President John Corrigan has been a part of the club since 1980 and rates the 2013 July Carnival as one of the best he has seen in regards to both quantity and quality.
“We have had more people stay on course this year than in the past 16 years”, Corrigan said, “We have 41 caravans on course that have come from as far as Geelong”.
“The quality of dogs we have this year is exceptional, we have strong fields so we are more than happy with it”.
RACE FIVE- Westlawn Finance Stayers Cup
The first of the feature events is race five, the Westlawn Finance Stayers Cup over the 610 metre trip. The best eight race offers $5,000 to winning connections and a free service to Outa Credit courtesy of David Thomme and the Outa Credit Syndicate.
The class runner of the field is Gary Peterson’s Starliner who will line up from the cherry at his track debut. The son of Pure Octane has won twenty-one races from forty- two starts and was a recent winner of the group three Big Dog Cup at Albion Park. Last start, the white and black powerhouse rocketed around Lismore clocking a fast 37.35 seconds. Based on his recent performances, Starliner clearly looks the one to beat.
“Starliner is a real good dog. It was a top win at Lismore last start and although he has never been here he has it working in his favour because he is a good beginner and a good railer”, Corrigan said.
The danger to the early favourite looks to be Bogie Dawn who is boxed out wide in the pink. The black bitch is another racing in good form, qualifying for the Big Dog Cup against Starliner whilst she has won eleven from thirty-six overall.
“I think Bogie Dawn is well boxed,” Corrigan said, “Zipping Mandy (box seven) will head to the rails and Junior Phantom and Bralyn Nicky do not have much early pace”.
Despite the challenge, Corrigan thinks Starliner is the good’s, even going so far to suggest that the current record (34.89 seconds) held by He Knows Uno may come under threat.
“He might go close to He Know Uno’s record. I didn’t think I would ever see a dog break 35 seconds before him (He Knows Uno) but this dog might go close to the 34.90 second mark as well”.
RACE SIX- Village Green Hotel Sprinters Cup Final
The next event to jump will be race six, the Village Green Sprinters Cup final which is worth $6,000 and a free service to Golden Easter Egg winner Don’t Knocka Him. Runners qualified last Wednesday for the event, with defending champ Scissor Queen the likely favourite from box one. The daughter of Knocka Norris and Surf Queen was a dominant victor in her heat last week, making every post a winner in a scintillating 22.71 seconds.
“Scissor Queen has a great shot. I think she is better boxed out towards the centre of the track but she loves Grafton- she has won ten from fifteen over the track and distance”.
Trained by Dave Irwin, the red fawn bitch has been a model of consistency on the track, with the Cup announced last week to be her final race start before retiring to the breeding barn. Irwin also has Bralyn County engaged in the same race. The grand old campaigner has won twenty-seven of his fifty-three starts and has a great shot from box seven where he has recorded seven wins from eight starts.
Corrigan was also impressed in the heats by One Inch Punch and Barb’s Kiwi respectively. Both dogs were having their first start at the track last week with One Inch Punch finding the line strongly, taking out his heat 23.00 seconds. Barb’s Kiwi was also a good run, finishing second behind Bralyn County after looking strange at his track debut.
RACE SEVEN- Clarence Valley Sheds Taylor Family Maiden Classic Final
The main event of the day is the Taylor Family Maiden Classic which is race seven on the card. The maiden classic has seen some of Australia’s best greyhounds take a crack at the heats and pass through the series including Brother Fox, Elite State, Don’t Knocka Him and Knocka Norris.
One of the fancied runners in the event was also the run of the week in her heat last Monday, being the Preston Rowles trained She’s Scandalous who put in a massive performance to win in 23.18 seconds after missing the start.
“I have been here for 33 years and that is one of the best runs I have ever seen by a maiden greyhound. It was something you had to see to believe”, Corrigan said.
Although it was a phenomenal run, She’s Scandalous will have it stacked against her drawing in box four in the final. Fastest qualifier Lady Jasmin (23.06 seconds) moves out to the pink for Francis Hancock, however she appears to have enough speed to find the front.
“I really liked the run of Lady Jasmin. She has good early speed and that should see her go close. She trialled here very fast before the series and went just outside the track record”.
“She’s Scandalous can win but box four is a problem unless she begins a lot better than last week”.
The maiden event offers $12,000 to the winner with a free service to promising stud dog Disintergrate and could realistically go to any of the eight runners, with all but one of them only having the one race start prior to tonight’s decider.
RACE EIGHT- AB Casey Memorial Final
Amongst the quality races tonight, another standout feature is the AB Casey Memorial Final. Offering a handy $1,500 to the winner, the event has also attracted some speedy youngsters despite being a restricted race of 0-1 wins.
The event is shaping up to be a tough affair to pick a winner with three of the heat winners breaking the 23 second barrier.
The fastest qualifier was the Brian Mckivat trained Clonakilty Man. The son of Vee Man Vane began brilliantly from box seven in his heat, leading all the way to score in a hot 22.84 seconds. The blue dog moves into box two for the final this week, and with a similar beginning he should be hard to beat after posting a fast early spilt of 8.44 seconds last start.
The other two runners to go below 23 seconds are drawn awkwardly in boxes six and seven respectively.
Preston Rowles has Zambora Gun wearing green, with the Magic Sprite pup a strong winner in a slick 22.89 seconds on Friday. Jumping with the field in his heat, the 36 kilogram heavy weight quickly mustered enough pace to take the lead, stretching out beautifully to claim his second race win at start number three.
He’s Imposing also looks to have a good chance in the final after overcoming a moderate getaway to win his heat in a nippy 22.89 seconds. The stunning fawn and white dog should get every chance in the race from box seven, and will only need to step away cleanly to be a threat.
In all it looks to be a fantastic night of racing at Grafton Greyhound Racing Club, with more than a few promising greyhounds sure to emerge from the carnival on their way to racetrack success.
The first race at Grafton will jump tonight at 7:05pm.