Kel Greenough added another staying feature race to his impressive resume when Just Friends defeated Gunnadoo Magic in the last stride of the $29,000 Group 3 Lizrene Classic at Sandown Park last Thursday night.
Favourite Gunnadoo Magic ($2.10) overcame box 8 to assume the lead at the first turn ahead of Greenough’s second runner Ready To Star. Just Friends ($4.60), a renowned backmarker, settled midfield and soon set off in pursuit of the early leader.
With Just Friends closing in, Gunnadoo Magic railed strongly coming off the back straight. Just Friends switched out from behind the leader around the home turn, and in a desperate run to the line, snatched victory with the final stride.
Ready To Star stuck on gamely for third, and in a remarkable training effort, Greenough’s third runner Daphne Mavis ($17.70) ran fourth.
Just Friends’ quarter of a length win came in a slick 42.14, the equal second fastest time run in the Group 3 feature behind race record holder Al Fresco. It was Just Friends’ second Group race win, took her race record to 11 wins from 39 starts, and career prizemoney to $132,595.
First run in 1992, the Group 3 Lizrene Classic has evolved to become the final lead up race to Australia’s most prestigious race for staying greyhounds, the $86,000 Group 1 Radio Sport 927 Sandown Cup. Admission to the final is free and will be run on Thursday 15 May at Sandown Park.
Group 3 Lizrene Classic (715m) Honour Roll :
2002 Tears of Jupiter Trainer : Peter Giles Box: 2 Winning Time: 42.44
2003 Arvo’s Junior Trainer : George Arvanitis Box: 7 Winning Time: 42.44
2004 Al Fresco Trainer : Darren McDonald Box: 5 Winning Time: 42.05
2005 Rocky Trainer : Stephen McKenna Box: 6 Winning Time: 42.32
2006 Texas Gold Trainer : Jason Mackay Box: 7 Winning Time: 42.14
2007 Miss Brook Trainer : Paul Felgate Box: 1 Winning Time: 42.33
2008 Just Friends Trainer : Kel Greenough Box: 5 Winning Time: 42.14