Leading into the semi-finals of the Golden Easter Egg, let’s look back at last week’s results and see what lessons can be learned and where tidbits of information can be taken out. There were, after all, 80 of Australia’s leading greyhounds on the one card, and as always the winners weren’t as predictable as many believed. So here are some of the more interesting observations that might prove handy to remember before attacking Saturday’s form guide;
Jagger Swagger is the real deal – Many would claim that Jagger Swagger was already a star of the track before his heat last week, but I personally had a couple of doubts whether the impressive from out of the age-restricted races would carry across to the Open Class. After his unsuccessful runs in Melbourne late last year, and starting from box eight, it seemed reasonable to take on the favourite in heat six, but boy, he charged past the field after a moderate beginning and made the opposition look second-rate. Hot Irish, a bitch that many would know was written about during the lead-up, was simply unable to get anywhere near the Mark Azzopardi trained chaser, and those two pummelled the rest of the field. Regardless of how he goes from box two Saturday night, Jagger Swagger be winning plenty of races in the month to come.
Victorians now know the name Princess Black – There would have been many people in Victoria tuning into heat two of the Egg to see the fortunes of popular Warragul Cup winner, Nitro Cee. However what was witnessed instead was a devastating win by the lightly raced Princess Black. With a perfect demonstration of how to overcome a middle draw, Princess Black ran dead straight from box six and cleared the field easily out in front. From there it was over, and multiple city winner, Imry Bale, along with Nitro Cee were powerless to stop her. Princess Black comes up against the abovementioned Jagger Swagger in the semi-final – a clash to get many a mouths watering.
Sometimes Speedy should never, ever, leave the Mackay kennel – Former South Aussie Sometimes Speedy has always been a handy chaser, but now under the care of Jason Mackay, this daughter of Collision has become the pin-up girl of NSW racing. She has a Group win to her name, and could add the Golden Easter Egg to her CV if her current form continues. To think this is the same greyhound that ran third and fourth in juveniles and Grade six races at Angle Park in October last year. Without taking anything away from her S.A connections, her improvement since coming to the East coast must suggest that her future will no longer lie in the City of Churches.
Race times are to be taken with a pinch of salt – Without doubt, one of the more agitating things about modern day racing is this tendency for clubs to doctor their tracks up beyond belief for the big races. Personally, I think it undermines any impressive times set and takes away the excitement of seeing a lightning run. Last Saturday night was another case, where eight of the ten heats were sub-29.75, when we would be lucky to see a run that fast once a month throughout the year. It not only brings an element of indifference to the spectator, but also becomes deceptive when lining up form once the feature series concludes. Wentworth Park aren’t alone here either, and it would be unfair to single out this years’ Egg as having an over-prepared track. I can recall several meetings in other states where grade fives were pulling out free-for-all times on the night of a Cup meeting.
The Wheeler domination is easing – Remember a couple of years ago when the Wheeler dynasty filled seven of the eight Melbourne Cup final spots? Well it’s safe to say that the streak they were experiencing with their brigade has now eased, after they failed to claim a single heat of the Egg. Not for one second am I saying they have become unsuccessful, but the sheer dominance of the past 24 months has seemingly dissipated across the board.
Capable dogs from good draws should be respected – Time and time again dogs that are either out of form or facing a class rise come up and cause a boilover when drawn well. Nearly every greyhound punter I’ve ever come across recognises the tendency for inside runners to do well in big races, and yet sometimes they still go around at incredible value. Stetson Donna has always been the type of greyhound to be hit-or-miss, but drawn one in arguably the weakest heat of the night, she lands the prize and pays over $30 on some totes. A winner of over 12 metro races and $100K in career earnings, she certainly flew under the radar of many and never deserved to be those odds.
Early speed is worth its weight in gold – All night last Saturday, runners were unable to make up any more than two places throughout the run. Whether there were too many good dogs running ‘super’ times up front, or whether there was high amounts of interference is arguable, but either way, you had to be on the speed to give yourself a chance. This isn’t just an observation either, as official results tell us that not one heat winner came from any further back then second with a lap to go.
The Paws of Thunder was just confusing – Sometimes form lines from a Group 1 series just don’t stack up the next time around, and that was certainly the case from January’s Paws of Thunder series. With the exception of Cavendish Flyer and Ritza Ryder, all other finalists from the Paws final were engaged last Saturday and only Fully Advanced managed to repeat the dose. You would have done a lot of dough using the previous Group 1 on the track as your base.