Palawa King continues staying dominance in Queensland Cup heats

Palawa King winning the opening heat of the 2023 1 Queensland Cup in impressive fashion.

The heats for the 2023 Group 1 Queensland Cup ran on Thursday night over the 710m at , and were highlighted by a John Catton locally trained chaser winning his first Group One heat, and Victorian greyhound trainer training two of the five heat winners; but pre-post favourite Palawa King was impressive again to qualify the quickest for the Group 1 final.

The 2023 Queensland Cup heats attracted 40 nominations, and after the five heats, the stage is now set for the final to be run on July 7 carrying $262,500 in prize money.

Palawa King will carry the hopes of NSW and greyhound betting punters nationwide on his shoulders after winning the first heat as the +100 favourite with greyhound bookmakers.

Palawa King has always been the pre-post betting favourite to win the Qld Cup, opening as short as +250 to win the final prior to box draw.

The Ray Smith trained dog was last away from the boxes, but never looked like losing, winning in the best time of the Group 1 Queensland Cup heats in 41.83.

Palawa King beat home Victorian trained dog Fast Milkman, by 7.5 lengths.

2023 Group 1 Queensland Cup Heat 1 – Palawa King (41.83) T: Ray Smith

The son of Feral Franky and Maximum Dos will now look to add a second Queensland group race win to his record, after taking out the 2023 Group 3 State Of Origin Distance series final at Albion Park earlier this month.

The Tim Britton-trained Fast Milkman will have to settle for a reserve slot in the final, after not being one of the three quickest second placed greyhounds.

In the second heat Respectability was the +280 starting favourite with betting sites.

Jumping cleanly from the one box, Respectability would race up with the leaders for the majority of the journey, only to be collared in the shadows of the post by 2023 Group 1 Super Stayers (Meadows) winner Ariarne Bale.

Like Palawa King, the Danny Gibbons trained Ariarne Bale (+500) was last away from the boxes before diving through along the rail late in the dying stages to steal the heat win in a run of 42.38 seconds.

Ariarne Bale finished 3.25 lengths ahead of Spot On Harper, who also finished hard late to edge out Respectability for second.

2023 Group 1 Queensland Cup Heat 2 – Ariarne Bale (42.38) T: Daniel Gibbons

Spot On Harper will have to be content with being second reserve for the $175,000 to the winner final, after being the slowest second placed dog.

In the third heat, 2023 Group 2 WA Oaks (Cannington, 520m) winner Rippin' Grace, started as the +170 race favourite in greyhound betting markets after being strongly supported by connections.

But it was the Jemma Daley trained Hara's River who led the field for most of the trip, until the race favourite in company with , came with a late rush in the last 20 metres.

On the line it would be Play Nice who got the photo finish, paying +170 on greyhound betting apps for Tim Britton.

Race favourite Rippin' Grace did just enough to beat Hara's River for second place and qualify for next week's rich final.

2023 Group 1 Queensland Cup Heat 3 – Play Nice (42.07) T: Tim Britton

Play Nice's win was the first leg of a Queensland Cup heats double for Victorian greyhound trainer Britton.

With 52 career starts, Play Nice has now won 12 times including a win in the recent 2023 Group 3 Dashing Corsair.

Britton would see another of his chasers winning in the fourth heat with heavily fancied Wheel And Go, winning as the +120 race favourite.

From box rise the son of and Erelda Bale showed why he had so much support kicking away to lead the entire way in 42.05, and win by 2.0 lengths ahead of and .

2023 Group 1 Queensland Cup Heat 4 – Wheel And Go (42.05) T: Tim Britton

The Ray Burman-trained Blue Hornet did enough to qualify for the final.

In the final Group 1 Queensland Cup heat, it was the -trained starting as odds-on favourite paying -117.65 with online bookmakers, but the Victorian dog found too much trouble in the run and finished unplaced.

At box-rise, Tim Britton's Dirt Farmer led, with staying debutante Locked On Scotch joining him in the lead, before taking command in the back straight the final time.

Despite having his first start over the 710m staying distance, Locked on Scotch would prove far too strong and take the final heat paying +900 with some betting agencies.

2023 Group 1 Queensland Cup Heat 5 – Locked On Scotch (41.88) T: John Catton

While the win outside of Queensland was seen as an upset, there was huge praise for popular local trainer John ‘JC' Catton, who guided Locked On Scotch to victory at his first black-type race, and at his staying debut.

The son of Hooked On Scotch and Neytiri Queen has won 11 races from 38 starts, earning connections $63,210 in prizemoney.

Dirt Farmer did enough to finish second and give Tim Britton three Queensland Cup finalists.

The Queensland Cup used to run at the now defunct Beenleigh greyhound track until 2003 over the testing 555 metres.

The Queensland Cup was transferred to Albion Park from 2004 and named the Beenleigh – Brisbane Queensland Cup.

Since Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club has had the rights to the race they have chopped and changed distances running it over 600m, then 520, before adopting the 710m staying test now on offer.

The race additionally encompasses the Albion Park Gold Cup history after adopting its current format and distance, and replacing it as the feature Albion Park distance race.

Next Friday night's $262,505 final will offer the winner $175,000 and a Group 1 title.

2023 Group 1 Queensland Cup Final

Odds correct at time of publication

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