Racing returns to Newcastle’s greyhound track The Gardens tomorrow (Friday), after an upgrade to the circuit.
The improvements to the catching pen area has been completed, giving greyhounds a longer run-in at the completion of races, which allows runners more time to pull up after the event.
Work on the new 400 metre boxes is ongoing and both the Friday and Saturday meetings will use the track’s original 413 metre starting point.
Bad weather was against track builder Brian Barrington and his staff last week, but all work should be completed early next week and the NCA appreciates the participant’s patients in the construction a fairer and safer track.
After the week off for the renovations, The Gardens will be welcomed back by a sensational card of racing.
The highlight of the program will be the appearance in race seven, the Forsythes Stake, of the new 515 metre track record holder, Velocity Cloud in her first attempt over the middle distance course of 600 metres, for champion local trainer Jason MacKay.
At her last outing at The Gardens, Velocity Cloud surprised everyone but her trainer by running a breathtaking 29.23 for the 515 metre journey, eclipsing the former record set by Group One winner Knocka Norris by two one hundredths of a second.
Many keen greyhound racing students thought that it would be a long time before we saw Knocka Norris’ run bettered.
“When she found the front on the first turn, I was just watching the clock” said the exuberant MacKay after Velocity Cloud set the new time standard.
The regally bred daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Subjective Lee, looks well suited by the step up in distance and has won over this trip at Albion Park when trained in Queensland. The current 600 metre record at The Gardens held by Beauty State at 34.54, but it would not be a surprise if the exciting chaser added a second track record to her CV.
Velocity Cloud is owned by the Velocity Lodge Syndicate managed by Queensland businessman, Steve Williams, who divides his time between the sunshine state and his greyhound rearing property at Neath, near Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley.
The support card also boosts an array of talent in the heats of the Gardens Social Club Versatility Series over 413 metres. The top eight qualifiers will face off next week in the final over 515 metres.
The first run-off (race three) will see recent Country Challenge Final placegetter, Tadmore Buckshot, start favourite for Sydney trainer Simon Ma. Tadmore Buckshot has won 20 races in his 66 starts career, which includes a win over the 515 metres at The Gardens in a slick 29.91.
The next two heats should be dominated by track specialists. In the second heat (race five), outstanding galloper, Lochinvar Marlow will be all the rage after three successive victories, including his latest at Wentworth Park.
While in the third qualifier (race eight), Rachel Robbo, for inform Williamtown couple Eileen and Gary Robertson, is a winner of 10 races at The Gardens and will be gunning for her fourth straight victory.
In the final heat (race nine), most of the attention will surround promising sprinter Magic Copper for Waratah mentor Shane Richardson. Magic Copper has won five of his eight race track appearances and should jump as the punter’s elect.
To celebrate the return to racing at The Gardens, ‘Edens’ restaurant will be open, with great food at reasonable prices, right on top of the action. Bookings can be made on (02) 49515842.
You can get bet live on today’s bumper meeting at The Gardens at Sportsbet or Iasbet, with the first race of the early evening program scheduled to kick off at 4.02pm AEST