Trained at Devon Meadows by Sean and Mel Lithgow, Gotham Queen will go into the series on the back of a slick 30.36 win at Cranbourne on October 11 where she led all the way from box five on a rain affected track.
It was her first win on the race track since July, although she did take a break throughout August to try her luck at coursing, winning the Longwood Cup and the Waterloo Cup Consolation.
Since resuming she has been in great form, winning once and placing three times in five appearances back on the circle.
Lithgow said coursing has worked wonders, bringing her out of her shell and teaching her how to be a competitive race bitch.
“The coursing helped her confidence – especially being a girl she is a bit smaller and it really knocked her about finding trouble every week,” Lithgow told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Going back to one on one racing was great and it helped her fitness too. At first she never looked like running 500, but the coursing really strengthened her up and she is so much fitter and stronger now.
“It’s great to see her come back a mentally and physically tougher dog – and I think she is more competitive; she doesn’t want to lose.”
Gotham Queen is the winner of 10 races with eight placings from 28 starts, having run some handy times at Shepparton (22.13), Bendigo (24.05), Warrnambool (25.37) and Warragul (25.86) throughout her career.
Although she raced through a form slump before coursing in August, Lithgow is confident his kennel star is now back to her best and ready to put her best paws forward.
“There was a massive storm at Cranbourne and my feet were sinking into the track – so I was blown away to see her come out and run that time on that track last week,” he said.
“Prior to that she had been very consistent, but she hadn’t been beginning very well and she was getting bumped around in the first 50m which was making it hard for her to get to the front.
“She finally got the start right the other night and got a clear run, it was great to see her make the most of it.”
Gotham Queen will start from box eight in the seventh and final heat on Friday night, a suitable draw according to her trainer.
Although she is likely to be an outsider, Lithgow, who has been training for eight years, says he has a massive opinion of his black speedster, a litter sister to top stayer Billy’s Bake.
“We’ll be racing the best of the best this week, but when you’ve got a good one you have to have a go.
“Anything can happen in greyhound racing and if the luck goes her way she is a big chance – I have a very big opinion of her.
“If she was running on her own she’d be very hard to beat as she is a super fast dog. If she gets a clear run I give her a big chance in the heats.”