This Thursday night sees the finals of the AGRA Queensland Nationals both for the stayers and sprinters at Albion Park. After two quality heats last week over both distances, the 8 finalists will take their place in the hope of qualifying as the Queensland representative for the National Final on August 24. The Group 1 finals are set for The Meadows, and whoever wins these finals will represent Queensland, with the state to get behind them in their quest for Group 1 glory and title of National Champion.
AGRA NATIONAL QLD DISTANCE FINAL – 710m @ 8.25pm
Box 1 – Rylee’s Reign (Bit Chili – Reneen Lass)
The Gregory Stella trained chaser could not have been more impressive in his heat win last Thursday night after jumping well from box 8. Drawn in box 1 this week he has the right draw to lead and win. Consistent racing over the 710m journey has the 3 year old 30 kilogram black dog firing – and his form justifies that. With 5 starts over the Albion Park trip and journey he has recorded two wins and one placing, never finishing worse than fourth. With his consistent box speed and ability to position himself nicely in his racings, he is the dog to beat this week as he looks to bring up his 17th overall and $50,000 in prizemoney.
Box 2 – Lucky Cha Cha (Made To Size – Cha Cha Shari)
The veteran performer was as honest as always last week as the petite bitch finished a close fourth behind Rylee’s Reign to qualify. The Noel Murdoch trainer chaser turned 4last Friday and although she has only won 4 races from her 75 career starts she has recorded 32 placing’s. She has a PB over the track and trip of 42.47 but will need to find about 6 lengths to really challenge here. With her career coming to a close, and against some of the quality engaged she looks only a small place chance to win here and claim the Queensland representative spot.
Box 3 – Ba Bling (Where’s Pedro – Sirocco Pearl)
The Gary Keep trained bitch qualifies for another Albion Park distance feature after an honest performance when 3rd behind Rylee’s Reign. Slow early, she can show enormous mid and end-of-race pace and throughout her 69 career starts has demonstrated her racing ability time and time again when coming through a field. With 17 career wins and 17 career placing’s this looks the right race for her and a win in this would be just reward for an outstanding career. With a fast PB of 42.07 set earlier this year, she is a strong winning chance with the right luck in running. A popular race performer in the hands of a competent mentor she will have strong support on Thursday.
Box 4 – Wag Tail (Velocette – Bicardi Cruiser)
The A-Team know their greyhounds better than most and with the popular Christina taking over the trainer ranks the kennel has continued its run with success. The well-bred chasers are starting to deliver on the track with some exceptional results already in 2013. Another of those results was the run of Wag Tail last week when second behind Duchess Dora. With the February 2011 bitch having her first try over the trip she looks a natural improver for the final despite the awkward draw. With 21 career starts resulting in 6 wins and 9 placing’s she does have above average ability and looks a greyhound to follow no matter what happens this week. The distance events look to suit here racing style and she looks another from the A-Team to keep an eye on.
Box 5 – Duchess Dora (Knocka Norris – Bomber Babe)
The 25-1 surprise packet certainly did that last week when leading throughout in heat 2 to win in a respectable 42.33. The Ray Burman trained chaser continued on the kennel good form and she looks to have found her right distance with a near best of night display. The January 2011 whelp is at home on the Creek circuit where she has started 37 times (41 overall) for 6 wins and 12 placing’s. The recent 710m racing will have her fit for the final and any dog that Burman puts a lead on is worth following. Strong chance if she can repeat last week’s performance.
Box 6 Lay Down Teddy (Go Wild Teddy – Restless Desire)
A fourth place heat finish was enough to qualify the Jason Kent trained bitch as she qualifies for the biggest race of her career. With 86 starts resulting in 13 wins and 24 placing’s she has chased the bunny enough to earn her place in a race of this calibre. A best time over the track and distance of 42.62 won’t be good enough to challenge these but she is consistent and a place chance. Will be long odds in the final.
