WITH the festive season just around the corner, four heats of the Group 3 Christmas Gift (520 metres) will be run and won at Wentworth Park on Saturday night featuring some of the best sprinters from New South Wales.
The first two from each heat will qualify for the $25,000-to-the-winner final, which will be decided on Saturday December 12, 2015.
Australian Racing Greyhound has extensively previewed each heat below, with comments and selections by our expert form analyst, Brad Bugeja.
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Christmas Gift Heat One – 8:27pm AEDT
Open race to kick off the night but if Knight Sprite ($2.50 with William Hill) can do everything right at box rise, he should get every chance to lead throughout. He is armed with dazzling early speed and has won six of 23 over this track and trip. There are some good ones drawn in the one and two but the three should carve them up early, so Knight Sprite should be afforded all the breaks in the run to the first turn.
Are Jip ($3.60) is a beast when on song and if he can avoid being crowded early, he will take a power of beating. He likes to move wide through the corners, so it’s important for him to not have any runners on his outside as they enter the corner.
My Boy Snoop ($5.50) has a great record here and he has recorded two top placings here in recent weeks. Like the red he prefers to race from a wider draw and he will need some luck but if he gets it he will be right there at the end.
Pedro Cerrano ($14) rounds out the chances, he can ping the lids and he should go with Knight Sprite for most of the journey, the last 40m or so is the only query with him.
Top Four: 4 – 1 – 2 – 5
Christmas Gift Heat Two – 8:48pm AEDT
Bessy Boo ($3.50) just keeps on racing well and with an ounce of luck he should be able to make another final. Last time out he ventured to Albion Park and after finding some bother early, he was able to power to the line and record an impressive placing. There is a fair bit of early speed underneath, so that should allow him to find the fence easily and with a clear passage mid race he should prove too strong.
Uno Suzie ($3.80) has a good record over this track and trip and although well beaten, she was far from disgraced when placed behind Zambora Brockie last week. If she can step well she should have the speed to get across and settle in the top two or three early. She is quite strong and a top three finish is on the cards.
Jack Kade ($7.50) is better than his recent runs suggest and he looks the leader, if he can find the top he should reel off impressive sectionals and he will take some catching at odds.
Privacy ($2.70) is racing in good form and he will be well fancied, the small concern is that he may get shuffled back in the initial stages.
Top Four: 5 – 6 – 3 – 2
Christmas Gift Heat Three – 9:30pm AEDT
Let It Develop ($3.20 with Bet365) is ideally drawn out wide and he is coming off a track record performance when winning the Goulburn Cup Final. In that race he overcame a slow start and went into overdrive mid race. The pink draw is a big advantage for him and if he can step cleanly he should be able to burn across and find the top. He will be running around the 29.70 mark on the lure and that should be enough to score.
Black Bear Lee ($3.00) was placed behind Let It Develop in the Goulbourn Cup Final and they should match motors again. He has won nine of 14 here and he is suited to the rails draw, the only worry is that the red might punch through early and hold him up a little.
La Grand Logie ($10) is a reliable beginner and he races well here, his last 50m isn’t great but he should be in contention for most of the journey and he has strong place claims.
Goldengrove Lad ($6) rounds out the chances, he is a little hit or miss early but when he does hit he is capable of doing special things.
Chica Destacada ($7.50) has been a great chaser for a long time, however she does appear to be off her game at present.
Top Four: 8 – 2 – 3 – 6
Christmas Gift Heat Four – 9:50pm AEDT
Zambora Brockie ($2.05) is an absolute beast and he has scored two breathtaking wins here in recent weeks. Last week he showed a great turn of foot soon after box rise before stopping the clock in an eye popping 29.56 overall. There is a small concern that the seven may give him some grief early but if he can balance up in the top three, he should make his presence felt.
Brad Hill Billy ($4.00) loves this track and he does own a scorching 29.37 PB, his lack of early speed is always a concern but the rails draw will help and if the gaps open mid race, he should be there to pounce.
Kihael Kaluna ($3.90 with William Hill) had no luck in a heat of the Ballarat Cup last time but he returns to a track where he has won four of seven and he has put the time on the board. If he can hold out Zambora Brockie early, he will prove hard to reel in.
Leeroy Roller ($8.00) rounds out the chances, he has scored some breathtaking wins at Albion Park and Dapto recently and if he handles the track at his first look, he can be a major player.
Top Four: 6 – 4 – 2 – 7