A barrage of 710m stayers will descend on Albion Park, after form prevailed in the heats last week seeing only the best make it through to Thursday’s $74,000 final.
Among them are, Sandown Cup winner Mantra Lad, Tasmanian champion Chinatown Lad, the Queen of greyhound racing Queen Lauryn, solid performer Lady Moscato and emerging youngster Forty Twenty.
Mantra Lad is expected to just lead the betting pool with a favourable box three, but is sure to find it more difficult than her dominant performance in the Sandown Cup.
Early speed in the race sure to join Mantra Lad at the start will come from Chinatown Lad in box one, Lady Moscato in box two and coming from the wide boxes, the blistering pace of Queen Lauryn.
Queen Lauryn has quickly made a name for herself in staying races, after winning her first start only two weeks ago, posting a near record first sectional of 15.75. In her heat, she ran another solid sectional time of 15.94, the quickest of the final field.
The talented Tony Brett-trained bitch is almost certain to lead the pack, and will want to get a descent margin if she is going to finish in the top three.
Mantra Lad is sure to be up there in the early stages, along with Lady Moscato, who raced solidly last week to run second behind the Group One winner.
Chinatown Lad silenced critics last week running an impressive second to Queen Lauryn by only one length. Wearing the red, the Shane Witney-trained performer is sure to be there in the finish.
Emerging two-year-old chaser, Forty Twenty, has shown an electric racing style in previous weeks running from mid-field to pick up the leaders within the last 200m.
Jumping from box five tonight, the leaders will need to ensure that they hold onto a lengthy margin to keep out the lightning fast finisher.
Another thrilling race on the card on Thursday night is the fifth grade Mick Byrne Memorial Final (Race Six).
Last week’s heats saw Mal Dawson’s Gnarraloo come out on top with the fastest heat of the night, clocking in at 30.19 with a first sectional of 5.77 from box seven.
In the same box tonight, Gnarraloo will be harder pressed to take the lead early, with Ryan’s A Rocket making a dominant return to racing in his heat with a 5.75 first sectional to beat Tonto Tears.
Ryan’s A Rocket will jump from box two and should find the fence fairly comfortably ahead of More Fury on his inside in box one.
Tony Brett’s Bogie Bomber in box three is expected to be one of the favourites in the betting ring, winning comfortably in 30.31 ahead of Roxy Rocks.
Mr Brett’s other hopeful Tonto Tears should also not be considered. While running second to Velocity Thunder, Tonto Tears boasts a best time of 30.10 from last May, and consistently jumps well with blistering early speed.
Race Seven of the night, the first and second grade FFA Level Racing Syndicate, will see some quality dogs preparing for the upcoming Group Two Brandons QLD Derby Heats (11th June), including Bogie Blue, Rattle And Hum and Grampian.
Bogie Blue, trained by Ryan Ayre, will jump from box three, and will be hoping to make it four straight wins after running incredibly strong at an average of 30.10 in his last three.
Rattle And Hum makes a return back to racing in this race after having almost a months spell. Jumping from box five, the Terrence McCarthy-trained performer is sure to start fresh after the rest.
Rockhampton Cup winner Grampian will make the step up in class in this race, after being beaten on three consecutive races by Bogie Blue.
Elma Fud will also contest this race, and like Rattle And Hum, returns after a near month in the paddock.
One never to leave out of the exotics in these races is Reg Hazelgrove’s Eskimo Dancer, who has proven his racing abilities over the distance at Albion Park with 10 wins on his record.
- Andy Albion’s Best Bets :
- Race 3 Number 2 Killough Orchide
- Race 4 Number 7 High Earner
- Race 6 Number 3 Bogie Bomber
- Race 8 Number 5 Forty Twenty