May 22 saw the running of fifteen heats of this Group 2 event at Wentworth Park over 520 metres for greyhounds whelped on or after January 1, 2006.
With 83 nominations fifteen heats were programmed – in the end after withdrawals 60 dogs contested and there were some impressive performances.
The results suggest that the semi finals are the best quality in the history of this event.
Queenslander Paul Felgate brought seven, Victorian Graeme Bate brought three. Max Auld also from Victoria brought his highly rated Cee Four. Another Victorian to make the trip was Simon Lees with city winner Rowdy.
Neil Falls sent down three from the far north of the State, being litter brothers (Hallucinate x Smokey Whisky) Genista Dream, Genista Reign and Genista Thunder. Also there from Queensland was Dave Irwin with speed machine Elite Oriental.
Sid Swain contested with grade 1 and sub 30 Wenty winner Cool Flight. Doreen Drynan contested with her multiple city winners Eluthra and Ravenstoke. Greg Board contested with Lorraine Atchison’s Varvatos, boasting 12 wins and 6 placing from 20 starts, Richard Dean brought four including sub 30 Wenty winner Thai Alert.
Winner of the March 22 Multiquip Magic Maiden at Wentworth Park, Albino Rossi in the hands of Ryan Cinello was there to take on the more seasoned performers.
Joining Sid Swain and Richard Dean with sub 30 Wenty winners were Luke Azzopardi with Lochinvar Dior, Doreen Drynan with Ravenstoke, Eric Castle with Hanify’s Impact and Tracey Hurst with Good Odds Judy. The dog with the most wins was Paul Felgate’s Iron Steed (20 wins from 44), while Paul also had the dog with the most starts (63), Make You Happy.
Interestingly the dogs with the least experience on the night, Rocky Laurie, a maiden performer from Queensland in the hands of Vic Irwin and Time Honoured with one win from two starts in the hands of Hunter Valley trainer Ron Lambert, both went through. Rocky Laurie’s form indicated only one prior start for a sixth at the Gold Coast over 457 metres on May 4, while Time Honoured had won its maiden at Richmond over 535m on May 19 after being unplaced in the heats of the Multiquip Magic Maiden at Wenty on March 10. Both ran second although beaten a long way.
The time standard for the night was set in the very first event when Thai Alert easily defeated Make You Happy by 3 lengths in 29.82.
In heat 2 Lend Us Fifty trained by James Higgins ran the third fastest time 30.03 defeating Eluthra.
Cindeen Shelby won in 30.10 for Deen Parkinson by nearly 10 lengths from Graeme Bate’s Bora Bale, while Miss Swip won the next in 30.11 for owner/trainer Wayne Smith with Doreen Drynan qualifying her second dog for the semis when Ravenstoke ran second.
Varvatos from Orange stood tall, an emphatic winner over the Earl Anderson trained multiple Wenty winner Merleen in 30.12.
The first interstate winner was Graeme Bate’s 29.80 Meadows winner Keeko Bale which ran 30.07 to defeat Richard Dean’s 30.02 Wenty winner (and litter brother to Thai Alert) Radio Star by four lengths.
Neal Falls trained the winners of the next two heats, when Genista Reign won in 30.47 and his promising litter brother Genista Thunder won in 30.29 from Hanify’s Impact. Cool Flight had only one to beat in its contest and it did that with great authority defeating the well performed Victorian Rowdy by an ever increasing margin of 12 lengths in 30.08.
Richard Dean qualified his third dog when Hendrix won heat 10 in 30.28. Sub 30 Wenty winner Good Odds Judy did not run anything like that in its heat but it’s in the semis after a 30.49 victory; and it did beat a smart one in Paul Felgate’s Iron Steed.
Paul Felgate qualified his third for the semis when Rough Robbie won in 30.42. Rough Robbie is the youngest dog to contest the series (whelped December 2006).
Heat 13 saw an impressive win by Victorian Cee Four which ran 29.98 (second fastest) defeating the maiden Rocky Laurie by over 6 lengths.
Heat 14 gave Graeme Bate his third semi finalist when Beware ran 30.25 to run down the flying Elite Oriental which led clearly, running slick splits of 5.33 and 13.82.
The lucky last brought big smiles to the faces of Beverley and Michael Abbott when Wonderous won in 30.14 defeating Time Honoured.
Automatic entry into the semis is afforded to the winners of the South Coast (Bulli) and Maitland Peter Mosman Series Finals of this race with Korvette trained by Jason Magri impressively winning the South Coast race while Lochinvar Polo trained by Robert Smith was equally impressive in winning the Maitland final.
Hallucinate’s progeny account for 10 of the semi finalists. Collision is next with 4.
The semi finals bring together a top class line up of promising young dogs, with 5 each from Victoria and Queensland up against 22 NSW contestants. Irrespective of the outcomes of the semi finals the exceptional depth of quality of the fields promises to deliver an outstanding final on June 7.
The Directors and staff of the GBOTA wish all those contesting the semis good luck and thank all owners and trainers who supported this series through the heats.