This Thursday night Australia’s best sprinters will converge at Sandown Park for a crack at group race glory in the heats of both the Group One Macro Meats Sapphire Crown and the Group Two Harrison-Dawson over the 515 metre distance. Both series are known for attracting some outstanding performers, with the Sapphire Crown being one of Australia’s premier female only greyhound events. This year see’s four spectacular heats assemble for a shot at the $100,000 prize, with each qualifier bursting with quality with group race winners and track record holders from around the nation.
MACRO MEATS SAPPHIRE CROWN HEAT ONE- 7:44PM
The first heat of this lucrative series is not for the faint-hearted with nearly every greyhound engaged a realistic chance of taking it out. After a below par performance where she found trouble at her track debut last week, Jason Mackay’s boom powerhouse Sometimes Speedy is boxed to perfection to win from the two. As a winner of 24 races from 48 starts the daughter of Collision is an absolute flying machine and if she can begin cleanly, there will be no stopping her.
Fresh from her success in the Group Three Ladies Bracelet at Wentworth Park is another NSW representative in Lagoon Lowanna who has drawn box three. The Sharron Webster trained greyhound has come along in leaps and bounds over recent weeks as a winner of four from her past five starts at Wentworth Park with a scintillating personal best of 29.68 seconds. A known lid pinger she should get a nice run into the event on the outside of Sometimes Speedy and can run a cheeky race. The black bitch by Where’s Pedro has seen the track last year with no success however is racing like a completely different chaser at present so must be respected.
Grand campaigner El Brooklyn is still racing well at the top level for Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson despite being over three years of age and will jump this week from box four. After recently competing in NSW in both the Golden Easter Egg series and the Maitland Gold Cup when running fourth behind new kennelmate Black Magic Opal, El Brooklyn returned to Victoria and competed in the Warrnambool Cup series when finishing down the track to yet another kennelmate Ronan Izmir. Whilst she may not have taken out these finals her record speaks for itself- 41 starts for 23 wins and 8 placings and over $260,000 in prize money.
Graeme Bate will also be hoping to secure a start in the final with his highly talented bitch Purcell Bale who looks an ominous threat despite drawing awkwardly in box six. The recent Queensland Futurity winner tasted defeat last week when finishing seventh behind Lagoon Lowanna in the Ladies Bracelet at Wentworth Park however that should not deter punters with the daughter of Dyna Lachlan and Princess Bale capable of bouncing back in this event.
MACRO MEATS SAPPHIRE CROWN HEAT TWO- 8:08PM
The second part of Jason Mackay’s terrific trio will line up in the second heat with the freakishly talented Punch One Out jumping from box eight. The daughter of Knocka Norris is an absolute track blazer with records at both Wentworth Park (29.27 seconds) and Richmond (29.90 seconds) and despite finishing unplaced at her track debut last week, she will most likely start the deserved favourite. As a group race placegetter and winner of sixteen races, Punch One Out will go close to claiming the race and should be suited out wide where she will get room to move early.
Desalle Bale will be looking to bring Punch One Out undone when she begins from box three in the second heat. The black bitch is a fantastic railer and is drawn well in the white where she has won four races with a further two placings. The Go Wild Teddy speedster is a half-sister to the flying Purcell Bale who lines up in heat one and was a recent winner at Ballarat clocking a slick 25.56 seconds.
Angela Langton will be looking to extend her recent success of late with the brilliant Heidi Go Seek drawing ideally in the cherry box. After a recent stint in the western state where she recorded a nippy 30.77 seconds triumph at Cannington the 28 kilogram bitch will return home this week for her first Victorian start since March. The daughter of Talks Cheap relishes an inside draw and has a dazzling personal best of 29.41 seconds over the track and distance.
Bubba’s Dream has not won a race since March and has drawn poorly in box five however she has a best time of 29.28 seconds for the trip so can’t be ruled out.
Western Australian greyhound Hot Irish is first up after a spell which hasn’t seen her race since finishing fifth in the group one Golden Easter Egg. She is a top class bitch that is capable of pinging the lids fresh up.
