Three of the four Group race winners from the 2009 Sky Channel Winter Carnival will join a barrage of top interstate talent this Thursday night at Albion Park for the heats of the Group One Garrards Winter Carnival Cup 520m.
Group One Cartwright Property Group Gold Cup (710m) winner Queen Lauryn, Group Two Brandons Queensland Derby winner High Earner and last week’s Group Two Imagetec Gold Coast Cup winner Velocette will all be vying for a place in next week’s $74,000 final.
The Garrard’s Winter Carnival Cup is the closing night of Brisbane’s Winter Carnival which features five group races and a series of feature races held from June to July.
The opening night was the Group One Gold Cup night, won by Queen Lauryn, who will jump from box three in Heat One on Thursday night.
The ‘Queen of greyhound racing’ was originally sidelined until October due to coming ‘on season’, but has returned earlier than expected and drops from her new staying career back to the 520m sprint.
It is understood Queen Lauryn has been trialling very consistently, and is sure to start favourite in this heat.
However, the contenders in this race include last week’s Gold Coast Cup finalists Cosmic Rumble in box two, and Trew Millions in box six.
Another to make a return after a spell is Cole Sherwood’s Lucky Alive, which has shown strong form in the past including qualifying for last year’s Platinum Paws semi finals, and gaining a spot in the Winter Carnival Cup final last year.
Heat Two of the night will see last week’s Group Two winner Velocette take to the track from box seven, and is sure to be ranked a very short priced favourite after his run last week.
Velocette won in incredible fashion in the race, leading the whole way and running in a blistering time of 29.90.
The Australian Cup and Horsham Cup winner won his heat for the Gold Coast Cup from the same box and is consistently running strong first sectionals in Brisbane.
However, he will need to jump right on target with Jason Thompson’s Hanify’s Impact in box one, and consistent Albion park bitch Grampian in box five.
Grampian has shown impressive ability in Brisbane and has run consistent first sectionals around 5.77 seconds. Jumping from box five, it should be a tough contest for the first turn between them.
Group One-winner Fedex will take on contender Dashing Corsair and Kelvyn Greenough’s top performer Cindeen Shelby in Heat Three (Race Six) of the night.
In one of the toughest heats of the night, consistent Albion Park Best Eight winner Ryan’s A Rocket and 30-second breaker Azakhan will also be sure to put up a fight.
Also one to look out for is Tina Womann’s Matching Outcome who is more than capable of leading the entire race if he gets out quick.
Following this is another tough heat with Group Two Qld Derby winner, and Gold Coast Cup runner up, High Earner, jumping from box four in Heat Four.
High Earner missed the start last week and couldn’t regain lost ground from winner Velocette, and will be hoping to make ammense to gain a spot in the Final next week.
High Earner is yet to run anything less than the top three at Albion Park and will need to draw on all his experience to get to the lead.
Darren McDonald’s Vintage Octane in box two is sure to make this a difficult task, as well as Graeme Bate’s Turanza Bale in box one.
Vintage Octane will have his first look at the Brisbane track along with box six’s Foxhill Bella, who makes her way with Denice Warren from racing at Wentworth Park.
Gregory Brennan’s Millennium is also sure to contest for the lead, improving consistently in previous weeks including a blistering first sectional of 5.75 to win last week.
Heat Five of the night will see one of Jason Thompson’s stars Aston Trivett take on top Queensland trainer Tony Brett’s Bogie Bomber.
The Group One Maturity winner, Aston Trivett is sure to improve after an inexperienced run at Albion Park saw him finish sixth in the heats of the Queensland Derby.
Bogie Bomber, who will jump from box four, will be hoping to regain his form from last week blitzing his competition to win from box six in a very smart time of 29.98.
Others to keep an eye on in this race are Lots Of Moolah in box six and Whitfield Bale in box seven.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets:
Race 2 Number 1 Premier Chief
Race 4 Number 3 Queen Lauryn
Race 5 Number 7 Velocette
Race 6 Number 4 Cindeen Shelby
Race 10 Number 1 Hot Dessa