Group racing continued at Queensland Headquarters last night with heats of the Group 3 Big Dog Cup over the 600m creek circuit. With finalists racing for a share of $25,000 in next weeks final, Racing Queensland would have been disappointed with the lack of nominations for this years event. Unfortunately for Greyhounds Queensland it continued the recent trend of short fields, and limited nominations for their feature racing events. Without taking anything away from the quality of greyhounds engaged, three heats was a poor result for this type of feature event.
Heat one had only the seven starters with the vacant five box splitting the runners down the middle. As always Graeme Bate supported another national event sending recent Wentworth Park group finalist and front running superstar Irma Bale north for the series. The brilliant Irma Bale (box 6) would start a short priced favourite ahead of ultra consistent locals Apache Kitten (box 3) and Master Brutus (box 1).
The punters were right on the money with Irma Bale (Bartrim Bale – Amelia Bale) proving too good in the run to the post, finishing too strongly for a gallant Honey Bouquet a length and a quarter away second with a further eight and three-quarter lengths to Withcott Wizard in third. It was another impressive win for Irma Bale who was having her first look over the 600m journey at Albion Park, stopping the clock in a classy 35.05. The multiple group winner and group finalist qualifies for another group final taking her prizemoney to in excess of $410,000 for the Bate/Wheeler combination. It was win number 33 from 80 starts with a further 28 placings for the brilliant October 2009 litter.
Heat One Splits — 10.06, 11.94, 13.04 – 35.05
Heat two was also made up of just the seven starters and all the rage was for the champion campaigner Metz Magic for legendary Queensland trainer Ron Ball. The second elect was the quality Sydney greyhound Amadeus Strikes back in the kennel of Tony Brett after being sent north by owner / trainer Steven White of NSW. Originally in the Brett kennel early in her career Amadeus Strike has been campaigning in NSW for most of her career where she has performed with distinction for Steven White.
Dwelling slightly at the Metz Magic was shuffled back to last before getting a beautiful run through to be in second place passing the winning post for the first time. The lamp lighter was Amadeus Strikes who had jumped beautifully from box 8 hitting the first mark in a solid 10.09. Down the back and into the straight Amadeus Strikes had skipped away before being too good in the run to the post for the Queensland Champ Metz Magic.
Amadeus Strikes (Bombastic Shiraz – Forgetful Lucy) was impressive for her debut race at the track and gives trainer Tony Brett another feature finalist at Albion Park. Amadeus Strike stopped the clock in a good 35.18 when winning by a length and a half over Metz Magic with a further eight and a half lengths to Euroa Katerina sneaking through for third.
Heat Two Splits — 10.09, 11.86, 13.23 – 35.18
The third and final heat consisted of a full field and the favourite was the track and distance specialist Starliner for owner / trainer Gary Petterson. Having had 15 starts over the journey for 10 wins and 5 placings, the striking white son of Pure Octane would start favourite narrowly over second elect Cakes And Pies. The Ron Ball trained Cakes And Pies was stepping up to the 600m journey for the first time and all eyes were on her to see if she could lead and see out the journey.
True to form, Cakes And Pies showed her brilliant box speed to lead clearly from Raging Isa with Starliner getting into third. Down the back and Starliner moved into second but was still giving Cakes And Pies a few lengths who was giving a great sight out in front. Coming into the straight for the final time and the quality showed as Starliner went whoosh, exploding away for a great win in 35.16. Bogie Dawn came home strongly for second three and a half lengths away with a further length to an impressive Cakes And Pies third. The 600m journey told in the end as she tired to the line but will improve with the run. Starliner (Pure Octane-Borgata) has been a wonderful performer over the 600m Albion Park circuit and greyhound fans will hope that he can register a deserved first group win in next weeks final.
Heat Three Splits – 10.05, 11.98, 13.13 — 35.16
The box draw for next weeks Group 3 final is: 1. Honey Bouquet, 2. Starliner, 3. Bogie Dawn, 4. Cakes And Pies, 5. Withcott Wizard, 6. Metz Magic, 7. Irma Bale, 8. Amadeus Strikes. Reserves 9. Raging Isa, 10. Euroa Katerina
Congratulations to trainers Ron Ball and Bob Giltinan who have both qualified two finalists for the group 3 feature.