Queensland greyhound racing will take the first step in deciding who will represent their state at the national sprint and distance titles in August when they kick off their own state series this Thursday night at Albion Park.
Two heats will be run in the Distance Championship over the 710 metre journey, with the final to be held the following Thursday.
The Sunshine State has a great record in recent times in both the National Sprint and Distance titles in large part courtesy of the great Dashing Corsair. He achieved the ground-breaking feat of becoming the only greyhound to win both titles and he sadly passed away this week.
A few of the faces that appear regularly in staying events at Albion Park are notable absentees from this series with Benarkin, Eleazar and Late Angel Lee all missing from the heats.
Here is a look at both heats in detail;
1 – Hougenie (Peter Ruetschi) – A young dog who had been racing well over the middle distances before an unsuccessful trip to The Meadows where he finished well back in two starts there over 600 metres. He is yet to win over this trip in five attempts and will need to improve to win.
2 – Wag Tail (Christina Harman) – A very consistent staying bitch who is likely to be the favourite for the entire series. The daughter of Velocette and Bacardi Cruiser (Just The Best – Lou’s Cruise) has won eight from 13 at this trip and made multiple Group finals. Her personal best of 41.69 is streets ahead of anything here.
3 – Made To Charm (Colin Fry) – A winner of just three from 51 who is yet to be tried over this journey. He has run some 22 placings in his career but looks outclassed here.
4 – Suspect Claims (Deborah Arnold) – Had been racing in easier class over middle distances before stepping up to 700 metre racing just two starts back. She did manage a second placing behind Wag Tail but was beaten by 14 1/4 lengths. Finished fourth in last week’s President’s Cup final. She will need to improve again to be a winning chance here.
5 – VACANT
6 – And It’s Gone (Bruce Linnan) – Has only had one go over this distance where she finished a long last to Late Angel Lee in June. She has not won since October last year and it is hard to envisage that changing here.
7 – Golfing Amy (John Pollock) – A front running bitch who is never too far away. She has only won one from 11 over the 710 metre trip but has finished second on four occasions. She looks the only danger to the favourite.
8 – Slippin’ Nova (Amy O’Reilly) – A winner of just two races from 32 starts who has not ran a place in his two attempts at this trip. He looks tested in this one.
Race 4 – AGRA National Distance Championship Queensland Heat 2 – 7:41pm
1 – Seven Straight (Jeffrey Cumming) – A consistent greyhound who is yet to really crack it over the longer trips. He has not won since early June and that was over the 520 metre journey. Has a great record from box one but is yet to run in the top three over 710 metres in three attempts.
2 – Bulk Rivets (Ron Goodwin) – A winner of just four from 43 who is untried over this distance. Has won all his races over the middle distances at Ipswich and faces a sharp rise in class here.
3 – Rain Stream (Robert Handyside) – Upset a solid field to win last week’s President’s Cup at huge odds. That was just her second go over the 710 metre trip after a third to Wag Tail a week earlier. She has to be considered a chance in this race.
4 – Mullaway (Joanne Price) – A front-running youngster who made the final of the Gold Cup earlier in the year. He boasts a very impressive personal best of 41.77 which he registered in early July. He looks the one to beat here.
5 – Honey Blonde (Noela Hazelgrove) – A winner of just two from 26 who is yet to fill a placing over 710 metres in two attempts. This looks too hard.
6 – Far From Fear (Amy O’Reilly) – Has been very consistent over the middle distances at Ipswich and finished fifth to Mullaway at his only start over this journey. He faces a couple of classy ones here and his place claims appear best.
7 – Set Her Again (Bruce Linnan) – Group One Gold Cup finalist who has only recently returned from a month break. She has her first 710 metre race since that let-up in this one. She has won three from eight over this trip with a best of 41.83. She is one of the big guns in this heat.
8 – Prince Harry (Ricky Whisson) – A winner of just three from 41 who is yet to race over the 710 metres. He has not won since early May and looks like he may be out of his depth here.