While the race will be missing original invitees Queen Lauryn, who is on season, and Lady Moscato, who was injured last week in Brisbane, the $22,000 battle will see four outstanding greyhounds go head to head.
The field is a true battle of the sexes with top bitches Lilley Criminal, in box one, and Amity Bale in box three taking on the best dogs, Mantra Lad in box five and Forty Twenty in box seven.
Anthony Azzapardi’s Lilley Criminal makes her return to the track after an eight-week spell after suffering an injury at Sandwon Park in April.
Lilley Criminal, who was first reserve and replaces Lady Moscato, has a string of Group performances to her name including wins in the Group One Australian Superstayers, and Group One Association Cup.
Drawing box one, it will be a much awaited return for the talented bitch, after being in Brisbane for the past few weeks trialling at Albion Park but is yet to start in a race there.
Up and coming stayer, Amity Bale, will make her debut at Albion Park over the 710m also, and will be looking to make ammense after being beaten by Mantra Lad in last week’s McKenna Memorial final by two and a half lengths.
Amity Bale has burst onto the distance racing scene after a solid career as a sprinter including a Heat win in the Group One Melbourne Cup over 520m. Since then she has run Group-like times in Melbourne over the longer distances including a sensational Heat win in the McKenna Memorial.
Likely favourite of the race is Group One Sandown Cup, and Group Two Mckenna Memorial winner, Mantra Lad.
Mantra Lad continues to display champion characteristics and blitzed the field last week in a very smart 41.91 at Sandown Park.
The Graham Jose-trained star is expected to lead from the jump, and will need a strong finisher to keep her out of the winner’s circle.
Rising start Forty Twenty will be a looming threat in this race, showing improvement with every start including track records at Dapto and Richmond recently, as well as winning the Winter Chase at Albion Park a month ago.
A vacant inside box is something the John Heard-trained youngster has yet to race with, and is expected to enjoy it.
Other racing on the card at Albion Park on Thursday night is the Group Two Imagetec Gold Coast Cup Heats.
Heat One (race four) will see Brandons Electrical Qld Derby winner High Earner jump from a favourable box two, and is expected to lead the betting ring and the race.
However, he will have a strong contender beside him in box one with Tina Womann’s solid performer Trew Millions making the trip back to Brisbane since running second in the Group One Brisbane Cup last December behind El Galo.
Another finalist from the Derby, Surfin Silence, will also be one to keep an eye on from box seven, showing he has what it takes having beaten High Earner in June and showing quick early box speed on numerous occasions.
Heat Two (Race Five) will see Grampian take on Dashing Corsair, in box one and two respectively.
Grampian showed blistering early speed from box seven last week to beat Ryan’s A Rocket by almost two lengths.
However, Dashing Corsair will improve off his third in the Derby Final, and showed solid strength to win a fifth grade 600m race last week in Brisbane in 34.80.
Railway Max is another that has come up from the Tina Womann kennels, and will jump from box four after blitzing a fourth grade field at Sandown in a smart time of 29.90.
Heat Three of the night (Race Six) is a difficult race for the form analysts, with Turanza Bale, Elma Fud, Bogie Bomber and Cosmic Rumble going head to head.
In what could be anyone’s race, the local’s are sure to be cheering for Brisbane performer Bogie Bomber, who ran into trouble in the Derby two weeks ago and will be looking to improve.
Cosmic Rumble has shown impressive form in Brisbane including a blistering 520m time of 29.85 in May to win the Flying Amy Classic.
Turanza Bale has drawn the lucky red box for trainer Graham Bate, and comes up to Brisbane for the first time after a string of brilliant times at the Meadows and Sandown Park running under 30-seconds two starts ago.
Elma Fud should also be considered, with his experience at Albion Park including seven wins over the distance.
Heat Four will also be a hard race to pick with Tony Brett’s emerging sprinter Tonto Tears in box one, Ryan’s A Rocket in box three, Millenium in box five, and the return of Graeme Bate’s Velocette in box seven.
Velocette boasts a limited but fast record over the distance in Brisbane, and will be looking to replicate his Group One Brisbane Cup Heat win from last year of 29.69.
But he will have his work cut out for him with Ryan’s A Rocket in box three, who has shown winning form in Brisbane nine times, including a best time of 30.11 in June.
Millennium will be hoping to replicate her win from last week in box five, running a good 30.19 to win over Reign Over Me.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets:
- Race 3 Number 1 Bikini Beach
- Race 4 Number 2 High Earner
- Race 5 Number 2 Dashing Corsair
- Race 7 Number 7 Velocette
- Race 8 Number 5 Mantra Lad