FOURTEEN heats have been run and won of the Group 2 Warrnambool Classic over the past two days, with a number of greyhounds bursting into the spotlight as leading contenders for the $75,000 to the winner final on May 4.
Some of the sport’s biggest trainers had runners entered in the series, while many lesser known kennels also got the chance to shine across the qualifiers.
Following the heats on Tuesday and Wednesday, the joint favourites to take out the decider on Wednesday week are Aeroplane Bob and Sausage Sizzle which are both rated a $3.50 shot with online bookmaker Bet365.com.au.
Aeroplane Bob ran second in his heat on Wednesday evening, but is more than capable of bouncing back for leading conditioner Jason Thompson, while Sausage Sizzle recorded the fastest time of the 14 heats, stopping the clock in a blistering 24.92 in the fifth run-off.
The all-in market then drifts out to $11 for One For Me and Striker Klinsman, with Connemara Black, Hush Now, Hurry Slowly, Kilty Express and Macrory all sharing the same odds at $15.
Four semi-finals of the Classic are set to be conducted next Wednesday, with the first two from each semi progressing through to the decider.
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Group 2 Warrnambool Classic heat recap
Heat One: Despite a slow beginning from box three, Hurry Slowly was afforded clear galloping room in the early stages and was able to drive through and assume the lead around the first turn. Once out in front the black dog gave nothing else a chance, tearing away to score by 9.1 lengths in a fast 25.26.
Heat Two: Kilty Express upstaged odds on favourite Dream Edition to record his fourth career win at start 13. Jumping from box one, the son of Kilty Lad and Bogie Jewel came from second to score a 1.16 length win in 25.21.
Heat Three: Cactus Jack started the short priced favourite in the third qualifier, but was poorly away from box seven. Left out in front was I Got Wings (box five) which was pressured throughout by Spritely (box eight), with the latter switching to the inside around the home turn, holding off a late challenge from Cactus Jack to score by 0.04 of a length in 25.61.
Heat four: Connemara Black was all the rage to score in heat four and the Jarleth Maye-trained chaser didn’t disappoint, leading virtually all the way from box three. The 37 kilogram powerhouse managed to fight off a challenge from both Fiorelli Rose (box one) and Call Me Gee (box five) to register a 0.86 length triumph in 25.23.
Heat five: Equal series favourite Sausage Sizzle was stunning in her heat on Tuesday afternoon, exploding from box five and giving nothing else a look-in for leading conditioner Brett Bravo. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Witch’s Potion showed terrific acceleration around the turn, racing into the straight a mile in front to score in a blistering 24.92.
Heat six: Team Bravo were going for the race to race double with Hush Now in the sixth run off, however the Chris Johannsen-trained Red Cadillac proved too good on the day. The blue fawn dog used the rails draw to perfection, taking the early lead and battling on gamely to defeat Hush Now by 0.70 of a length in 25.34.
Heat seven: Roughie Master Corsair gave punters a few nervous moments in heat seven. The second reserve jumped straight to the lead from box four and led throughout most of the event before being swallowed in the shadows of the post by race favourite Dream Ticket. The Angela Langton-trained dog clocked a respectable 25.52 from box seven, the official margin being 0.16 of a length between the first two past the post.
Heat eight: Wise Harvey and Macrory were in the fight for favouritism before heat eight and both greyhounds battled it out in the race, finishing first and second, with Macrory getting top honours in 25.20. The win was the fifth of his career at start 19 and gave the son of Nitro Burst and Connemara Suzy a new personal best over the track and trip.
Heat nine: Another one act affair. Wise Maple led from go to whoa from box three in the ninth qualifier, defeating Harry Steiger and Acey Boy in a classy 25.30. Trained by Chloe Dew, the regally bred daughter of Dyna Tron and Wise Penny has now won seven races from 44 starts.
Heat 10: The tenth heat was an open affair, with five runners under double figure odds. One of those was Striker Klinsman off box one which made light work of his competition, scoring by a widening 8.76 lengths in 25.01. It was a good go for the minors, with Southward Hazel and Moonlit Wings finishing second and third respectively.
Heat 11: Another short priced favourite was sent to the boxes in the 11th heat, with Magic Is Might starting at a short $1.50. Peter Presutto’s greyhound didn’t let down his supporters, gripping on to score by 0.96 of a length in 25.48.
Heat 12: The last heat on Tuesday looked to be at the mercy of Twist Of Thunder from box two, with the favourite rolling straight to the lead at box rise. However, the race wasn’t done and dusted, with second favourite Solo rallying for trainer James Karamatic to charge past the leader half way down the home straight, charging clear to win by 1.76 lengths in a speedy 25.17.
Heat 13: The first of two heats on Wednesday featured early series favourite Aeroplane Bob for leading conditioner Jason Thompson. The last start winner was only fair to begin from box eight, with One For Me exploding from the traps and obliterating the field, recording a sensational 24.94.
Heat 14: The final heat of the 2016 series saw another Angela Langton runner salute, with Pink Shoelaces upstaging Dublin Bull, trained by Langton’s partner Jeff Britton, to score. The daughter of Westmead Hawk and Come On Luann made it six wins from 13 starts, including her last three starts at Warrnambool, with Wednesday’s win in a slick 25.13 over the 450m trip.
Warrnambool Classic all-in market
Aeroplane Bob – $3.50
Sausage Sizzle – $3.50
One For Me – $11 with Bet365
Striker Klinsman – $11
Connemara Black – $15
Hush Now – $15
Hurry Slowly – $15
Kitty Express – $15
Macrory – $15
Cactus Jack – $21
Dream Edition – $21
Call Me Gee – $21
Twist Of Thunder – $21
Magic Is Might – $31
Spritely – $31
Carry On Rose – $41
Pink Shoelaces – $41
Wise Harvey – $51
Red Cadillac – $15
Wise Maple – $51
Dublin Bull – $51
Harry Steiger – $51
Dream Ticket – $51
Vic For Short – $51
Fiorelli Rose – $51
Solo – $51
Sea Mist – $51
Tigra Tron – $67
Moonlit Wings – $67
Silky Sock – $67
Blingzilla – $67
Dream Dazzler – $81
Acey Boy – $101
Shep – $101
Dream Date – $101
Berry Bling – $151
I’ve Got Wings – $251
Southward Hazel – $251
Master Corsair – $501
Nevada Triangle – $1001