After vandals cut both the active and spare cables around the track just hours before the heats of the event were meant to take place last week, this week's heats were carried out in unseasonably cold conditions.
And adding salt to the greyhound club's wounds, the rescheduled heats went ahead without 29 of the 88 greyhounds scheduled to race, with more than one third of the field not available at the new time slots.
“Last week we had no heats and this week we had freezing cold conditions, I'm not sure what it is with this event,” he said.
“But we still had some very smart dogs getting around out there and they should make for a great finals field.”
Robertson said it was disappointing to see so many scratchings from last Thursday's box draw.
“A lot of people were very disappointed I think, because there are a few big maiden events coming up in Newcastle and around the place. Some people really wanted to use this one as a lead up to the others, but it's thrown it all out of whack,” he said.
Among those stand-outs on Thursday was the North Rothbury-trained Devine Ruler, who won its heat by almost three lengths in 23 seconds, and the St Mary's-trained Gobstopper, who won its heat by six-and-a-half lengths in 23.11 seconds.
Next Thursday will see the club host the semi-final round of eight races in the afternoon TAB meet, while the final is set down for the evening of Thursday, November 6, which will also be a TAB fixture.
Courtesy : Nick Hansen, The Maitland Mercury