Defending champion Queen Lauryn again showed herself to be one Australia's fastest greyhounds with a stunning win in her heat of the $72,500 Group 1 Macro Meats Crown Classic at Sandown Park tonight.
The last start winner of the Group 2 WA All Stars Sprint and controversial omission from the Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun, Queen Lauryn was sent to the boxes a $1.60 favourite and her army of supporters never had reason for concern.
‘The Queen' began well from box 3, leading through the first turn before showing stunning mid-race pace to put a gap on the rest of the field. All eyes turned to the clock as she raced away from her rivals before stopping the clock in a stunning 29.42 seconds.
Her 7.25 length win was the fourth fastest time ever run at the Lightwood Road circuit and was a stunning six-length improvement on her 2008 Crown Classic winning time.
“The empty box helped her (box 2 was vacant after Brislane's scratching) but she's sprinting as well as ever,” said trainer Tony Brett.
Queen Lauryn is likely to start favourite for next week's final as she aims to emulate Australian Greyhound Racing Association Hall of Famer Paua To Burn's feat of back-to-back Crown Classic wins (2004-2005), however the star Queenslander will have her work cut out for her after Cindeen Shelby drew box one for next Thursday night's final.
Cindeen Shelby ($1.50F), winner of two Group 1 finals in her last two starts, won her heat in 30.02.
After working hard to find the lead from box 6, Cindeen Shelby went on to win by 3.5 lengths and will now line up in her eighth Group race final.
The Kel Greenough trained speedster has finished no worse than second in each of her past 10 starts, and after drawing box 1 for the final, is well placed to add to her impressive CV.
Boozeroo will also be aiming for another Group 1 victory after winner the night's opening heat in 30.18.
The lightly raced daughter of Big Daddy Cool was having her first start at Sandown Park since July but soon showed the class that took her to victory in the Group 1 Hawkins Media Laurels Classic victory, finishing strongly to win her heat in 30.18.
A win in next Thursday night's final will also see Boozeroo's owner, Horsham publican Jeff Guy, claim a $10,000 bonus for completing Sandown's Classic double.
After causing an upset with outsider Aint Workin' ($21.90) in the opening leg of the quadrella, Lisa Delbridge qualified a second finalist when Flash Of Light ($1.80F) scored in a scintillating 29.76 in the night's final heat.
The underrated four-time Group race finalist boasts a slick 29.65 best time at Sandown Park and showed she wasn't far from her best with her impressive all-the-way win in 29.76, trouncing her rivals by 11 lengths.
Graeme Bate will have a presence in yet another Group race final, Bora Bale making her first feature race final at start number 94.
Arvo's Chill secured one of the remaining berths in the final for Tina Womann in her heat, while Jamie Ennis' Octare also made the Classic final as the fastest runner up.
The final of the $72,500 Group 1 Macro Meats Crown Classic will be run at Sandown Park on Thursday 5 November. The field the $20,000 winner-takes-all Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout will also be announced during the night with the boxdraw for the Shootout to be conducted on-course during the evening.