MACRO MEATS SAPPHIRE CROWN HEAT THREE- 9:11PM
Group winning star Cintiarna will return to the track after her emphatic victory in the group three West End Draught Anniversary Cup Final at Angle Park last month. The 31 kilogram speedster is absolutely flying at present and will more than likely start favourite in this tricky race. Whilst she has drawn box five, she knows how to handle a bad box winning nine of her nineteen race triumphs from either the five or six alley.
Rails runner Xylia Allen ran a phenomenal race last week in the Ladies Bracelet at Wentworth Park. The bitch by Turanza Bale was pushed wide and turned sideways throughout the run, yet powered home to run a fantastic third behind Lagoon Lowanna. The black sprinter has won ten races from 26 starts with a best of 29.32 seconds at Sandown and whilst she has never won from box one that isn’t a concern as she has only drawn it once and seems to have a curse with box draws.
Promising pup Tricky Jade steps up to the big time from box seven in heat three after just six racetrack appearances for Jason Mackay. The two year old sensation competed in the Magic Maiden series at Wentworth Park in March when finishing third in her semi-final behind Black Rip and since then has won three races at Richmond (30.41 seconds), Wentworth Park(29.56 seconds) and last week at Sandown(29.56 seconds). Despite her inexperience she is one of the main threats in the race.
Langi Bale must be respected for Graeme Bate from box two whilst the exciting Cracker Jack Lil should also be in contention despite running a touch below her best over recent weeks.
MACRO MEATS SAPPHIRE CROWN HEAT FOUR- 9:55PM
Melbourne Cup hero Got A Moment steps out from box three in the fourth heat after an unlucky fifth at Warrnambool last start behind Schroder Bale. The 25 kilogram lightweight is one of the best female sprinters racing at present and has everything working in her favour with a perfect four from four at Sandown featuring a scorching 29.37 seconds victory in November last year. As a winner of fifteen races and over $470,000 in prize money she will well and truly move up the ladder on the overall stakes money list for Australian greyhounds, should she take out the Sapphire Crown series with only Miata ($690,008) and High Earner ($610,070) in front of her if she is triumphant.
Classy three year old Cailyn Bale should run well for mentor Mark Delbridge in the last heat especially after coming up with box one. The daughter of Bartrim Bale is a good beginner and has been competing against some fantastic sprinters over recent weeks. The 26 race winner has run a flying 29.34 seconds at Sandown earlier this year and is one of the main dangers.
Two more representatives from the legendary Graeme Bate kennels will line up in the fourth heat with Quiz Bale looking to be the Lara trainers best chance of his pair. The talented youngster will be lining up from box eight and brings with her the impressive record of sixteen starts for nine wins and four seconds as well as a flawless two from two over the track and distance. Whilst she is no doubt classy she will have to run faster than her 29.86 seconds best from last year as many of these can run at least half a second quicker than that.
The well-bred Evie’s Entity will jump from box four and despite a raise in class she looks up to the challenge. A winner of nine from nineteen the Mogambo sprinter is racing in great form as a winner of her past three starts in succession with a slick best of 29.54 seconds over the 515 metre trip. The biggest thing against the plucky little bitch is her tendency to dwell at box rise so she will need to begin to threaten the big guns- but as said she is capable.
Box six runner Blue Lavros looks a serious type in the making as a front running winner of five races from seven starts however her best time whilst being a handy 29.98 seconds is not up to the group standards of these classy bitches. She is one to watch for the future.
The 2013 group one Sapphire Crown series is shaping up to be one of the best that greyhound enthusiasts have witnessed in recent years with the girls stamping themselves as a dominant force over the group race scene in the past twelve months. With such quality and depth across all four heats Thursday is sure to be a tantalizing night of racing as we see Australia’s top bitches vie for the extravagant winner’s purse. Keep your eyes peeled for a sneak peek of the Group Two Harrison-Dawson heats which will also be run on the action packed card!