It has been a good season for Mid-Canterbury greyhound trainer Malcolm Grant, and Ascot Park has treated him well in 2007-08.
The final Southland Greyhound Racing Club meeting of the current term gets under way at 12.06pm today and Grant, along with his wife Lisa, should make another telling raid.
The kennel will be represented by 12 dogs in nine of the 10 races and has strong representation in the feature, the SGRC End of Season Sprint for class five sprinters over 390 metres.
The Grants will rug up Saigon Lord and Smash Palace in the $3000 contest. Both boast strong records on the horseshoe track and, while Saigon Lord has recorded the faster sprint times, it is Smash Palace that has been creating the headlines.
The black son of Australian sire Collide upset a heat of the group two New Zealand St Leger at Addington recently holding out the impressive Winsome Junior and Winsome Ashley.
Although he finished last in the star-studded final, Smash Palace is in the right shape to shake today’s field. He has never finished out of the money in eight starts at Ascot Park, winning five. Twice he has raced over the 390m trip winning on both occasions but this will be his biggest test in a race of less than 400m.
Saigon Lord has won four of his seven attempts at the course and distance and finished second twice.
“I think Saigon Lord might be the better chance just the way the field is drawn with him in box three. He’s an efficient sprinter,” Grant said.
“Smash Palace does go very well down there but he might be hard pressed to get a run from box six.” One of the biggest threats to Grant’s pair is Duwanna Hand while local hopes rest with Awesome Deejay for Paul and Brett Conner.
Despite strength in numbers Grant isn’t expecting a bag of five winners which he achieved on the track back in May.
“It’s one of those meetings where we’ve got a few chances but then we could just as easily not get a winner,” he said.
“Magnificent should be hard to beat off box eight in race one and World Warning I like drawn the rail in race four,” Grant said.
Another of the team worth looking at for odds is Riviera Chic in race six.
“I’ve been backing her and she’s been a `gunna’ but she’s a hope in that field,” Grant said.
Whatever happens this afternoon Grant will be looking forward to the new season’s dates at Ascot Park with enthusiasm.
Courtesy : Mark Rowsanowski, The Southland Times