Rockhampton will host a full book of 12 greyhound races this Wednesday night, headlined by the Anniversary Cup final. ARG's Rocky greyhound expert has picked out his top selections for each race, as well as his best bet for the night.
Race 1: TAB Maiden (407m)
Our standard maiden event to start the night off, featuring a full field of eight starters with two debutants – Bay County (box 4) and Systems Down (box 8). Clinton Thompson trains Systems Down. She is a daughter of good sire Orson Allen, so is well bred – one to watch tonight. Warren Nicholls has loaded his greyhound trailer up again and is heading back to Rockhampton. He collected a lot of the Rocky prizemoney two weeks ago, where he won three races and a second placing from six starters. Tonight, Warren has Imploding (box 6) entered in this maiden race. Imploding had his first look at Rockhampton two weeks ago and got beaten in a photo finish by Shakey Country. He should improve off that experience and looks the early leader and winner tonight, even from this tricky draw. Goody Goody Yum (box 1) is better suited drawn out wider but looks the main danger here. She has run second in her last three starts at Rocky, so she is overdue to break through for her first win. Tarawi Opal (box 2) and Kremlin (box 3) both have some early speed but struggle to run the 407m out, so place chances only. Pressure (box 5) has drawn poorly tonight. He is not a quick beginner but runs home well, so can also fill a placing.
Race 2: Sky Racing Novice (407m)
Dallas Beckett produced Francis Geoffrey (box 8) in a maiden event on Sunday, March 20. This son of Superior Panama pinged the lids from box eight, ran a first split of 9.14 seconds and won by nearly 12 lengths clocking an impressive overall time of 23.99 seconds. A repeat of that excellent run wins this novice race. The Clinton Thompson-trained Zipping Fern (box 3) won on debut clocking 24.20 seconds but has been unplaced in her next two starts here. She has slow beginners drawn inside her tonight, so expect a better run. She looks the main danger to Francis Geoffrey. Big Time Becky (box 4) hasn't jumped well in her last two starts but gets her chance to regain her form and confidence tonight. Suited It (box 2) and Sunset Sienna (box 7) may collect third or fourth prizemoney – add them into the minor end of your trifectas and first fours.
Race 3: Garrard's Horse And Hound Novice (407m)
The Clinton Thompson-trained Zipping Raven (box 5) was luckless last Wednesday here from the same draw, finishing second behind Tokyo Flying. Tonight, she has a vacant box outside her, so should get clear running early. Expect her to be winning this race tonight. Mister Key (box 8) is an interesting runner from NSW. He won his maiden race at Dapto from box eight over 520m clocking a moderate 30.33 seconds on September 18. He hasn't started since October 22 last year but has shown early speed previously. He makes his debut start at Rockhampton tonight but can handle this wide draw. Kooky Loopy (box 2) has a good low draw and can fill a placing.
Race 4: Diplock's Collision Repair Centre M5 (407m)
This is our Masters 5th Grade tonight, and it looks a tricky race to assess. Farmor Crownies (box 2) drops back in grade but has early speed and should be able to hold a good early position. Must be a winning chance. Scandalise (box 1) finally won a novice race here at Rocky last start. He is currently in good form and wears the red rug tonight, so must be in the mix. Paul Burgess has Wildash Trapper (box 4) in this event. Unluckily, he keeps drawing box four, but he's yet to be unplaced in all two starts over this distance at Rocky. Burgess has scratched littermate Wildash Macie from box three. Won't Win Larson (box 5) has drawn poorly but always runs a good race here, making the places in his last five starts at this track and distance. He was a beaten odds-on favourite last Wednesday wearing the red rug but can never be left out of calculations.
Race 5: Rocky Feed And Seed 5th Grade (407m)
Future's Changed (box 6) pinged the lids at his first start at Rockhampton March 16, clocking a good time 24.06 seconds from box five. She also pinged the lids at Ipswich March 22, so expect her to lead this field early, even from this poor draw. Must be the greyhound to beat here. Velocity Cazau (box 3) comes off a good second last Wednesday behind Tokyo Chief from box seven. She is better suited tonight from her low draw. Little Rosa's Memory (box 8) weighs in at about 23.6kg but could get a good run across early following Future's Changed, so must be in the mix tonight. Tokyo Flying (box 7) was a good win here last Wednesday, beating Zipping Raven clocking 24.08 seconds from box two. May struggle to get across early from his wider draw tonight but must still be considered a good place chance.
Race 6: Newsxpress Richardson Road 4th/5th Grade (407m)
Tokyo Chief (box 6) ran a personal best time of 23.95 seconds here last Wednesday from box three. This Christine Pollard-trained greyhound has only ever raced at Rockhampton in all 11 career starts, so he knows the track and lure well now. Has a tricky draw tonight but did fight out a race with Pacific Bug from this same draw four starts ago. The Darren Taylor-trained Pacific Bug (box 4) can show early pace and may be able to cross greyhounds drawn inside her, so looks a danger here. Lines (box 1) will appreciate wearing the red rug and should get a good run from this draw. He is currently in good form, so must be in the mix. The Clinton Thompson-trained On The Bayou (box 2) has been missing the start lately and has been costly to punters. He hasn't won from seven attempts now over this track and distance but can win if he bounces back to form, so don't disregard him tonight.
