Queensland greyhound racing steps into the limelight on Thursday night with five heats of the Group Two Queensland Derby taking place at Albion Park over the 520 metre distance.
The ultimate winner of the final pockets a cheque of $40,000, which takes place on Thursday, May 1.
The Derby heats are comprised of the best male greyhounds nominated that are whelped on or after 1 October 2011. Last year’s Derby was taken out by Victorian Hello Good Bye.
Here’s a look at the heats;
Heat One – Group Two Queensland Derby (Race 2 at 6:57pm)
Late Angel Lee (3) equalled the 29.57 track-record at Albion Park back in February. The Late Late Show – Rocklynn’s Angel (Elite State – Oriental Angel) dog has won 13 from 42 and was a finalist in this year’s Group Three Big Dog Cup at Albion Park. He is a dog that likes to get back and storm home so he will need some luck in running. His last win was on 10 March and since then he has had six starts for five seconds.
Group One National Derby winner Zipping Brock (7) makes his first trip to the Albion Park circuit. He has won six from 12 and goes well from the outside. If he handles the track, he is in with a chance.
Peter’s Pick (2) is developing into a very handy chaser. The Thomas Noble trained dog by Made To Size – Tina’s Show (Late Late Show – Berella Batina) has won nine of his 12 career starts and has been unplaced just once. He has done most of his racing around Ipswich and Rockhampton but came to town last week for a nine length win in 29.98. He isn’t without a chance.
White Hornet (6) has 10 wins at the track over the 520 metre distance for a best of 30.07. His last win was a month ago and he started over 600 metres two runs back. He may find trouble from box six.
King Elliot (4) has eight wins from 13 starts and two wins at Albion Park. His best time is 30.34 and he will need to improve on that to be a chance.
Of the others, NSW chaser Murtaugh (1) and Mr Elegant (8) are having their first start over a distance of 520 metres. Mr Elegant has two wins at the track over the 395 metres. Both look tested against some of the more experienced chasers in the field. Royal Albert (5) made the final of the recent Ipswich Auction series, running fifth. He has one win at Albion Park in 30.60 and looks tested.
Heat Two – Group Two Queensland Derby (Race 3 at 7:17pm)
Darren McDonald has Where’s The Surf (7) drawn in this heat. Where’s The Surf contested the semi-finals of the Golden Easter Egg and ran third to Ritza Hattie in the Group Three Ambrosoli on Easter Egg final night at Wentworth Park. It will be his first look at the Albion Park circuit. He has the speed to lead and if he does, he will be hard to reign in.
Grand Roman (1) has six wins from 10 starts with all six wins coming at Albion Park over the Derby distance. His best is 29.92 and he has a perfect record from box one.
Bill’s Fantasy (4) has also broken the 30 second mark over the course of his five wins at Albion Park. He recorded his best of 29.93 in December. His recent form is patchy, finishing outside the placings in his last three starts. Give You Credit (3) also has a sub-30 personal best which he ran three starts back. He won at Ipswich last week and has won five from 18 overall.
A few eyes will be on the regally bred Clash Of Kings (6). He is by Fear Zafonic out of champion race bitch Queen Lauryn (Token Prince -Cheeky Sprite). He’s had just four careers starts for two wins and one placing. Both wins have come at Ipswich over the 520 metres and this is his first start at Albion Park.
The smokey in the race is Flash Reality (2). He hasn’t started since February and has been placed in the astute hands of Tony Brett. Marlene Ellis told ARG in December 2013 that he was a handy little chaser and we may now start to see the best of him.
Winged Elite (5) is out of form in its last four starts but has won five from 13 at the track. Washington Trick (8) has managed just one win at the track from five attempts.
