Eyes at the St George-Illawarra Leagues Club will be glued to Sky Channel this Thursday night when Forty Twenty lines up in the Garrards Winter Chase Final.
The John Heard-trained dog, owned by a syndicate from the St George-Illawarra Club named the ‘Bennett and Partners Syndicate’, has drawn box one in this week’s final after dominating his heat in his first start on the track in a time of 41.89.
The $7,600 Garrard’s Winter Chase Final is a prelude to the upcoming Sky Channel Winter Chasing Carnival, which opens with the Group One Cartwright Property Group Gold Cup 710m heats next week.
If Forty Twenty can prove his talent this Thursday night, he is expected to be an entry in next week’s heats.
However, several other contenders are sure to prove competitive in the Winter Chase Final, including Neil Fall’s promising stayer Genista Reign.
Genista Reign has shown impressive form at The Creek in his three starts over 710m, boasting two wins and one second. His best time was 41.90 last month, and ran a quick 42.01 to win his heat ahead of Robert Giltinan’s Smart Choice.
Smart Choice will also be one to watch in this final, despite the wide box seven draw, having shown impressive form in January this year with a time of 41.97, and racing consistently against some of Queensland’s best.
An outside chance in this race will be Irish Fantasy, which boasts 24 starts over the distance at Albion Park, resulting in 19 top-three finishes.
Other top performers preparing for the Winter Carnival are also featured on Thursday’s Albion Park race card, including Australia’s Queen of greyhound racing, Queen Lauryn’s 710m debut in the fourth and fifth grade Cartwright Property Group 710m (Race Two).
The Tony Brett-trained Sapphire Crown-winner has shown impressive form over 600m at both Albion Park and Ipswich in recent weeks, and will step up in distance in hopes of a win before next week’s Gold Cup heats.
Mr Brett originally planned to prepare her for last week’s Sandown Cup, but she became ill and took a week of rest to recover.
The bookies are sure to have Queen Lauryn odds on, jumping from box two in a field of five, with a vacant box outside her.
Race Three of the night, the Novice A-Team 520m, will feature last week’s Eric Thomson Memorial Final winner, Gnarley Boy.
Trained by Mal Dawson, the promising young dog will jump from box three and is expected to rocket to the lead based on past sectionals, which average 5.78.
Other early speed in this race will come from the outside box, with Perfect Student sure to take on Gnarley Boy like he did in the final last week.
Best Eight racing on Thursday night will see Bogie Blue starting again from box one in the Greg Cooley Wines 520m (Race Seven), after winning from the same box last week in a time of 30.11.
It would be expected that the Ryan Ayre-trained greyhound will be able to replicate his first sectional of 5.75, but is sure to have tough competition from Reg Hazelgrove’s honest bitch, Whirly Storm.
Whirly Storm is expected to start fresh coming off the back of two starts on the straight at Capalaba and jumping from box two.
Others sure to be in the finish in this race are Black Monty from box five, Rockhampton Cup winner Grampian in box three, and Earth Quest from box eight.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets :
- Race 1 Number 1 Tawny Shiraz
- Race 3 Number 3 Gnarley Boy
- Race 7 Number 1 Bogie Blue
- Race 8 Number 1 Forty Twenty
- Race 10 Number 1 Millenium