Two of the most respected names in greyhound racing, Finn and Northfield, will dominate interest in today’s $20,000 to the winner Laurie Healion Memorial at The Gardens.
John and Minnie will line up the favourite and fastest qualifier, Winsome Gun, while Brad Northfield, from the a family steeped in greyhound racing tradition from the Northern Rivers of NSW, has the exciting sprinter, Bralyn Midge.
John Finn is regarded as one of the best trainers of all time, preparing two NSW Greyhounds of the Years, in Jessica Casey and Irinka Barbie as well as a host of outstanding chasers that have carried the ‘Winsome’ moniker, such as Multiple Group winner Winsome Dollars and her record breaking sons Winsome History and Winsome Lesson.
Their latest star, Winsome Gun has set the time standard in both the heats and semi-final rounds of the Healion Memorial, running a sizzling series best of 29.47 last Friday afternoon. The impeccably bred son of Bombastic Shiraz and Winsome Silver was going to be the punters elect whatever box he drew, but after coming up with the coveted rails ally his supporters will have take odds on.
The main rival to Winsome Gun looks to be the highly gifted Bralyn Midge. Owned, trained and bred by Brad Northfield of Casino, a son of Group One winning bitch, Bralyn Maisie and Melbourne Cup winner Hallucinate, Bralyn Midge has set The Gardens track alight with phenomenal early sections.
He has obviously inherited the brilliant early speed that his mother was famous for when she was a dominant force at Wentworth Park in 2007. Despite drawing box seven, Bralyn Midge looks the likely leader and could prove hard to run down. His litter brother, Bralyn County is also one of the most exciting chasers in training, undefeated after nine starts, including his last two at Wentworth Park.
On course bookmaker, Graham Walshaw also sees the Laurie Healion memorial as a race in two, rating Winsome Gun and Bralyn Midge the only runners under double figures. Walshaw’s market is:
- Winsome Gun – $1.80
- Vancouver Kiss – $15.00
- Chicago – $13.00
- Devine Nation – $10.00
- Bobby Clavering – $25.00
- Khe Sanh – $50.00
- Bralyn Midge – $2.80
- Make It Last – $9.00
Also on the card, Northern Echo red hot 22.46 time standard for the new Gardens 400 metre circuit will have its first big test when a quality field lines up from the recently installed starting boxes today in race five, The Peter Healion Appreciation Stake.
Track specialist and local favourite, Lochinvar Marlow from the outside box will be hoping to add his name to the record books after going agonisingly close on the final day the old starting point, running 23.48, the third fastest time ever for the 413 metre trip and only three one hundredths of a second outside Miss Elly Mint’s track record.
The son of Bombastic Shiraz and Sensation Lee has won his past four in a row and it would be fitting that last year’s winner of the Laurie Healion Memorial could win or even set a new track record on final night this year.
Standing in his way is the speedy Dunno form the inform Jason MacKay kennel on his immediate inside, Kelly’s Hero exiting box one would prefer it out wide, but you can’t deny his class, while Opal Cove from trap four used to love the old short course circuit.
The current record holder, Northern Echo is also engaged today and will start a very short favourite in race seven, the Vera Dolling Memorial. The Reg Gardoll trained speedster has won nine from 14, including last week’s record run in the heat, where he scored by 12 and three quarter lengths.
‘Edens’ restaurant will be open for the Laurie Healion Memorial meeting located right on top of the action with the best seats in the house, catering great food at reasonable prices. Bookings can be made on (02) 49515842.
You can bet live on tonight’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.