Tight finish: Race 4 is won by number 1 on Saturday.
Tight finish: Race 4 is won by number 1 on Saturday.

Rhinos duo prove their leg speed

A FANTASTIC day of entertainment was had by all that were in attendance at the Grafton Greyhound Race meeting on Saturday with the big crowd, great atmosphere, quality racing and Grafton Rhinos Rugby League Club proving to be a successful mix.

The main attraction of the day was without a doubt the footballer versus greyhound match races with Rhinos front-rower Dean Hambly taking on local greyhound Fleet Commander while Joel Moss matched motors with Marvellous. Both Hambly and Moss proved their worth with each having victories over their K9 counterparts.

The Hambly-Fleet Commander clash proved to be the tightest of these with the hard charging front-rower opening up what seemed to be unassailable lead in the straight however just as he was being hailed as an easy winner, Fleet Commander really hit the line hard to eventually go down by a couple of lengths. The fatigue on Hambly was clear to see and had the finish line been another two metres away the result would have been different.

The result of the Moss-Marvellous race was a lot more clear cut as Moss improved markedly on his trial run to score an easy victory. No doubt the adrenalin and nervous energy kicked in for Moss which raised him to another level as he had the benefit of witnessing just how fast the greyhounds finish off their races during his teammates earlier race. The entire Rhinos’ organisation are to be congratulated for their enthusiasm and conduct throughout the afternoon.

Aside from the above-mentioned racing there was a greyhound meeting on with a big 13-event program of which seven of these were heats of the Kleenheat Easter Maiden (407m).

Trainer Darryl Schafer had a very succesful day supplying two impressive heat winners while also being responsible for rearing three other winners on the program at his property at Ettrick. Darryl’s two heat winners are each members of his Kiowa Sweet Trey-Angelica Trick litter. Fastest of these was Felicity Trick who jumped beautifully from the 5 box to lead all the way in the fastest time of the heats of 23.17 seconds. Darryl’s second winner came up in the very next heat when Steptoe Trick finished too powerfully for the early leader Mr Bingle, eventually recording a one-and-a-quarter length victory in 23.36 seconds.

Iluka trainer Mick Patterson will also have a strong hand in the $2000 to the winner final with his littermates Stand Tall and Molly Bender each being victorious. The first of these, Stand Tall, did just that from box 5 in leading most of the way to record the second fastest time of the heats of 23.20 seconds when defeating Sat Fat by three-and-a-quarter lengths who did a little fence jumping trick and took off after the lure via the infield, much to the delight of the Rhinos and their supporters. Molly Bender gave Mick his second finalist when wearing down the early leader Algorithm to win by a half-head with Big Wendell close up in third. Each of these winners are from Mick’s Solve The Puzzle-Nellie Bligh litter and both give the impression an outside draw in the final would be favourable. Algorithm qualified for the final as the fastest second for his trainer Darryl McGrath of Queensland.

Vard’s Choice landed some nice bets for supporters when he took out Heat 3 for trainer Shane Robinson. Vard’s Choice recorded the time of 23.33 seconds but is open to further improvement as he was dragged down just prior to the first turn and did well to regain momentum to go on and win by five lengths over Calamber.

Other heat winners were Ten In Ten for Darren Russell who finished strongly to defeat Jolly Jonna by a half length in 23.42 seconds while Bev DeBono took out the first heat when Feelin The Chill led from go to whoa in 23.50 seconds.

Aside from the football races, the biggest cheer of the day was heard from the stands when the Gary Geary trained well swept down the outside of the field to take out the Nature Vet Fourth/ Fifth Grade over 407 metres. A good reason for this could be the fact that Well was heavily backed from $6.00 into $2.50. Backers would have had their hearts in their mouths as Well had to overcome early trouble before eventually winning comfortably in 23.65 seconds.

Time honours of the day for the 407 metre journey went to the Reg Gardoll-trained Northern Echo who carved out the fast time of 23.06 seconds in the Beaurepaires Fifth Grade in a resounding 12-and-a-half length victory. Northern Echo ran home in an impressive 14.48 seconds and looks to have a very bright future. Northern Echo was the second of a winning double for Reg after earlier leading in Sammilicious who recorded her sixth win in a row after being forced to come from back in the pack. Sammilicious is racing in tremendous heart of late and the run does not look like ending just yet.

Another who has really found form is the Maxine Gleeson trained Chasing Slater. The Peter Gleeson trained sprinter could not have been more impressive as he flew out of box 3 and was never challenged in setting his new PB time of of 23.14 seconds. Orara Lass ran home very nicely for second with Nice Dash finishing a handy third.

Other winners on the day were the John Free-trained Fire Dancer which defeated Always tomorrow with Barcarol running a nice race for third after missing the start for Peter Fuller while Gary Smith produced Orara Magic who relished her box 1 draw in taking out the only 480 metre event of the day in a good time of 27.47 seconds.

Owners and trainers are reminded that 305 metre racing will commence at this Saturday’s meeting should sufficient nominations be received.

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