This Thursday night Sandown Park hosts Australia’s premier age restricted race for bitches. The $50,000 to the winner Laurels Classic will garner plenty of attention over the next three weeks from greyhound racing enthusiasts, with some high quality bitches engaged. The one disappointing factor is the lack of support from over the border, with only the Mark Gatt trained Ritza Hattie and the Shannon Ellis trained Booming Bennett making the trip from interstate.
“There are a lot of good bitches going around in NSW that I thought would be making the trip, but I was surprised that they didn’t. Hopefully we can fly the flag for NSW. It has probably diluted the depth of the series and gives us some sort of chance. Dyna Willow and Infinite Wish are really classy, but they drop back from staying races. Something always pops up in these series and something will shock on the night and run flying time and grab the attention.” explained Mark Gatt, trainer of Ritza Hattie.
Heat One – 7.06pm
The first race on the program provides plenty of interest, with high quality stayer Infinite Wish dropping back in distance to take on the sprinters for trainer Angela Langton. It does appear as though the Britton’s will be extremely hard to beat, with the consistent Midnight Scandal drawing the coveted red box, and Cairnlea Ellie coming out of the pink.
Peta Bale (Tammy Collins) – “She is going to need plenty of luck and is one of our lesser chances. She tries her best though, so we are hopeful.”
Cairnlea Ellie (Robbie Britton) – “She’s got genuine early pace and it wouldn’t be surprising if she ran well, she must lead to win. I think she is my best chance in the series after winning at Geelong in very quick time.”
Midnight Scandal (Jeff Britton) – “She desperately wants the red and we think she is a genuine chance.”
Infinite Wish (Angela Langton) – “If she has a little luck around the first corner and is up near the lead she will be very hard to hold out.”
Heat Two – 7.23pm
The second heat of the night is a wide open affair and cases could be made for almost the entire field. Two of the runners in the race have drawn perfectly, with Wise Peejay in the red and Lektra Bianca in the pink. It will be an interesting race and one that could surprise the clock watchers.
Lektra Bianca (Tom Dailly) – “She will be perfectly suited out wide and her last few runs have been the best of her career, she is some chance.”
Wise Peejay (Jeff Britton) – “She grows a leg off the red and is a huge chance. The draw is perfect.”
Tarks Nemesis (Angela Langton) – “She is very strong and can run good times, she just needs luck early.”
Heat Three – 7.46pm
Anyone bring a dart board? This is one of those races where anything could happen and it wouldn’t surprise. If Flying Twist can position herself close to the lead, then she will be extremely tough to beat. Cosmic Wise is the logical danger from box four. The box isn’t as bad as it appears, with a vacant box in five and Flying Twist on her inside, she should get plenty of room the move. This heat’s prizemoney could be heading to Anakie.
Flying Twist (Tom Dailly) – “She isn’t a bad bitch and she won over 600 last week and is strong. Box three will suit her and she is racing well.”
Cosmic Wise (Jeff Britton) – “She’s a handy performer and will go ok. Wise Ella from that litter would have been a chance in the series, but she hurt herself.”
Oxley Delight (Robbie Britton) – “Been hanging out for an inside box and she nearly got over a few times and just got held out. She would have to run up to her best to figure in a tough race.”
Quell Bale (Tammy Collins) – “She loves the track at Sandown and is doing her best work there. Hopefully she can step and find the front early.”
Heat Four – 8.07pm
The fourth heat is a heat that could very easily produce the winner of the series, with multiple high quality bitches engaged. The Andrea Dailly trained Prue Bale jumps from the four and will be extremely hard to beat. She is very slick early and has the pace to offset the middle box, especially with a vacant box to her outside. The logical danger will come from the Crawford kennel, in the shape of Shall She Rock
Dyna Suzie (Tammy Collins) – “She needs to be left alone early to do her best; she will struggle with Prue Bale on her outside.”
Prue Bale (Tom Dailly) – “She is a good chance and has early pace, so she can offset the draw, especially with the vacant box on her outside.”
