The Queensland contenders for the 2009 Schweppes National Distance and Sprint finals will go head to head this Thursday night in Brisbane.
Top quality fields will have the punters studying their form closely, as the nominated greyhounds look to qualify for next week’s finals over 520m and 710m.
The winners of next week’s finals will then qualify for the Final in Perth in September to represent Queensland.
The race card this Thursday night begins with the stayers, with Heat One (Race One), seeing born-again stayer Seminole take on last week’s 25-1 upset winner Code.
Seminole was unlucky to lose by one and a quarter length after being checked in the early stages of last week’s race, and was unable to regain enough ground in time.
Code, trained by Bob Giltinan, went on to win the race in a solid 42.47 on the slow track, a fitting win considering how well he has been racing.
While Code’s performance was impressive, it will take a lot to beat the 11-win record of track veteran Seminole.
In Heat Two (Race Two) emerging youngster Miss Amy Jade will be looking to make ammense from box five after last week running last despite punters odds-on confidence.
The Desmond Pollock-trained bitch ran into trouble also in the early stages, and went missing after that.
While she is a top contender, she will have her work cut out for her tonight with Dashing Top Hat (box four) and Uno Play Boy (box seven) sure to pounce on any mistakes.
Another to keep an eye on is Blaine Bale from box eight, who had his first start over the distance for a second behind Surfin Snow last week.
A very open race is the last Distance Heat of the night (Race Three) with 600m specialists Royston Renegade and Hot Dessa jumping from box one and two, respectively.
While both have limited starts over the distance, neither are yet to claim a victory, with box seven’s Smart Choice holding the best staying strike rate at Albion Park over the distance.
However, Smart Choice has been spelling for about two months, with his last start over the distance in May, where he was beat by classy stayer Forty Twenty.
In Race Four, the National Sprint Heats kick off, which will see Christine Robartson’s 30-second breaker Lots Of Moolah jump from box one.
Lots of Moolah will enjoy the rails run after several non-placing starts from more awkward boxes.
Outside him is Kallan Bale from Tom Tazouvelis’ kennels, who comes off the back of a third behind top sprinters Queen Lauryn and Voodoo Prince in Darwin.
The Primo Uno-dog is sure to be fresh for this race, having more than a week off between the Group Three race and now.
Another top contender is Ron Ball’s Luva Drink who ran second behind kennel mate Ryan’s A Rocket last week in the Townsville Cup. Ryan’s A Rocket will start in the following heat (Race 5) from box eight.
The classy Bombastic Shiraz-dog has been up against some of the best in Australian greyhound racing, including running second to Velocette in the Group Three Gold Coast Cup Heats.
The Townsville Cup-win was a top run from Ryan’s A Rocket, and he is sure to improve with the confidence.
However, Azastar in box seven will make it hard for Ryan’s A Rocket to cross early, boasting a first sectional of 5.76 last week to beat Group contender Paddy Bell from box four.
In Heat Three (Race Six) Group winner High Earner will make his return to racing after enjoying a short spell after the Group One Winter Carnival Cup Final.
The Queensland Derby winner was flat in the Winter Carnival Cup Final, and with a spell under his belt is sure to finish off his consistently quick box speed.
Berella Rhianna will make tough competition on his outside from box seven, as well as Dwyer Lennon’s Dashing Corsair in box eight.
Dashing Corsair has performed outstandingly over the Winter Carnival, and is sure to be in the final three in this heat.
In the remaining heat of the night Tony Brett’s top contender Bogie Bomber has drawn a favourable box two.
The impeccably-bred dog was unlucky in the Townsville Cup final from box seven, running third behind Ryan’s A Rocket who he beat in the heat the week before.
It is going to be a mad dash for the lead in this race with Pop Culture in box six with a vacant box insider him, and Group One finalist Paddy Bell in box seven.
Pop Culture has run blistering first sectionals in his last two starts of 5.78 and 5.75.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets:
- Race 1 Number 8 Seminole
- Race 2 Number 8 Blaine Bale
- Race 6 Number 4 High Earner
- Race 7 Number 7 Paddy Bell
- Race 10 Number 8 Voodoo Prince