Race 7: Dinky Di Web Design 4th/5th Grade (510m)
This is an interesting 4th/5th Grade race over the 510m. Fire Up Finn (box 3) is having his first start at Rockhampton for Warren Nicholls. His only two wins have been down the straight at Capalaba on the grass, so he may struggle here. Dixie Gambles (box 1) contested a heat of the Anniversary Cup last Wednesday but only finished fifth from box eight. She still clocked 30.35 seconds in running fifth, and that puts her in the winning mix tonight. Swift Twitch (box 7) can show early speed to offset this wide draw. She failed last Wednesday as an odds-on favourite from box one. She has the ability but will need to bounce back into form to be considered a winning chance. Blue Jeans Talk (box 8) looks the other winning chance in this race. He can handle wide draws and has been very competitive of late without winning. Foxy One (box 2) is the other Ken Boody-trained greyhound in this race. Well drawn tonight and if she gets some early luck, she can fight out the finish with her kennelmates.
Race 8: Anniversary Cup Final 4th/5th Grade (510m)
This is our Anniversary Cup final race. Two heats were contested last Wednesday, with Canary Wharf and Velocity Kayla the two winners. Any of the eight finalists can win given luck goes their way. Canary Wharf (box 4) is not well drawn in this final but won his heat last week clocking a very slick 30.03 seconds from box six. That was a personal best time, while his previous couple of starts were behind the Rocky champ Love You Peaches. Peta Boon has three runners in this final – great training effort! Velocity Kayla (box 2) was a surprise winner in her heat. That was her first win over the Rocky 520m, and in doing so, she smashed her personal best time by about 0.5 seconds – which equates to about seven lengths. A repeat of that effort would give her a winning chance. Boon hit the quinella in that heat with littermate Velocity Tamika, who has drawn box three in the final. That was her first run over the 520m for a while, so should be improved from that. Say Some Words (box 1) has won or placed second in all six starts over this track and distance. She drew the red rug in her heat and finished a close second to Canary Wharf. From the same draw tonight, she must be considered a winning chance. This is a good Cup final.
Race 9: Wendy Mulry Travel 5th Grade (407m)
The Clinton Thompson-trained Exit Plan (box 1) has drawn the red rug tonight. Last time he drew box one, he won by 6.5 lengths beating Tokyo Dreamer clocking a very fast 23.85 seconds on February 23. He has been competitive in higher-grade races lately from middle draws. Drops back to a 5th Grade race tonight and looks the greyhound to beat. The Peta Boon-trained Misunderstood (box 6) also drops back in grade tonight. He has drawn poorly but is a consistent, honest chaser that can be in the finish if he gets clear galloping room early in this race. Tokyo Dreamer (box 3) has a good low draw tonight. Has done all of his racing here at Rocky, resulting in three wins from 12 starts. The Darren Taylor-trained Paddy Hayze (box 7) would have preferred an inside draw but has managed to be placed from box seven previously. Must include him in trifectas and first fours.
Race 10: TAB 3rd/4th Grade (407m)
Only a field of seven runners assembled here, but it looks a good race on paper with numerous of winning chances. The Darren Taylor-trained Mia Magic (box 7) had her first start over the Rocky 407m on March 20. She finished second behind Red Card Bob on that occasion, beaten three lengths. She has early speed and should improve after her first run here. Red Card Bob (box 8) is currently in good form and might get a good cart across early outside Mia Magic. This consistent chaser must be a winning chance. Five Putt Cal (box 1) should appreciate wearing the red rug. From this draw, he should get a good run through early and be in the winning mix. Mexicali Jane (box 2) loves low draws and is currently in good form. She has finished in the first four placings in her last five starts here at Rocky, so cannot be disregarded. Beauty Edition (box 4) and Petite Olga (box 6) have both drawn poorly but can also win if they get clear galloping room early. This is a good, open race.
Race 11: Sky Racing 4th Grade (407m)
The Gary Weeding-trained Shian Ned (box 4) can cross the inside greyhounds early and should lead all the way. He looks one of the better bets on the program. We need to wait until race 11, but it should be worth the wait! He ran an excellent second behind Informality last Wednesday, clocking a very fast 23.76 seconds when beaten from box one. Hear Footsteps (box 6) may not be badly drawn tonight. With Shian Ned out of box four and a vacant box inside him, he may get a good run across. Hooper (box 1) finally broke through for a win last Wednesday from box four. He should appreciate wearing the red rug and should get a good run early in this race.
*Odds correct at time of publication
Race 12: Garrard's Horse And Hound P5 (407m)
This is a Pathway 5th Grade race for greyhounds that are currently out of form. Pathway races give these greyhounds a chance to win more prizemoney, gain some confidence and keep them racing – great inception for greyhound racing! Leading trainer Ken Boody has Go Again Bear (box 3) entered in this race. She needs to regain some confidence, so this could be her race. Blazing Brothers (box 2) should get a good run from this low draw and finish in the placings. Wenatchee (box 4) might be the other winning chance but has drawn poorly here. My Bro Beach (box 7) and Erratic George (box 8) look place chances only.