Four competitive heats of the time-honoured Richmond Cannonball were conducted over the 400m distance last Saturday, with impressive performances from all four winners who broke the 23-second barrier.
$13.80 outsider Agree With Me caused an upset in heat one for trainer Peter Rodgers in a solid time of 22.86. The 26kg lightweight began beautifully from box two and held her position on the rails to gain an early advantage and salute by two lengths over $22 chance Fantastic Four.
Kanahooka trainer Robyn Goodwin was hopeful with Pebbles Knew chances in heat two, after dropping back from the 520m distance.
“She’s had a few problems lately and I’m just trying to build her back up to the 500m distance and thought if she could jump she would go ok in this race.”
The daughter of High Earner and Buckle Bunny began brilliantly from box four and was never headed in a flying time of 22.64. As expected, her best work was on display in the latter stages of the race, as she streaked away in the home straight, scoring by seven and a half lengths.
“She did surprise me a bit by how well she went, but I knew she would be strong at the finish since she has won at Dapto over the 520m in 29.83. I’m happy with box two in the final, I would have preferred out wide, but if she can jump again and avoid trouble, I think she will go well.”
Pebbles Knew recorded her eighth career victory on Saturday from eighteen starts and has a 22.72 personal best time over the 400m journey at Bulli, making her a very versatile short-course competitor.
The fastest qualifier was heat three winner Set and Match, who was outstanding from box three in a sizzling time of 22.51, leading all the way for trainer John Grief. The son of El Galo and Tudor Lass notched up his thirteenth win on Saturday and has drawn ideally on the rails in this week’s final.
The fourth and final heat went to pre-race favourite Wot Ya Wot for Jason Magri in a speedy time of 22.61. After an early battle with Dana Gwen, this speed machine who recorded 22.33 over the 400m at Bulli and 22.46 at Maitland, held off a fast-finishing Zac Marlow to claim victory by a length.
Saturday night’s $5,000 to the winner final provides short -course greyhounds with a fantastic opportunity to race for healthy prizemoney and etch their name on the coveted trophy, won by many talented greyhounds since the races’ inception over 34 years ago.
The boxes draw for the final to be run at 9.41PM EDST is:
1. Set And Match – John Grief
2. Pebbles Knew – Robyn Goodwin
3. Agree With Me – Peter Rodgers
4. Pearl Irene – Lorraine Roy
5. Zac Marlow – Anne Foley
6. Fantastic Four – Clay Mullens
7. Wot Ya Wot – Jason Magri
8. Joe Hanley – Ron Bell