The final piece of the Nationals puzzle will fall into place tonight, when the home state competitors contest the finals of the AGRA Victorian Sprint and Distance Championships. Chasers are looking to qualify for next week’s group one AGRA National Championships, which have seen the best greyhounds Australia has to offer compete in search of a spot in the final and the $75,000 winner’s cheque.
AGRA VICTORIAN DISTANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Box One: Mimicking
Mimicking was the surprise result of his heat last week, running a great race at big odds to finish second behind Irma Bale. The son of Flying Penske has been a great money spinner for connections winning 11 of his 68 starts however, he has only won once over the track and distance from 17 appearances which is problematic being in such a classy affair. The Robert Britton trained dog, won the group three West End Draught Distance Championship at Angle Park in April but has not won since then making it hard to see him salute tonight.
Box Two: Irma Bale
The daughter of Batrim Bale has been a fantastic little bitch throughout her 89 start career. The four time group winning distance diva has won 37 races and earned almost $580,000 in prize money. Jumping from box two she should bounce straight to the lead and prove hard to catch. Although she is approaching four years of age, she is still racing well and is certainly capable of pinching the qualifier at what is most likely to be her penultimate race start.
Box Three: Leprechaun Macey
Leprechaun Macey is greyhound racing royalty being out of the exceptional bitch Betty’s Angel and is developing into a promising stayer herself. With just eleven runs to her name, she has already amassed six wins and two placing’s with a personal best of 42.80 seconds over the trip. Tonight is a sharp rise in grade and it will give a definite indication of her class.
Box Four: Set Sail South
Trained by Angela Langton, Set Sail South has a stack or ability as a winner of eight from 24. The black dog is a true stayer in that he comes from behind to win his races however, being a moderate beginner drawn in a poor box, he runs the risk of finding trouble and eliminating himself from the race early on.
Box Five: Gold Affair Two
One of the most underrated dogs racing at present. The black bitch by Texas Gold out of Olgers Affair flew straight under the radar last week when claiming her heat in a handy 42.88 seconds. As a winner of fifteen races; four of which have been over the track and distance with a best time of 42.70 seconds, she represents the value in the event. Box five is not ideal but she does have enough pace to overcome the draw and race prominently.
Box Six: Dashing Red
The Michael Fox trained performer is always thereabouts and ran a solid race last start when finishing quarter of a length behind Gold Affair Two. The son of Surf Lorian clocked 42.68 seconds when winning over the track and distance in June however, he does his best work from the inside- of his ten race wins only one has come from outside of box three.
Box Seven: Destini Fireball
Destini Fireball is as tough as they come and has been the leading male stayer for quite some time now. The white and black powerhouse boasts an exceptional seven from nine over the track and distance with a hot best of 42.40 seconds. Although being defeated as the odds on favourite in his heat, Destini Fireball will still have a major say in the outcome of the event. As a versatile chaser, box seven will not be an issue and he should get plenty of room to move and wind up the massive motor that he possesses.
Box Eight: Maddison Dee
Last but not least is the consistent Maddison Dee from box eight. The pacey bitch recorded the fastest heat victory last week when defeating Set Sail South by two and one quarter lengths in 42.82 seconds. Although she is suited more towards the rails, she is not without her chance and could potentially qualify for her second group final in just four starts.
First Reserve: Major League
Has run a stack of placings in his recent starts in similar company so can definitely figure in the finish.
Second Reserve: New Tibur
Has really found his best form lately and although he only ran fourth in his heat, he can improve in the final with a clear run.
TIPS: DESTINI FIREBALL, IRMA BALE, LEPRACHAUN MACEY, GOLD AFFAIR TWO
AGRA VICTORIAN SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP
Box One: Xylia Allen
The dual group one winner, Xylia Allen, bounced back to her best last week after an unlucky series of runs at her most recent starts. Beginning well from box one in her heat, the daughter of Turanza Bale mustered enough pace to find the lead and snared a determined victory in 29.91 seconds. Drawn well on the inside this week, she should be able to hold a spot on the rails and loom as a massive threat.
Box Two: Imry Bale
The son of Go Wild Teddy scored a great win in last week’s heats after beginning well from an identical draw, defeating raging favourite Paw Licking in 29.83 seconds. Imry Bale has won ten races over the track and distance at The Meadows, with last week’s performance his fastest time to date. From a favourable inside draw he has the ability to figure in the finish again this week.
Box Three: Clone Your Own
The former Kiwi greyhound recaptured his dazzling best last week, scoring impressively in 30.07 seconds. The group two Harrison-Dawson winner went through a brief form slump but now appears fresh and ready to race. The biggest concern for the Robert Britton trained chaser is the fact that he is only a moderate beginner and will need to position himself well early to be in with a real chance. Nonetheless, he does have a strong record with 15 wins from 30 starts, three of which have been at The Meadows. If he gets room to move in the early stages he has a live chance.
Box Four: Tick Bale
Tick Bale is a newcomer on the group race scene with only 11 race starts before tonight. The fawn dog is a son of the staying great Jarvis Bale out of Benden Flex so is certainly bred to run however, from a poor draw in the four he will have it all stacked against him at what is definitely his acid test.
Box Five: Tomac Bale
Tomac Bale always seems to draw terribly with tonight no exception. From a great draw in box two last week, Tomac Bale managed to ping the lids and raced away to notch up an eight and a half-length victory in a scintillating 29.67 seconds. The best of the night performance was a personal best for the son of Dyna Lachlan and Princess Bale over the track and distance and he now holds the strong record of ten wins from 16 starts overall. Within those starts was an exhilarating triumph in the group two Launching Pad and despite the shocking draw, his early speed puts him right in the race and makes him the dog to beat.
Box Six: Dyna Oats
Dyna Oats was a shock winner in his heat last week when clocking 30.14 seconds and paying a massive $23.60. Despite being last away, he navigated his way through the pack to notch up career win number nine from box three. Moving into an awkward box six this week he will face a tough challenge and will have to begin a lot better than in his heat to be considered a genuine threat.
Box Seven: General Destini
The 35 kilogram speedster is a litter brother to champion stayer Destini Fireball, who is also lining up from box seven in the Distance final. As honest as they come, General Destini has won 21 races throughout his career with last week’s heat victory one of his most impressive. After an average beginning, the son of Where’s Pedro had to do it the hard way but ran on superbly to finish over the top of Kevin Bale in 30.02 seconds. Box seven is not an issue however his lack of pace is, especially with a quick beginner on his outside.
Box Eight: Paw Licking
After a fantastic beginning in his heat, Paw Licking looked the winner but found Imry Bale too strong in the run to the line, going down by two lengths. The son of Elite State will probably lead the field, despite being boxed out wide in the pink and from there it will depend on his strength at the end of the race. If he can pinch a break in the run out of the first turn he will take some catching however, based on last week’s performance he will not want a chaser like Xylia Allen, who has a sensational finishing burst, directly behind him.
First Reserve: Kevin Bale
Handy sprinter who mixes his form and would need to improve on some of his recent efforts to take out the race.
Second Reserve: Schroder Bale
Classy animal that was unlucky last week. Big chance if he gains a start.
TIPS: XYLIA ALLEN, TOMAC BALE, PAW LICKING, IMRY BALE