Heat Five – 8.29pm
Dyna Beth was a sensational performer during the Melbourne Cup series and she loves the 515m at Sandown. She has been set for this series and will be extremely tough to beat in a winnable heat. If Dyna Beth makes any mistakes, the obvious danger looks to be Lethal Three, who led all the way last start going a slick 29.74. If Dyna Beth jumps she should lead all the way.
Dyna Beth (Tom Dailly) – “She is a big chance of the back of her efforts in the Melbourne Cup series. She has been freshened up for this and we expect her to run well.”
Sienna’s Fantasy (Robbie Britton) – “She’s in a tough heat and on present form she might find the going a bit hard.”
Heat Six – 9.55pm
This will be a sensational heat to watch. All eyes will be on the Steve Collins trained distance star Dyna Willow. If she settles on the speed it will be really interesting to see what time she can run in her current form. Watta Good Dee and Maximum Lil are two bitches that could throw a spanner in the works with their early pace. I’m really looking forward to seeing this heat unfold.
Gemstar (Tom Dailly) – “She has some ability, but has to lead to win. She finds a lot of trouble if she doesn’t lead. If she can find the front then she is some sort of chance.”
Dyna Willow (Tammy Collins) – “She will need a clear run early, but if she gets that will be hitting the line hard.”
Watta Good Dee (Jeff Britton) – “Another that needs early luck. Dyna Willow is the class bitch, but our bitch has a bit of pace and goes all right.”
Maximum Lil (Jordan Cooper) – “She was a really good run last start. We would have preferred her drawn on the inside, but she can run a good race.”
Heat Seven – 10.14pm
This heat has the two interstate raiders engaged in what is widely considered to be one of the toughest heats on opening night. Ritza Hattie trialled the house down first look at the track, and with any room this could be a case of times and margins. Liara Allen has a lot of ability and could be the one bitch that could ruin the trip of Mark Gatt, who will be arriving at Sandown chock full of confidence. Booming Bennett has also trialled well in preparation for the heat, and might be one to follow as the series unfolds. Dyna Kayla also has the ability to run the hands off the clock if she can get clear running from the squeeze box. There is genuine class and depth in this heat.
Ritza Hattie (Mark Gatt) – “She trialled really well going 29.40 first look at the track, so we are really confident going into the series.”
Liara Allen (Tammy Collins) – “We have high expectations of her and she would be our best hope to win the series. She has drawn a tough heat though, but is suited from the inside. She is still maturing and if she can step and find the rail, we think she can go very fast.”
Dyna Kayla (Tom Dailly) – “She is quite a promising young bitch and is strong as a bull. We are hoping she gets thru to the next week as we think she will get stronger as the series progresses. She is learning more and more and will only improve.”
Mepunga Tiara (Jeff Britton) – “She has drawn a hard heat and needs a heap of luck. She has no early pace and will find it tough from the box.”
Booming Bennett (Adrian Dowdle) – “Won her last 3 straight and on the up. She is definitely been thrown in the deep end, but we have a happy healthy dog that is improving with every run, and is trialling very well. It’s all great experience for all the restricted races in the first half of next year. We just hope she gets through this week as she will improve every look at the track.”
Heat Eight – 10.38pm
Heat eight is an open heat and most connections would be thinking they are a genuine chance of getting through to next week’s semi finals. The experienced runner’s Tam’s Wish and You Say Goodbye will both be hard to beat. Both have been racing in far tougher races and will appreciate the drop back to restricted age bitches only company. Tam’s Wish has finished behind Kiss Me Ketut, Marcus Joe, New Tibur and Veetee Express at her last four starts, and You Say Goodbye has finished behind Allen Makoto and Dark Warrior of late. Neither meets that standard of company in the race.
Mepunga Moss (Jeff Britton) – “She has had a spell and is a good box dog. She isn’t overly strong and will have to go to the lead. She is coming into this a little underdone but will improve as the series progresses.”