Heat Three – Group Two Queensland Derby (Race 4 at 7:41pm)
Recent Wentworth Park winner Fusaichi Kahn (4) jumps from box four in the third heat. The Where’s Pedro – Daydream (Bit Chili – Stresa) dog is trained by Glenda Dart and is yet to miss a place over the 520 metres at Albion Park. He has had six starts there for three wins and three seconds and a cracking best of 29.88. He looks the one to beat.
Chant (6) recently contested the final of the Launching Pad at Sandown for trainer Tony Brett. He won a heat of the series in 30.01 and finished fifth in the final. He’s won four at Albion Park. He mixes his box manners but is capable of performing well.
Angvella (7) got to the front last week from box two to record a personal best 29.97 at the track and bringing up his fourth career win in the process. He moves to what looks like an unsuitable wide draw for this event.
You Say So (1) has been performing very consistently lately with two wins and four placings in his last six starts. He won last week in a best time of 30.09 and is drawn to do well.
Killer Lyon (5) is a NSW chaser that has had just four starts. He has fast wins at Richmond and The Gardens in a maiden and fifth grade event. This presents as his toughest test to date and he hasn’t been given any favours by the box draw.
The other runners; Wazz’s Fantasy (2), Thunder Of Speed (3) and Blue Den (8) will all need luck based on disclosed recent form and form at the track.
Heat Four – Group Two Queensland Derby (Race 5 at 8:05pm)
Battistuzzi (6) will be looking to return to the winner’s circle in the fourth heat after two unplaced runs in recent weeks. The Collision – Dulcinea (Primo Uno – Hannalore) dog is no stranger to group racing, having placed in the Group One Brisbane Cup and Group Two Lismore Cup and making the final of the Group Three Gold Coast Cup. He has a best of 29.77 and he looks the winner on paper.
Size Does Matter (3) for Reg Kay has a huge motor and is capable of running the hands off the clock. He has only been unplaced once in his nine start career. He isn’t the best beginner but is very strong and seems to find his way through a field. He has recorded 29.83 at the track coming from behind and a repeat of that will see him go well in this.
Group Two Ipswich Auction winner Are Ate (5) didn’t bring his winning form to Brisbane last week, fading to finish down the track. He couldn’t quite lead from box three and ended up 10 lengths seventh behind Angvella. He’s a talented dog but will need to do better then the 30.40 he has recorded at the track previously.
Trident (7) has won four from seven at the track and ran 30.21 winning last week from box three. That was his best time to date.
Tejay’s Grand (8) has had 40 starts for 17 wins and has won three at Albion Park with a best of 30.24. He has a good record from the outside.
Costa Kahn (1) is a brother to Fusaichi Kahn. He’s has just the two wins from nine starts but has run 30.15 at the track. The inside draw may provide some assistance.
Macgallen (2) and Late Show Angel (4) will struggle. Between them they have just four wins from 68 starts.
Heat Five – Group Two Queensland Derby (Race 6 at 8:25pm)
The class runner of the heats makes his appearance in the final heat. Group One Perth Cup winner Keybow (2) has drawn well in box two for trainer Darren McDonald. It’s his first go at the track, but he should be able to seal a win here as he is a huge talent.
I’m I Said (6) is one of the next best performed dogs in the race. He has had eight wins from 12 starts and three wins at Albion Park for a best of 30.18. He struck trouble last week behind You Say So from box one.
Trav’s Fantasy (1) has 11 wins from 41 starts and is in great current form, winning five of his last eight. He also has three wins from box one, which means the draw brings him into contention.
Outa Tempo (3), Farmer’s Gold (4) and Wally Who Calls (7) have all recorded wins at the track. Farmer’s Gold has the best time of the three, running 29.98 in December. He has recently returned from a three month spell and won last week in 30.52.
Shot To Bits (5) and Elvee Express (8) have no wins at the track. Shot To Bits is a Victorian chaser having his first look at the track. He’s had just the seven career starts for three wins. Elvee Express has had three goes at Albion Park for three placings.
The heat winners plus the three fastest seconds will proceed through to next week’s final.