Sandown Park is set to sizzle on Thursday night when four heats of the Group Two Berwick Mazda Harrison-Dawson set to take place over the 515 metre journey.
Quality will be omnipresent with no less than 13 individual Group winners set to grace the circuit in the four heats which is testament to the sheer class on display.
A relatively new event, the Harrison-Dawson was first held in 2009 when it was taken out by Dyna Forte. Other previous winners include Flash Of Light, Don Chendo and General Destini.
Last year’s event was taken out by the former Kiwi Clone Your Own for Rob Britton.
$100,000 dollars awaits the winner of next week’s final as well as the dignity of being etched into greyhound immortality among the annuls of Group Two winners.
Here is a look at the main chances in each heat;
Race 5 – Berwick Mazda Harrison-Dawson – Heat 1 – 8:28pm
Group One Australian Cup winner Buckle Up Wes (2) headlines a superb opening heat. He is first up since seemingly blowing a winning opportunity in the final of the Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park where he got wide on the first turn. The son of Collision and Everlong Bale (Primo Uno – Shique Bale) has only had one start at Sandown Park where he was unplaced but is the real deal and will take plenty of beating.
The bullet-proof Innocent Til (4) exits the squeeze box for Jason Thompson. He is a model of consistency, winning 29 of his 49 career outings. He has a real penchant for the Sandown Park circuit winning six of his 10 starts there, including a best of 29.24. He is not likely to be in the firing line early but will be poised to swoop as heads turn for home.
Crump (3) is the recent Group Two Horsham Cup winner who has also carved out a slick 29.29 at this track, winning three of his 11 starts here. He often needs a little bit of luck early in proceedings and that may well decide his fate in this race.
Buckle Up Mason (1), a littermate to Buckle Up Wes, exits the coveted rails alley. He had put four consecutive wins together before falling last start. In his most recent Sandown win he stopped the clock at 29.26. A repeat of that would see him in this up to his ears.
Race 6 – Berwick Mazda Harrison-Dawson – Heat 2 – 8:52pm
Hooksy (6) is chasing his eighth consecutive win in the second heat for Tatura trainer Tanya Auld. The son of Hondo Black and Uno Witch (Primo Uno – Proven Tops) took out the Bill Collins Memorial at Sandown last week in a rapid 29.26. He is undefeated in four attempts at the track and has a flying best of 29.15. Given a tiny bit of room early, he will be off and gone.
Group One Golden Easter Egg winner Tonk (4) will sport the blue rug for Lara mentor Brooke Ennis. He won his only race at Sandown Park way back in September last year in 29.44. It is fair to assume he is a much better dog now than he was then and it would be no surprise for him to register a hat-trick of wins in this race.
Kiss Me Ketut (1) is a multiple Group winning conveyance who has more than his share of class. Admittedly his recent performance may not have been his best, but he was a quick winner at Warrnambool two starts back and is drawn well. He has to be considered.
Musquin Bale (2) won the Group Three Bert Bryant Memorial over 595 metres here last start and is a regular in Group finals. He will be close to the speed and sure to take advantage of any opportunity he is afforded in the run. Definitely one for multiples.
Race 7 – Berwick Mazda Harrison-Dawson – Heat 3 – 9:11pm
Heat three features a plethora of wining chances with luck sure to play a part due to an apparent absence of genuine early speed.
Campaspe Will (6) steps back down from middle distance racing where he had been performing in great heart. He has won three from five over this trip and boasts a slippery best of 29.18. If he lands anywhere near the speed he is a massive hope.
Awesome Project (3) has won four in-a-row for astute Devon Meadows trainer Darren McDonald despite mixing distances. He is a last start winner over this trip in 29.53. He could find himself handy in this and take some running down.
Banjo Boy (8) is the Group Two Cranbourne Cup winner who, at his best, can be devastating. The outside draw may test him given his moderate box manners.
Red Road (4) is a New South Wales visitor who has won 11 of his 17 starts including the Group Two Richmond Derby. He has exhibited early speed in some of his races which he will need to do to feature in this.
Hawk Alone (7) won the Group One Rookie Rebel earlier in the year and is another who will rely on early luck. Should he get some of that, then he has a very strong finish and could be a knockout chance at double figures.
Race 8 – Berwick Mazda Harrison-Dawson – Heat 4 – 9:35pm
Black Magic Opal (3) looks to continue the rich vein of form that saw him salute in last week’s Group Two Warrnambool Cup. The son of Magic Sprite and Awesome Opal (Most Awesome – Opal Glow) has an imposing record of 35 wins from 47 starts and has won five of his last six race starts. He has been to Sandown four times for three wins and boasts a best of 29.37. He is the one they have to beat in the fourth and final heat.
Warrior King (7) was a recent place-getter in the Group One Golden Easter Egg and seems to improve every time he steps out on the track. The big obstacle for him is the wide draw and his tardy box manners which may see him needing a lot of luck in the run.
Hellyeah Bolt (2) comes up from Tasmania with an outstanding record. He has won 21 of his 34 career starts and never lost from box two in three attempts. He will need to show some early dash to put himself in the race but has the ability to do so.
Ollie Bale (4) had no luck in the recent Warrnambool Cup final and is the Group One Silver Chief winner. He is at his best when he can lead and that may be tough for him being drawn outside Black Magic Opal.