running time at both ends. Fast Ipswich wins early in his career showed his potential and it has been a wonderful training performance that has resulted in his overall record of 51 starts for 16 wins and 14 placing’s. With a fast 42.11 PB at the track and trip he looks the winning chance. After no luck last week behind Mist Opportunity in the best 8 event – he should atone here from the suitable draw.
Benarkin (Path To Power – Velocity Cloud) steps up the staying journey for the first time for leading Queensland mentor Tony Brett. The Grandchester trainer has to be respected with any dog he collars and Benarkin looks the type to excel under his tutelage as indicated by his already impressive career. With 20 starts resulting in 7 wins and 9 placing’s he is a punter’s favourite and looks certain to qualify for next week’s final after drawing box 7. The 35 kilogram black chaser has won in fast times over the 600m and from his overall form gives the indication that the further the trip the better. An impressive dog in the gun kennel – winning chance.
Having his first crack at the distance – the Jeff Cumming trained Seven Straight (Cosmic Rumble – Nicely Done) looks well placed to challenge after drawing box 2. A strong greyhound he has wonderful 600m Albion Park form and should he handle the first up rise in trip he looks another to qualify for the state final. With just 19 starts resulting in 6 wins and 6 placing’s – Queensland racing supporters would undoubtedly be excited that Seven Straight is now stepping up to longer distance racing. Named after the all-conquering Queensland state of origin side supporters will hope that he can conquer this field and reach next week’s state final.
2012 National Distance Finalist and Queensland state winner Mist Opportunity (Bit Chili – Honey Mist) returns for another shot at the National title having drawn box 4. The Patricia Carrington trained chaser returned to winning form last week when winning the best 8 President’s cup over the same journey. A proven 710m greyhound she has a fast PB of 42.01 and last week was not far off that time with a 42.25 BON performance. She is a hit and miss greyhound that is brilliant at her best but ordinary at worst. If she can handle the poor draw and repeat last week’s winning performance she is a strong each way chance to qualify for the state distance final and the hope of being back to back state representative.
Selections – 1 – 7 – 2 – 4
Heat 1 – AGRA NATIONAL QLD SPRINT – 520m @ 8.44pm
Track specialist and favourite greyhound Top Story returns for another feature Albion Park series having drawn box 2 in heat 1. The Sandra Hunt trained son of Knocka Norris – Bomber Babe is a wonderful dog having already qualified for multiple group finals here at headquarters in 2013 including the Group 1 Winter Cup and Group 2 Queensland Derby. Consistent as always he has outstanding form overall that has resulted in 27 starts for 14 wins and 9 placing’s. With a fast 29.77 PB here he races the best each week and always gives 110%. With age and experience on his side as well as the ideal draw in box 2 he looks a strong winning chance not only in this heat but also in next week’s Qld final. One of the favourites for the Qld title.
Hot young dog Surfin’ Kawati (Surf Lorian – Tarzane’s Girl) put it all together last start at Albion Park with a brilliant win from box 1 in 29.74 BON. The Lois Neal trained chaser could not have been more impressive winning by an ever widening seven and a half lengths. With 19 starts resulting in 7 wins and 4 placing’s, the 30 kilogram speedster is heading in the right direction at the right time. With a fast early split last week of 5.69 he gave nothing else a chance in his commanding win. A repeat of that performance here will see the others racing for second and without bad luck he should win despite drawing box 7.
After chasing Surfin’ Kawati home in both of her last two starts Honey Bouquet (33 starts – 10-7-6) faces him again this week after coming up with the pink rug for Beachmere trainer John Conlon. The daughter of repeat mating Bit Chili – Honey Mist – she has been in outstanding form of late attacking the Brisbane winter carnival with aplomb. Another group series is just reward for the June 2010 whelp and she will hope to emulate her full sister Mist Opportunity by qualifying for a state final (Mist Opportunity – distance finalist 2012) albeit over the sprint journey. With a fast PB under the magical 30 sec mark she is a strong front running greyhound and with any early luck beside the favourite a win wouldn’t shock here.
The Darren Russell prepared Innisplain Jet (Where’s Pedro – Something Wild) has found form of late having saluted in two of his past four starts. Although the times weren’t super quick they were impressive as he worked his way through the fields after displaying poor box speed. With 25 starts over the track and distance resulting in 10 wins and 7 placing’s he knows how to get the job done at headquarters. Having drawn the cherry in heat 1 he looks capable of improving his early tardiness and should he be able to position closer to the front of the field looks a strong place chance to progress in the top 4 here.
Selections – 2 – 7 – 8 – 1
Heat 2 – AGRA NATIONAL QLD SPRINT HEAT – 520m @ 9.08pm
Queensland’s favourite greyhound Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent) returns for start 60 in heat 2 of the National Qld Sprint heat for leading mentor Tony Brett. The group racing specialist is a marvellous dog and one of the best to have graced race tracks around the country. With 59 starts resulting in 34 wins and 12 placing’s – the three time Group 1 winner and 14 time Group finalist looks again the one to beat despite drawing terribly in box 4. The last start Group 1 Winter Cup winner could not have been more impressive and as he nears retirement and a life at stud the industry will be hoping that there is one more Glen Gallon moment to come – as he looks to qualify for the National Final on August 24. Super dog and the one to beat.
Imported sire Fear Zafonic is starting to impress with his prodigy on the racing scene and one of the most promising pups is Shabeky (by Surf Queen) for Ormeau trainer Tom Tzouvelis. The veteran of just 5 starts (4 wins and 1 second) 3 of her wins have been in best of night times. A sub 30 winner here at her previous start, the June 2011 whelp is a greyhound with a big future no matter what the result on Thursday night. Drawn in box 5 beside the grand champ Glen Gallon Queensland Racing will get an indication of the old vs the new as she looks to continue on her winning way. Impressive young bitch beautifully bred and capable of big upset – strong winning chance.
Winning form is great form and Mount Tarampa trainer Albert Kennewell is enjoying a great run with Rose Of Galo. With a fence post of 4 wins from her past 4 starts the daughter of El Galo – Noir Rose has an impressive overall record of 18 starts for 8 wins and 4 placing’s. Brilliant early – she has the ability to lead and gap her rivals as evidenced by her last start 5.59 first section. With bad luck behind her she may sneak a victory but she will need to improve on her track best of 30.19 to hold on and win here. Drawn perfectly in box 1 she looks the likely leader and a strong place chance.
Darren Russell’s two pronged attack on the Sprint series see Rozelle Flash drawn box 8 in the second heat. The October 2010 son of Elite State – Joy Esme – is an honest performer and a dog capable of upsetting the favourites here. With 21 starts resulting in 6 wins and 9 placing’s he does have a fast 30.06 win here set in April 2013. Slow early he does have the right draw to avoid any first turn trouble and should be able to take a nice sit in the race and qualify for the state final next Thursday night.
Selections – 4 – 5 -1 – 8
Racing on Thursday night at Albion Park sees the bunny pass the boxes for the first time at 6.44 pm for another ten card program. The first of the feature heats is Race 5 at 8.05 pm. Good luck to all owners and trainers in the heats of the Sprint and Distance Series and let’s hope that Queensland can win the National Finals on August 24.