Eightchasersline up at Maitland on Thursday night to contest the final of the Group Two Maitland Cup over a distance of 450 metres. Paw Licking set the standard last week, breaking the track-record and becoming the fastest qualifier through to the final.
He will start as the obvious short priced favourite and is currently showing fixed odds of 1.45 at Sportsbet, with Natural Player and Rose Sannette sharing the second line of betting at 6.00.
Here is a close look at the form of each of the finalists.
Comments: Jason Mackay (Trainer) – “It’s common sense when a dog breaks a record and runs near-record or record sections that it will be real hard to beat. I sort of don’t worry too much about the opposition, I am more focused on him. I think he’ll be a good chance. He will go in with probably a little bit of improvement in him which he probably has to do to try and win the race.”
Comments: Mark Wilcox(Trainer) – “I think he will go all right if he is left alone early and he can get into a good position. He was caught wide a bit last week. After the run last week we had a few little issues with him. We’ve just kept him fresh this week. It’s all got to do with the start there Thursday. There’s a bit of speed around him. The eight looks the one to beat.”
Comments: Darren Russell (Trainer) – “I think he will go all right. I’m actually happy with the box draw. His last couple of runs at Maitland he has had the red box and cut right down on the fence and probably cost himself two to three lengths in the run to the first corner. Hopefully out there he will go straight. When he had the four there he went 25.12 and went straight as a die. He has pulled up enormous from last week.”
Comments: Mark Gatt (Trainer) – “Paw Licking will be really hard to beat. I’m just hoping he gets a clean run and flashes home and maybe we can run into the money somewhere. He has been hitting the line really good. He is just a consistent dog. We are just hoping he gets a clean run and maybe run a a place. You never know, there could be a bit of trouble and he could get up for the win. We would be wrapped if he could run a place.”
Comments: Kelvyn Greenough (Trainer) – “I never get over confident in any race. I know it’s a dog race and anything can go wrong but he’s certainly in there with a chance. The dog is fine, there’s no dramas at all.”
Comments: Went well last week. Has been beginning consistently of late. He will need to draw well if he is to factor in the business end.
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If Paw Licking (8) repeats the effort from last week, he will be winning. The main dangers appear to be the inside division consisting of Rose Sannette (1), Fire Elusive (2) and Natural Player (3). Rose Sannette rarely runs out of a place and she has a love affair with box one. Fire Elusive went very well last week and is open to improvement, while Natural Player has been kept fresh for this. He is a very fast dog and is a track-record holder in his own right (over 350 metres at Goulburn).
New Gleam (6) looks to be positioned well. The greyhounds on his immediate inside, Miner’s Moss (4) and Magic Diore (5), will both be looking for the fence and he has a slow beginner, Gradence (7), drawn on his outside. His trainer is hoping he runs straight into the turn and if he does, he is rated a good chance. Gradence (7) is a slow beginner but manages to work his way well through a field. He is another that is an each-way chance, especially if there is a bit of interference in front of him. Miner’s Moss and Magic Diore will need luck to feature from their respective draws.
The race jumps at 9:58pm. All eyes will be on Paw Licking to see if he can claim the Maitland Cup and shave a little more off the track-record in the process.