Box 7 – Never Tell (El Galo – Georgia Anne)
The Anne Southee trained chaser draws box 7 for another feature final after a strong 3rd behind Duchess Dora. As mentioned last week in the heat preview he has been a wonderful competitor in his career winning from 300 – 700 m and running quick times over all distances. He has recorded fast wins at Ipswich and Albion Park and since stepping up in distance does have a 42.11 PB here. No luck last week saw him still finish close with less than 3 lengths between him and Duchess Dora at the finish. A popular greyhound with 52 starts for 16 wins and 15 placing’s he looks one of the favourites and will be well supported for the popular Beenleigh mentor.
Box 8 – Nothing Goes (Dashing Corsair – Razolin Bond)
Morayfield trainer Lester Kleinhans’ black bitch did what she continues to do with another strong placing over the 710 m journey last week when 2nd behind Rylee’s Reign. Remarkably it was her third straight attempt over the trip she has finished 2nd on each occasion, with the January 2011 black whelp handling the distance well. A daughter of Dashing Corsair – the only greyhound to have won both the final of the National Sprint and Distance, she has the right breeding and attributes to break through for 710m success. A one paced chaser she will look to position herself close to the front where she should remain come the finish. Strong each way chance.
Box 9 – Cakes And Pies (Big Daddy Cool – Ultra Swift)
The Ron Ball trained chaser has had a marvellous career and was unlucky last week when having her first try over the distance – fading late to finish 5th. She will be improved by the run and in the hands of the master trainer she will be a strong chance if lucky enough to gain a run in the final.
Box 10 – Madam’s Folly (Made To Size – Madam Sash)
The Bruce McNamara owned and trainer chaser is drawn the second reserve after a 5th last week behind Rylee’s Reign. The April 2010 bitch is an honest performer having started 57 times for 5 wins and 17 placing’s. With 3 starts over the journey she is yet to register a win and if she is lucky to gain a start looks only a minor place chance.
Selections – 7 – 4 – 1 – 8
AGRA NATIONALS QLD SPRINT FINAL – 520m @ 9.08pm
Box 1 – Aza Time – (Elite And Classy – Where Are You)
The Peter Ruetschi trained chaser was exceptional last week when qualifying in best of night 29.93 after leading from go to whoa. The Elite And Classy – Where Are You mating (s) have produced some outstanding chasers from both litters and he looks to be finding his best at the right time. Brilliant early and strong at the finish it was remarkable that he started at 15-1 after winning the week before in fast time. A young dog reaching the right stage of his career to win an event like this. A career that has 26 starts resulting in 7 wins and 7 placing’s. With the ideal draw and in strong hands he looks a big chance of upsetting super dog Glen Gallon and will be well fancied.
Box 2 – Innisplain Jet (Where’s Pedro – Something Wild)
The Darren Russell trained chaser Innisplain Jet continued with his recent good form after qualifying for the final with a strong fourth behind Aza Time, losing on the line by an even five lengths. He has been in good form of late although he appears to have lost about 6-8 lengths from his best especially at box rise where he finds himself back in the field. He does have a wonderful career record and great race sense and with luck in the final he can’t be discounted. With 36 career starts resulting in 12 wins and 9 placing’s he has shown that he deserves his place amongst the Queensland top brigade. Drawn favourable again connections will hope he can improve his box manners and in doing so will be a strong each way chance.
Box 3 – Top Story (Knocka Norris – Bomber Babe)
The Sandra Hunt trained track specialist and popular greyhound Top Story qualifies for another well-deserved Albion Park feature after finish second behind Aza Time in his heat last week. After beginning slower than normal he showed his true ability by working hard through the field and was still chasing hard come the finish to just miss out. The year 2013 started with injury but since his return he has been wonderful, qualifying for multiple group finals including the Group 1 Winter Cup and Group 2 Queensland Derby. Consistent as always he has outstanding form overall that has resulted in 28 starts for 14 wins and 10 placing’s. Another greyhound that puts in every week, he will be a deserving winner and will represent Queensland with aplomb if he can cross the line first. Winning chance.
