It was well and truly ladies day at Maitland yesterday afternoon, with astute female trainer Melinda Finn dominating the Brodie Wells Electrical Future Stars heats, notching up three winners and a track record in the process. No greyhound in the history of racing at Maitland had broken the 22-second barrier, until yesterday.
Winsome Jacko went into heat three well supported by punters at $1.80 and despite a slow exit from box eight, showed a brilliant turn of acceleration at the top of the turn to streak away by six and a quarter lengths in an astounding time of 21.98. The previous record of 22.11 had been held by Barry Evans’ Little Ed since March of 2012, who fittingly took out the GBOTA Sprint Series Final and was trackside to witness his record fall. Jason Mackay’s talented chaser Zipping Midge battled on gamely, however this truly gifted greyhound is undoubtedly racing’s newest sensation.
“He didn’t begin that well, but I was really glad he had box eight and got plenty of room to move,” said delighted trainer Melinda Finn.
“I expected him to go well because he’s been trialling very fast there, but probably didn’t expect him to break 22 seconds.”
The son of El Grand Senor and Ramblin’ Ruby will be joined by litter mates Winsome Mission and Winsome Blue, who were outstanding in their respective heats, clocking times of 22.20 and 22.51. Winsome Mission jumped from box six and emulated his brother’s turn of speed to round up the early leaders, clocking a flying run home of 6.55. Winsome Blue stepped out in the final heat from box one and took full advantage of an inside draw. Railing underneath his rivals, the 35kg heavyweight took the lead half way around the turn, saluting by three quarters of a length at the finish.
“The whole litter is very fast. Winsome Mission broke in the best and I was really happy with how he came out. When you breed them, break them in and train them, it gives you a real kick when they perform like this.”
Finn could be forgiven for planning well and truly ahead of next week’s final, with the Cranebrook trainer illustrating her desire to nurture her talented youngsters through the grades.
“They’re only 18 months old and I don’t want to rush them yet. I’ll just work them through the grades at different tracks, because there’s plenty of time for the big races.”
Londonderry trainer Christine Proctor also had a memorable afternoon at the Hunter Valley circuit, notching up two heat winners with litter brothers Lord Gee and Master Gee. Lord Gee stepped out in the opening heat from box three and after a moderate getaway, railed underneath the leaders to salute by one and three quarter lengths in 22.45. Master Gee started from box eight in heat six at skinny odds of $1.60, and rewarded punters enthusiasm, virtually leading all the way in a flying run of 22.38. The 34kg heavyweight by El Grand Senor out of Oh Em Gee is a definite star on the rise and will be well supported once again in next week’s final.
Lord Licrick for owner-trainer Robert Green came into this series after a very impressive 22.69 performance trial at Richmond and didn’t disappoint from box seven, clocking a smart time of 22.51. The son of Oak’s Road and Myron’s Angel saluted by three and a quarter lengths at the finish, with a solid run home time of 6.68.
The biggest upset of the day came in heat seven, when $17.30 outsider Airbourne Miss began well from box five and brushed off his rivals at the top of the turn, scoring by three and a quarter lengths in a smart time of 22.69. Owned and trained locally by Allan Mcgowan, this talented son of Knocka Norris and Dis Low Kate clocked a sizzling run home time of 6.59 and thoroughly deserves his place in next week’s final.
The box draw for next Thursday afternoon’s $8,000 to the winner final will be released on Monday.