Jumping well from box 1, Pillow Torque ($3.70) began well to lead outsider Doyen Star ($27) through the first turn with favourite Bobby Boucheau ($2.40) tracking wide around the turn two lengths away in third.
The field bunched up coming off the back straight as Doyen Star made her move to take a narrow lead. Iwanyk’s second runner and fastest qualifier Bramley ($9.60) closed to within a length, while Bobby Boucheau continued to improve on Bramley’s outside. Echelon ($7), Slick Lee ($8.20) and Black Viking ($30.60) all closed in as just three lengths covered the first seven runners approaching the final turn.
In a thrilling run to the line, Pillow Torque showed her class, racing to a 1.75 length win over Slick Lee with Bobby Boucheau a further 1.25 lengths away in third in a smart 42.05 seconds.
The win was Pillow Torque’s first in six attempts at Group level and improved her record to 14 wins from 37 starts, taking her career prizemoney beyond $91,000. Sydneysider Slick Lee continued his affinity with Sandown Park, running a place for the third time at Group level at the Lightwood Road circuit and is yet to miss a place in eight starts at the track.
But it was all honours to the winner. The Sandown Park track record holder now has three wins from four starts at the track and is now likely to enter Thursday week’s Radio Sport National Sandown Cup heats a warm pre-post favourite.
“She’s a really nice greyhound,” said Iwanyk.
“She really needed the hit out last week (following a short lay off to have her tonsils removed) so I was pretty confident going into tonight.”
Pillow Torque, along with kennel and littermates Bramley and Kalden Athena, has helped Iwanyk make an immediate impact on the highly competitive Victorian training scene since making the move from Perth to Devon Meadows in late 2010.
“It has been a big move but I’ve had a lot of help and I really appreciate all the help I’ve had.”
The Henry Harrison Memorial is the final feature race lead-in to Australia’s richest race for stayers, the $143,000 Group 1 Radio Sport National Sandown Cup.
The series runs in conjunction with the $72,500 Group 3 Dawson for the sprinters, ensuring two outstanding weeks of racing at Sandown Park. The heats will be run on Thursday 19 May 2011 with the finals to be run the following week on Thursday 26 May.