Three interesting heats were conducted for the GBOTA’s premier distance race at Wentworth Park on Saturday January 10 with a $50,000 purse waiting for the winner on Saturday 17th January 2009where an additional focus will be the celebrations of 2009 being the GBOTA’s 70th Anniversary.
As is customary on this night the GBOTA Members Greyhound of The Year Awards will be announced.
Heat 1 was a big disappointment for trainer Carolyn Reinke when the inform Octane Al (10/9 fav) ran a poor sixth. Reinke was puzzled by the run and felt something was amiss suggesting to stewards that 2 runs over 720 in a week and the recent very hot weather could be an explanation for the poor performance.
Stewards ordered the dog to be vetted and swabbed after the race.
The race saw Bev Mahoney’s wonderful old performer War Hero defy all challenges to lead throughout from box 1 at 20/1 to defeat another outsider the 25/1 chance Like A Star (box 8) trained by Billy Dance.
Bev Mahoney was proud of her brave dog which will contest the final as its 100th race start.
Cathy Dance handled the runner up and both ladies were looking forward being involved in the final. Nana’s Pie ran third for Robert Graham but missed the final eight and is first reserve. Margins were 2 x a neck and the time was the slowest of the heats 42.94.
In the second heat the 5/4 favourite Lilley Criminal won effortlessly by 4 lengths in the quickest heat time of 42.42 and trainer Anthony Azzopardi and owner Allen Williams were very happy. The dog suffered a setback contesting a recent Melbourne feature but was expected to produce its earlier superb form and that it did. It is the likely favourite for the final after drawing the rails.
Calhoun Park is no Miagi but after a good beginning and a solid second at 8/1 from the rails to Lilley Criminal trainer Warren Harper was satisfied and is sure to have his charge cherry ripe for big one in which it will have to contend with box 5.
Sole reserve for the series Tifi (7/1) ran third and qualified for the final for part owner and trainer Chris O’Brien 4 ¾ lengths further back. The in-form Irinka Samuel was next best at 4/1 in the betting behind the winner but was always well back finishing seventh but should be excused having suffered a toe injury.
The final heat was won in 42.65 by the 11/4 second elect Dana Lou Lou (box 5) displaying its characteristic powerful finish coming from fifth mid race to win impressively by 1 ¾ lengths from Abbi Taylah which was never worse than third and ran a bold race at 15/4 from box 4 for trainer Ricky Moncrief, back in Aus after a stint in Ireland.
Shane Whitney arrived from Tassie on the day with his star stayer Fallen Zorro which went out a 7/4 favourite from box 7 in this race. Fallen Zorro began ok and was always near the lead but did not show its characteristic dash but nonetheless kept plugging away for third 2 ¼ lengths back – and got into the final as the fastest third. Whitney said his dog would be much improved for the final where it has box 3.
Ashes Platinum ran fourth in this heat and is second reserve for the final as the fastest fourth.
The final will be a great contest with the likely favourites Lilley Criminal and Dana Lou Lou coming out of the rails and outside boxes respectively with Fallen Zorro in between in the three.
War Hero’s in a favourable box (2) while Abbi Taylah is wide in 6 but has early pace to overcome this.