The winter carnival continues at Albion Park this Thursday night with five heats of the Group 1 Garrard's Horse And Hound Winter Carnival Cup over the breakfast creek 520m circuit.
With the best greyhounds nominated all gaining a start in this feature event, local chasers will battle their interstate rivals in the hope of reaching the final and claiming the $75,000 first prize. While the quantity of greyhounds nominated appears down on years gone by, the event has attracted Australia best greyhound in the Graeme Bate trained Xylia Allen.
With the State of Origin having being played and won the night before, the focus will be on racing only as these 39 greyhounds do battle at Queensland's premier track.
Heat 1 – Race 4 – GARRARD'S WINTER CARNIVAL CUP 520 M @ 7.41pm
Group racing specialist and Queensland icon Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent) lines up for another feature series for popular trainer Tony Brett. The rising 4 year old is racing as well as ever having raced in free for all or group events since start number 8. With 3 wins from his past 4 starts including an unlucky 3rd last start behind Clone Your Own in the recent Group 2 Harrison Dawson final at Sandown Park, he looks beautifully placed. With well over $500,000 in prizemoney (57 – 32 – 9 – 3) it would be a fitting result if Queensland's favourite son can progress from box 3.
The interstate raiders appearing the most likely to challenge the favourite and progress to the final are led by recent Traralgon Cup placegetter Gold Town (Surf Lorian – Golden Gwen). The brilliant chaser is coming off career best form at Traralgon where it took the superstar Paw Licking to relegate him to a respectable third place finish in the Group 2 final. Already a multiple group finalist, Gold Town has won on a number of tracks throughout Australia, including fast wins at Meadows (29.62B), Cranbourne (30.25), Wentworth Park (29.49) Sandown (29.58) and Traralgon (29.40). The slow beginner has an excellent motor and great track awareness and with the ideal cherry draw will be fighting out the finish with any luck in running.
Wheeler dog Allen Makoto heads interstate for the first time for Balliang trainer Mark Delbridge. The son of Meticulous – Roxio Bale is coming off back to back wins in fast time at Sandown (29.58B) and Cranbourne (30.09). The Delbridge kennel is flying of late and with the Wheeler influence the 30 kilogram speedster will be well supported even though he appears awkwardly drawn in box 4. With the vacant box 5 beside, expect the noted front runner to come out on the bunny and be one of the leading chances.
Selections – 3 / 1 / 4 / 2
Heat 2 – Race 5 – GARRARD'S WINTER CARNIVAL CUP 520 M @ 8.05pm
Much has been written about the success of the Where's Pedro – Grey's Destiny litter for Lethbridge trainer Emilio Rinaldi. With the litter producing a number of outstanding chasers, the well-travelled General Distini journeys to Albion Park for the first time after drawing box 8 in heat two. Coming off outstanding form, including running second in the final of the Group 2 Traralgon Cup, the black chaser is a multiple group 1 finalist, including the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg (7th) and the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (4th). With success across Australia, the 35 kilogram chaser will look to add Queensland success to his imposing resume.
Although disappointing in the recent Group 2 Border Park Galaxy, Sandown Park speedster Tomac Bale (Dyna Lachlan – Princess Bale) stays north for the Wheeler / Delbridge combination. The red fawn chaser has only raced on 8 occasions resulting in 5 wins including two incredibly quick wins at Sandown in the heat and final of the Group 2 Launching Pad (29.20 heat B and 29.23 final B) earlier this year. The noted quick beginner has struggled in recent weeks with slow starts, but from the outstanding producer Princess Bale he cannot be discarded here, even after drawing poorly in box 4. Look for him to show his true ability if he can jump cleanly here.
Old stager Metz Magic (Bombastic Shiraz – Witheren's Girl) may be over 4 years old but the local hope is still making feature finals and racing in top form for leader trainer Ron Ball. The winner of close to $200,000 in prizemoney he is noted more of a 600m dog these days but cannot be discounted. Already in 2013 he has made two groups finals, being the 600m Group 3 Big Dog Cup final here (6th) as well as a second place finish in the 600m Group 1 Rookie Rebel at the Meadows. Slow early look for him to be powering home late from box 3.
Selections 8 / 4 / 3 / 1
Heat 3 – Race 6 – GARRARD'S WINTER CARNIVAL CUP 520 M @ 8.25pm
Australia's best greyhound Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale – Tayah Bale) continues on her remarkable journey around Australia targeting group events for Graeme Bate and owner Paul Wheeler. Much has been written about the 30 kilogram powerhouse but with close to $270,000 won in prizemoney (mostly this year alone) she looks well placed again to progress to another rich Group final. Normally slow early, she came out firing in her recent start, The Peter Mosman (Wentworth Park Group 1) giving nothing else a chance running best of night 29.47. Having been to Albion Park previously (Group 2 Futurity Heat and Final) for a heat win and an unlucky second in the final behind kennel mate Purcell Bale, she will be winning this and is the greyhound to beat. Put simply, if she has clean running she is unstoppable. Box 7.
