The eruption of cheers in recent weeks at Albion Park hasn’t only been for the Group finals of the Winter Carnival.
Local stayer Seminole has had the punters on their feet in his last three starts bolting home to win consecutive fifth, fourth and third grade Thursday night 710m races.
Seminole is sure to have the crowd on her side again this week when she lines up for the Best Eight Presidents Cup in Brisbane, worth $5,000 to the winner.
The Michael Thrupp owned and trained bitch has had 135 starts, winning 16 of them, 10 over 710m.
The Big Daddy Cool – Call Collect bitch has become the sentimental favourite, pulling out her newfound winning form after barely placing in 15 starts at the same time as Mr Thrupp has become extremely ill from cancer. Local trainer Reg Hazelgrove has been handling Seminole with Mr Thrupp confined to home.
Jumping from a favourable box two, Seminole is likely to settle mid-field as usual, and will be looking to storm home in the final 100m.
But, it is going to be a tough challenge for her, with consistent improver Dashing Top Hat drawing box one and boasting a solid race resume of five starts over the distance for one win and two second placings.
Dashing Top Hat is also expected to be joined by Helen Keep’s Uno Play Boy from box six, who has shown good staying form recently, and boasts sharp first sectionals including last week’s 16.21.
Beating them both last week was Desmond Pollock’s Miss Amy Jade, who made her debut over the distance in a very honest 42.31 and is sure to improve on the run.
Another sure to be in the finish is Robert Giltinan’s Code, who has struggled to find form recently since stepping up in class, but seems to be more suited to this competition.
Robert Giltinan’s former staying champion Nicely Done will also line up in this race, but recent form suggests she will be an outside chance.
The President’s Cup night of racing is sure not to disappoint, with several top greyhounds taking to the track.
Stephen Rolph’s Group Three Big Dog Cup winner Santino Marella will line up in Race Four, the fourth and fifth grade Garrards 520m, a step down in distance from his usual 600m specialty.
Jumping from box six, Santino Marella won well last week at Albion Park over 600m, living up to the $1.60 confidence punters had pledged.
The 520m distance is not unfamiliar for the Surf Lorian – Cheeky Sprite dog, boasting a best time of 30.08, with nine starts at Albion Park for two wins and two placings.
However, an inside box draw for Azakhan (box two) will provide some competition for Santino Marella, showing strong form last month to run a blistering 29.94.
His last two starts have been more difficult from box six and five respectively, and this box draw should see the Alex Green-trained performer up there in the top three.
A hot Best Eight on the card is Race Seven, the Tina Woman 520m, named after last week’s Winter Carnival Cup winning trainer of Trew Millions.
Christine Robartson’s Elma Fud, who won soundly last week, will take on dual Group finalist Paddy Bell.
Elma Fud enjoyed the run of the race from box one last week, winning in 30.25 ahead of Millenium, who will start in this race from box one.
Jumping from box three this week, it is sure to be more difficult for Elma Fud, especially with Patricia Carrington’s rising star Paddy Bell coming across from box seven.
Paddy Bell has wowed fans in recent weeks making the final of the Group Two Imagetec Gold Coast Cup and the Group One Winter Carnival Cup.
While unsuccessful in the two elite finals, Paddy Bell has shown strong chasing ability including his heat win for the Winter Carnival Cup two weeks ago, where he ran a strong 30.18.
Another that is sure to come out firing at the start is Kay Size State from box eight, who has been entered into a series of freshen-ups over the 395m at Albion Park, and will return to the 520m distance where he has won six of 21.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets:
- Race 3 Number 1 Suna Surf
- Race 4 Number 6 Santino Marella
- Race 6 Number 1 Premier Chief
- Race 8 Number 2 Seminole