The NCA Paws Of Thunder Heats on Saturday night produced some class performances despite some fancied runners being scratched.
The list of scartching included track record holder Queen Lauryn, Korvette, Trew Millions, All Caution and Merleen. Despite this a night of exciting racing eventuated.
Reg Kay returned with Knocka Norris and was all smiles after his charge won its heat in the quickest time of 25.56 defeating Lorna Moira by ten and a half lengths.
Victorian champ El Galo trained by Jason Thompson left his mark with an eight lengths heat win in 29.60 over Jayden's Rocket.
Three other heats winners broke the 30 seconds – Cindeen Shelby, Repeated and Jack Dolly.
The Richard Dean trained Repeated set the standard in heat 1 defeating Spring Smile by nine lengths in a slick 29.84.
The second heat saw Surgeon trained in Victoria by Darren McDonald come from fifth early in a field of six showing smart racing sense at its first look at the track to defeat Phoenix Flash by half a length in 30.11.
Heat 3 saw another Victorian visitor salute when One Tree Hill trained by Robert Britton led to win in 31.13 defeating the ever consistent Thai Alert by a neck. The latter is one of trainer Richard Dean's four runners in the semis, with Hendrix and Radio Star also qualifying both with fifth placings.
The fourth heat was won by Newcastle trainer Ron Bell with Jack Dolly which led to win by four and three quarter lengths win over Iigloo Osti in 29.89. Ron bred the dog which is a litter brother to his other top performer Lorna Moira – they are by Token Prince from Princess Tasha.
Heat 5 was El Galo's and heat 6 Knocka Norris' which left the last heat – this heat saw the return to Wenty of Mantra Lad which won the National Distance Championship title at the track on August 30.
The flying Cindeen Shelby trained by Deen Parkinson (2-1 fav) ahead of Mantra Lad (4-1) showed its customary speed to lead with Mantra Lad quickly running into second spot. Mantra Lad challenged strongly but ran a little wide on the turn to fail by a head to overhaul Cindeen Shelby. The winning time was a slick 29.80 and while honours were to the winner, the runner up showed he is a mighty versatile performer.
Some exciting racing beckons for the semis with some exciting gallopers lining up and a top quality final field is assured for the 2008 NCA Paws Of Thunder.
We will have full previews of the NCA Paws Of Thunder Semi Finals plus the latest Pre Post Betting Market as they come to hand.