GREYHOUNDS: Racing continues at the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club this evening with a strong 10-race program highlighted by four heats of the Taragreyhounds.com.au 5th grade series over 480 metres.
There does look to be some intriguing clashes and nice bets for patrons on the evening.
Arguably the most interesting of the four heats is race 8 on the program which is the fourth and final heat where the impressive Casino speedster Pretty Socks will go head-to-head with impressive local greyhound Miss Spritely.
The Mitch Northfield prepared Pretty Socks has made quite an impression in recent runs, recording smart victories both here at Grafton and at the spacious Maitland circuit.
While Miss Spritely has shown that she is returning to the type of form she displayed early in her career with a brilliant 22.85-second victory here and also a slick 22.99 seconds when beaten into second place here the run prior.
Both greyhounds will be having their first test over the longer 480-metre distance in their heats so it is a touch hit and miss to accurately assess how they will handle the step up in distance. However on sectionals at the end of their 407-metre starts, the nod would have to go to Miss Spritely on the basis that she has shown that she can run home the stronger over 407 metres.
Miss Spritely is also perfectly drawn in box 1 tonight and she should be able to race on the speed and prove terribly difficult to hold out.
Pretty Socks certainly has the genuine acceleration when left alone from the boxes and she too could well lead this race; however from box 7 she will have to contend with the wide-running Kid Genius which is drawn directly on her inside.
For all of the reasons listed above, it is Miss Spritely which is the on-top selection.
The widely drawn runners look to hold the aces in heat number 1 with the winner likely to come from Handsome Hombre for Jim Madigan in box 6, Vincent for Evelyn Harris in box 7 and It's For Sure which will jump from box 8 for Sonia Kempshall.
Each of the greyhounds has differing racing styles with Handsome Hombre a good beginner which likes to head to the rails, Vincent which also begins ok and likes to race wide while It's For Sure is a strong finishing chaser which is better known over the staying distances, but is drawn well enough to take up a position.
These varying racing patterns make for an intriguing race and there will be plenty of debate among punters as to exactly who will come out on top if indeed it is to be one of these three runners.
Handsome Hombre is the greyhound most likely to do everything right and it is for that reason that he is the narrowest of on-top selections.
The locally bred chaser should receive nice cover in the early stages from Vincent and his ability to stay on the rails underneath that runner could make for the winning edge.
It's For Sure will have his admirers and, if there is any mixing at the front of the pack, then he will be poised to take advantage as he winds up down the long straight.
The second heat is another good race with numerous winning chances, however the battle between the two leading local trainers Sonia Kempshall and Evelyn Harris will continue with Cheeky Maxi for Kempshall and Black Day Bonus for Harris likely to vie for favouritism.
To separate the two runners would be a classic toss-of-the-coin moment, however there will be stern opposition from the speedy Girl Dodo and Specs Valley to name just a couple.
In the remaining heat, the Des Winters trained Dynamite Valley looks to be ideally drawn in box 1 with a moderate beginner and wide runner in box 2.
Although being tested over the 480-metre for the first time, Dynamite Valley has been subjected to a number of unsuitable box draws of late. Yet despite that has been spotted running home nicely. From box 1 tonight he does represent a nice each way at $4-plus.
The danger is certain to come from the Madigan trained Goodbye Hug which can race handy to the speed while the Paul Gallagher trained Kingsbrae County will have them all looking over their shoulders if she can stay out of trouble early.