Returned Queenslander Coal King (Surf Lorian – Domaaf) heads back to where his racing began for owner trainer Cliff Durrant of Tamborine. After campaigning south in Victoria with Jason Thompson, the nearly four year old is the greyhound most likely to challenge the favourite here. The Group 1 Adelaide Cup finalist (3rd) and recent Group 2 Warragul Cup finalist (3rd) has a PB here of 29.83 set in May 2012, and while tardy early has great track sense and ability to work through a field. A 29.88 maiden winner on debut, the recent lack of racing shouldn't discard his chances here having not raced since Feb 2013. Drawn nicely in box 2 look for the striped rug late.
Leading Queensland mentor Tony Brett engages Jetta's Girl (Surf Lorian – Kaycee Diva) in heat 3 for the Gargoyle's Racing Syndicate. The winner of 12 from 25, she is a regular Albion Park performer with a personal best of 30.00 (BON) set in September 2012. A solid best 8 dog, she has early pace and is capable of leading this field. Although not as good as the top echelon of sprinters, she is in capable hands and with any trouble behind her she can sneak a win in this heat from box 3. Each way chance here.
Selections – 7 / 2 / 3 / 8
Heat 4 – Race 7 – GARRARD'S WINTER CARNIVAL CUP 520 M @ 8.44pm
The second of the Bate / Wheeler chasers lines up in heat 4 and appears the greyhound to beat after drawing box 8. Desalle Bale (Go Wild Teddy – Princess Bale) makes her first Queensland appearance after impressive career form that has resulted in 52 starts for 23 wins and 13 placing's. Another offspring of outstanding producer Princess Bale, Desalle Bale is a known front runner and should have no trouble crossing these from the wide draw. Like others in the series she is coming off a Traralgon Cup campaign where she finished 7th in the Group 2 final after finding trouble. She had no luck in the group 1 Sapphire Crown where she fell and failed to finish. While never winning a group event she is an 8 time group finalist and a quality greyhound. With over $225,000 in prizemoney she has been a wonderful campaigner and will be suited here.
Queensland's biggest improver Frosty Jay Jay (Knocka Norris – Slick Hannah) appears the most likely challenger after drawing inside the favourite in box 7. The striking white dog is racing in career best form, winning 9 from 21 overall with a PB of 29.94 set in May 2013. A greyhound that makes his own luck he seems to be enjoying the regular racing and trainer Renald Attard has certainly got him flying. Although not the best beginner he will be given plenty of room behind the speedy favourite, and with his track sense and ability should be challenging should the favourite make any mistakes.
Fernvale trainer Lynne Ivanovic engages the black 35 kilogram chaser Leonard (Collision – River Seine) from box 5. The young greyhound is facing his biggest challenge here after good overall form. From limited career starts (15 – 5 – 3 – 1) he has performed well making the finals of the recent Ipswich Young Guns (4th) and the Group 3 Ipswich Auction (5th). Slow early, he makes his own luck in racing. With form at this track and distance, he has registered 3 wins and 2 seconds from just the 6 starts including a PB of 30.10. He can be hit and miss but is a greyhound with potential and if he is on song will be challenging come the finish.
Selections – 8 / 7 / 5 / 1
Heat 5 – Race 8 – GARRARD'S WINTER CARNIVAL CUP 520 M @ 9.08pm
Group 2 Queensland Brandon's Electrical Derby winner Hello Good Bye (Bombastic Shiraz – Hello Sienna) returns to the scene of his biggest win in the 5th and final heat. Drawn ideally in box 1 (the same he won the derby from), the Kel Greenough trained chaser looks the dog to beat. Although not tasting success since his derby win in April 2013, the black 33 kilogram chaser brings strong Melbourne form north. Already a finalists in two group 1 events in 2013 (Perth Cup and Australian Cup) the reputation of the Greenough kennel will ensure that he is primed for this. With 2 stars for 2 wins at the track expect Hello Good Bye to say bye bye to these.
Leading local trainer Sandra Hunt's chance in the group 1 event rests with Albion Park favourite Top Story (Knocka Norris – Bomber Babe). The brindle dog has been in wonderful form since returning from injury earlier this year as evidenced by his first up heat win in the Group 2 Queensland Derby where he finish 7th in the final behind Hello Good Bye. Top Story will look for revenge this Thursday in the rematch, and with recent form being 4 wins here from his last 5 starts, the brindle dog looks capable of upsetting the favourite. If he can replicate his 29.77 PB here he will be hard to beat from box 6.
The Bate / Wheeler greyhound domination continues in the final heat with strong chance Schroder Bale (Dyna Lachlan – Amity Bale). The Feb 2011 whelp races follows the trail of his more famous kennel mate Xylia Allen. While yet to taste group success the 33 kilogram dog has made 5 group finals of his own. With 27 starts resulting in 9 wins and 10 placing's, the black and white dog has raced only against Australia's best greyhounds and must be respected here. The noted front runner has had the benefit of a look at the track when 3rd behind Transcend Time here in a heat of the Group 2 Derby. A dog with enormous ability he will be well liked from Australia's best kennel as he jumps from box 8. Strong each way chance.
Selections – 1 / 6 / 8 / 7
The Brisbane Greyhound Club put on a wonderful night of racing for their feature events. With the 5 winners and 3 fastest seconds progressing to next weeks $75,000 to the winner final the place to be Thursday night is track side. The bunny passes the boxes the first time at 6.43pm.