Sandown Park is again the epicenter of top class greyhound racing this Thursday night with a stellar card of chasing scheduled, including four Sandown Cup heats and the Group One Sapphire Crown final.
Amid all of this, one of Victoria's newest Group races, the Group Two Harrison-Dawson final takes place. The $100,000 to-the-winner event is held over the flying 515 metre journey and will be the eighth race of the evening at 9:49pm.
Last Thursday night's heats threw up a few surprises which saw dogs of the ilk of Black Magic Opal, Tonk, Hooksy and Innocent Til all missing a berth in the big one.
In fact, up until the scratching of Mepunga Melachi, there were no Group One winners in the race. Reserve runner Hawk Alone is now the only runner with that achievement next to his name in this final.
That aside, there is still no lack of quality in the race with the likes of Musquin Bale, Awesome Project and Banjo Boy among the top chances.
Here is the field in detail along with connections appraisals of their hopes;
Comments: Angela Langton (Co-Trainer) –“He tends to track wide and likes to be a little off the fence. He hasn't had box one much and we are hoping the box will bring him out a bit better as he is a slow beginner. We also hope that he doesn't pull of wide on the turn.”
Comments:ARG opinion is – Strong runner in a good kennel who has been in great form of late. Will need to step well to put himself in this contest early, if he can be in the first few heading for home, he is strong enough to be a genuine hope.
Comments: Wayne Vassallo (Trainer) – “He's very consistent around that 29.50 mark, he just needs that good run to the first turn, then he can really motor home.The box draw has not done him any favours, really now I'll just be happy if he can run into a place. He's very consistent, he has been sort of racing every week and is going as good as he as ever gone.”
Comments:Lisa Cockerell (Trainer) – “The draw is not great, I guess it is better than six, seven or eight, but he is going to get back regardless so as long as he gets some room, I guess the box doesn't matter too much. I think it is just a case of putting him in the box and closing my eyes and hoping for the best. I think he has deserved his spot in the race, just for himself more than anything.”
Comments: Ken Virtue (Trainer) – “I don't think the box is going to really matter, what is going to matter is how he begins wherever he draws. Perhaps you can argue that if he had an inside draw he could push up inside them, where from wide you can get trapped out there if you do happen to dwell a bit. It is up to the dog, in my opinion his only weakness is that he is a risky beginner.”
Comments:Group One Rookie Rebel winner who is strong and can handle the wide draw. He was also a place-getter in the Golden Easter Egg and if he gets some room to position himself early, he will be running on at the business end of proceedings.
Comments: Another run on type dog who has gone fast at Sandown in the past. Depending on the draw, he would not be the worst if he gained a start.
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This is a race that appears to lack genuine early speed. If Musquin Bale (2) can begin the way he has been lately then he may get the opportunity to make his own luck up front. He is a very strong dog and, if he finds the lead, will take a power of running down.
Banjo Boy (7) holds all the keys. He is an unreliable beginner, but should he exit the boxes well, then the race is there for the taking.
Awesome Project (3) could well be on the speed but will be hoping they cross Musquin Bale early to give himself the best chance of winning.
Hawk Alone (9) who will exit box seven, is a proven performer in big finals and comes into this as a real smokey. With a modicum of luck in the running, he could prove to be a knockout.
Cornelius Fudge (5), Tyronimo (4), Texas Titan (1) and Owen Bale (6) are all likely to leave the boxes slowly and will need luck in the run to the first turn.
Both Cornelius Fudge and Tyronimo have registered fast times here before and are the smokeys in the field if the cards fall their way.