Group racing is the pinnacle of our sport and this Thursday night the attention of the industry will be on Albion Park for the final of the Group 1 Garrard’s Winter Carnival Cup. After heats last Thursday, the 5 heat winners and three fastest seconds have qualified for the final and the chance to pick up the $75,000 first prize. The feature event is race 8 on a full 10 card program with the bunny set to pass the boxes at 9.08pm.
Box 1 – Hello Good Bye (Bombastic Shiraz – Hello Sienna)
The Kel Greenough trained chaser could not have been more impressive in his heat win last week where he qualified in a best of night 29.73 performance. Drawing box 1 last week in his heat win, he jumped straight to the front and gave nothing else a chance. The talented greyhound has a real affinity to the Albion Park circuit, where his record stands at 3 starts for 3 impressive wins including the Group 2 Brandon’s Electrical Derby. With an overall career record of 23 starts for 11 wins and 5 placing’s, he looks a strong chance to add to his prizemoney tally of $83,000. This is the third Group 1 final of 2013 after he reached the finals of both the Perth Cup and Australian Cup. Ideally drawn in the cherry box he has the ultimate chance to register his first group 1 success. Winning chance.
Box 2 – Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale – Tayah Bale)
Australia’s best greyhound Xylia Allen (32s-15s-7s-3t) ran the best second ever seen last week when coming from a clear last to qualify as one of the fastest seconds. After a terrible start she was almost knocked over when Clan Eirann fell. Working her way through the strong field her run had to be seen to be believed. Much has been written about the Graeme Bate trained and Paul Wheeler owned greyhound and she looks set to add another group success to her imposing resume. With track records and lighting quick times throughout Australia she is ideally drawn in box 2 and should get a lovely trail behind Hello Good Bye. A greyhound that would run through a brick wall she gives 110% in every race. The 30 kilogram bitch is Australia’s best and with victory here will see her prizemoney swell to over $340,000. The one to beat.
Box 3 – Poetic Mover (Knocka Norris – Bomber Babe)
A solid heat win sees locally trained greyhound Poetic Mover draw box 3 for his first shot at Group 1 glory. The Ray Burman trained chaser is in career best form having recently contested heats of the Group 3 Big Dog Cup heats and the listed Mick Byrne memorial. Both of those events were held here at Albion Park and he certainly wasn’t disgraced. With 45 career starts for 9 wins and 9 placing’s, the January 2011 chaser is very honest. A greyhound that loves racing, the son of Knocka Norris may not be a household name but he does have track experience and a strong finishing ability. Place chance.
Box 4 – Bellagio Lad (Big Daddy Cool – Ultra Swift)
An Albion Park Group Final wouldn’t be the same without Ron Ball. The legendary Brisbane trainer boxes grand chaser Bellagio Lad in box 4 as he looks to add to his group success. The 2012 Queensland Derby winner cannot be discounted and this week will be start 50 (60 career starts) at the track and distance. Second in his heat last week behind Poetic Mover, he is a walker early but cannot be discounted. Ball has a known ability for having his greyhounds perform on the big stage and Bellagio Lad could be the knockout runner this week. A regular top grade performer he won’t be overawed by the big name finalists. Place chance
Box 5 – Coal King (Surf Lorian – Domaaf)
The Queenslander returned home in devastating fashion last week with an all the way win in 30.13. Jumping straight to the front it was home sweet home as he led throughout beating a quality field of greyhounds. The win was all the more impressive given that it was his first race since February 2013, and no doubt he will strip fitter this week for the final. Back in the kennel of owner trainer Cliff Durrant, he returns after a successful southern campaign with top trainer Jason Thompson. Under Thompson’s tuition he featured in two group race finals including the Group 1 Adelaide Cup and Group 2 Warragul Cup. With an overall race record of 37 starts for 15 wins and 11 placing’s he is a greyhound that has performed on the big stage. Although coming to the twilight of his career, and drawn awkwardly in box 5, he does have a fast sub 30 PB at Albion Park and is a strong each way chance.
Box 6 – Top Story (Knocka Norris – Bomber Babe)
Leading local trainer Sandra Hunt’s boxes Albion Park favourite Top Story in box 6. It has been a wonderful training performance from Hunt nursing Top Story back from injury. The 32 kilogram brindle chaser is back at his best, evident by the 4 wins from his past 6 starts. A game second last week behind Hello Good Bye, he faces the same draw as last week. A PB of 29.77 at the track, Top Story is a recent Group 2 Derby Finalist who be looking to turn the tables in this final. A greyhound capable of running well under the magical 30 second mark he is a strong each way chance with just a little luck.
Box 7 – Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent)
Queensland’s favourite greyhound and group racing specialist Glen Gallon draws the black rug for yet another group final. A brilliant heat winner he stopped the clock in 30.14 after leading all the way. The rising 4 year old has been one of Australia’s most popular chasers for Queensland mentor Tony Brett. With 58 starts resulting in 33 wins and 12 placing’s he has raced the best throughout his career that remarkably started over 2 years ago. With 4 wins from his last 5 starts his form is as good as ever, as birthday number 4 approaches. A big time greyhound who always performs on the big stage he is a winning chance for Brett and owners The Velocity Lodge Partnership.
Box 8 – Tomac Bale (Dyna Lachlan – Princess Bale)
Tomac Bale showed a glimpse of his ability in his 3 length heat win over local greyhound White Hornet. Having his first start here last week, he is a southern visitor escaping the Victorian cold. Racing in the strong Delbridge kennel the noted speedster has run super quick times in Melbourne as evident of his Group 2 Launching Pad success. A 29.20 PB at Sandown indicates that on his day he is as fast as any. With 9 career starts resulting in 6 wins he is another offspring of super dam Princess Bale. If he can salute here it will be the second group success for the litter in 6 days, after Quiz Bale’s success last Saturday night in the WA Oaks.
Box 9 – 1st Reserve – White Hornet (Cosmic Rumble – Skinny Magic)
A great heat run for second behind Tomac Bale for the up and coming sprinter from the Burman kennel. Burman has all his chasers flying and this result is another highlight of a great training performance. The young son of Cosmic Rumble – Skinny Magic has only had the 6 starts for 3 wins and 2 placing’s. A young dog with a bright future, he will be giving away lots of experience if he is lucky enough to gain a start here. Place only.
Box 10 – 2nd Reserve – Allen Makoto (Meticulous – Roxio Bale)
The son of Meticulous was having his first start on the track last week when a gallant second behind Queensland’s best sprinter Glen Gallon. Another Wheeler dog, Allen Makoto like Tomac Bale, races in the Delbridge kennel which is flying. A speedy beginner and noted front running greyhound, he will be a strong each way chance if he can sneak into the starting field. With fast wins at Cranbourne (30.09) and Sandown (29.58B) he is not to be discounted and is a winning chance.
Selections – 2 / 1 / 7 / 6
The group 1 final is sure to be a great race and the highlight of another great Queensland Winter Carnival. With the club expecting a good crowd, the place to be will be trackside as the greys hit the track in search of group 1 victory, the first prizemoney, and the honour that victory entails.