All eyes on hotshot pair as they meet head-to-head

TWO newcomers to the racing scene with promising careers ahead go head to head for the first time when racing continues at Grafton Greyhound Racing Club this afternoon.

There is no doubt the clash between the two youngsters - Robell Escape and Hotshot Hero - in the Grafton Radio Taxi's Stakes over 407 metres is the highlight of the meeting.

Despite the fact these greyhounds have just three and two starts respectively, they have both shown enough ability to suggest they have big careers ahead of them.

Robell Escape was bred by his young owner Ben Ellis after he had purchased the dam I'm Just Foolin' for the sole purpose of breeding and he looks to have pulled a masterstroke as there are several members of this litter showing ability.

Robell Escape auditioned for her racing career with a solid 23.30 second Performance Trial victory prior to a first-up race victory in a 305-metre heat in fair time. She then found plenty of trouble from an unsuitable box in the final when finishing down the track behind Neighbourly.

At her next outing the diminutive 25kg chaser was only drawn as a reserve, however her trainer Sandy Robertson gave her a Stewards Trial at that race meeting which really started tongues wagging.

Beginning nicely from box 6, Robell Escape set about clocking the smart figures of 8.41 seconds to the first time and an overall effort of 23.10 seconds for the 407-metre journey.

On the back of that smart trial she was sent out as a well-supported $2.10 favourite on Monday evening. Although only managing to finish runner-up behind Sonia Kempshall-trained Linjawi, the run had "be on me next time" written all over it. After jumping nicely from box 4, Robell Escape was instantly sideswiped by American Force from the 3 box before then being almost cut in half by Houdini Miss which was making a sharp beeline for the rails after exiting box 8. Despite all of this she still managed to finish within a length of the winner.

Hotshot Hero is trained locally by Max Hay and in many ways he has had a similar preparation.

Hotshot Hero commenced his career, so to speak, with a nice Performance Trial win over 305 metres when clocking a slick 17.47 seconds, which is just four lengths outside the track record, before finding an abundance of interference at his first official race start over 305 metres. Starting a $2.00 favourite on that occasion, Hotshot Hero subsequently finished a well beaten sixth due to the trouble he encountered in the run.

Those who ignored the well-beaten effort were rewarded at his next start when he displayed his true potential with a fast 17.30-second maiden victory by an ever-widening six lengths over Vanickers, who since has franked that form with a win on Monday night.

Now the question remains just how strongly will Hotshot Hero run out the additional distance in the clash today over 407 metres and which of these smart pups will lead at the all-important first turn?

These are indeed tough questions to answer. However, if pressed for an answer, this writer expects that Hotshot Hero will lead the race from his box 8 draw. However, Robell Escape should be sitting right on his hammer as they round the bend and it is from that point that the latter's match fitness over the 407 metres should prove telling to finish slightly the better and record a neck victory over her adversary in a time around the 23.10 second mark.

For the punters out there they would be well advised to follow the Evelyn Harris-trained Magic Of Bonus which looks nicely drawn in box 1 in the Al's Mechanical Maiden over 305 metres. She should get a nice run early in the proceedings with the wide running Orara Rod drawn on her outside.

The first race today is set to go at 2.24pm with the final race of ten jumping at 5.22pm.

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