Box 4 – Bellagio Lad (Big Daddy Cool – Ultra Swift)
It’s another remarkably training performance from leading Queensland mentor Ron Ball as grand campaigner and Group 2 derby winner Bellagio Lad draws box 4 for the final. With his litter sister a reserve for the Distance Race, it is another display of Ball’s training ability. A slow beginning who gets back in his races, he showed that although rising 4 he still has exceptional ability as he navigated the field in his heat to finish a strong 2nd behind the mighty Glen Gallon. Overall his records stands at 65 starts for 14 wins and 23 placing’s for over $100,000 in prizemoney. In outstanding form and in the hands of the master – a strong each way chance.
Box 5 – Honey Bouquet (Bit Chili – Honey Mist)
Another successful indication of how a repeat mating can work, Honey Bouquet draws the yellow rug for Beachmere trainer John Conlon. The daughter of super producer Honey Mist has been in wonderful form in 2013, qualifying for a number of feature races with the assistance of her brilliant box speed. Bred to go further she is a sub 30 second winner over this track and trip in September 2012. A tough draw she will need to begin at her best to win here, but if she can lead she may prove hard to catch. Each way chance.
Box 6 – Shabeky (Fear Zafonic – Surf Queen)
Although only finishing 4th in his heat last week, it was a brilliant performance from the up and coming sprinter Shabeky. After finding trouble at every turn he stuck on well against the older and more seasoned campaigners and highlighted his potential as a future star. By imported sire Fear Zafonic, he hails from a strong litter who are starting to make their marks throughout Australia. With just 6 starts to his name he has run sub 30 seconds here in some of his 4 career wins. Tom Tzouvelis has put the polish on some wonderful dogs over the years and Shabeky looks another of those chasers to be going places. Terribly drawn he does have great box speed and is in good hands. Winning chance.
Box 7 – Rose Of Galo (El Galo – Noir Rose)
Mount Tarampa trainer Albert Kennewell continues the great run with the February 2012 whelp Rose Of Galo. A brilliant beginner she lead last week before finding the others too good when third behind Glen Gallon. Overall her career stands at 19 starts for 8 wins and 5 placing’s for $12,000 in prizemoney, including winning 4 of her last 5 starts. With a less favourable draw this week the 26 kilogram brindle chaser will start from box 7. Quick early she looks the likely leader but with the champ on her outside appears a strong place chance only.
Box 8 Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent)
Queensland’s favourite greyhound Glen Gallon headlines another feature Albion Park event as he looks to qualify for Group final number 15. The Tony Brett trained champion has been a group racing specialist and industry favourite since he first left the boxes. With 60 starts resulting in 35 wins and 12 placing’s – the three time Group 1 winner looks the dog to beat. Boxes don’t bother champions and he was brilliant when winning the Winter Cup 2 starts ago from a similar draw. This race doesn’t appear to be as strong and without bad luck the grand campaigner will be the headline act in Melbourne on August 24. Superstar greyhound who deserves to win.
Box 9 – Metz Magic – (Bombastic Shiraz – Witheren’s Girl)
Another strong runner from the Ron Ball kennel for leading owner Billy Crooks. A wonderful performer over many years the 4 and a half year old showed that he can still mix it with the best as evidenced by his recent best 8 win in June. Slow early he will need luck if he can gain a start in the final.
Box 10 – Rozelle Flash (Elite State – Joy Esme)
Darren Russell’s second finalist (reserve) has been in outstanding form of late and was unlucky not to qualify after finishing 5th behind Glen Gallon in heat 2 last week. A fast PB at the track of 30.06, shows the dog’s ability but he will need to better that if he is to win here.
Selections – 8 – 6 – 1 – 3
Thursday night will be a great night of racing at Albion Park as the hopes of trainers and connections go on the line in the battle to see who will qualify and represent Queensland in the National Finals. A great night of racing the bunny passes the boxes for the first race at 6.43pm.