Rhinos players will be lining up against greyhounds this afternoon in a foot race.
Rhinos players will be lining up against greyhounds this afternoon in a foot race.

Footballer vs greyhound

ONE OF THE greatest clashes of the 2010 sporting calendar takes place today when the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club plays host to the Grafton Rhinos rugby league team.

It’s athlete v athlete, man v K9, footballer vs greyhound.

Grafton Rhinos front rower Dean Hambly and fullback Joel Moss will each take their turn to match motors in two enthralling match races against two local greyhounds, Fleet Commander and Marvellous during the race meeting today.

Captain/coach Xavier Sullivan hand-picked these two finely tuned members of the Rhinos with Dean Hambly to take on Fleet Commander shortly after 2pm while Joel Moss will take on Marvellous at around 2.45pm. Word filtering through from the Rhinos camp is that both men have been in solid training and although having their first start on the track are primed for strong efforts.

While the notoriety and accolades for the players, should they be victorious, will be showered upon them for years to come one could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps a rugby league premiership would be considered a bigger prize. With the season to get underway shortly, Sullivan has reported that his troops have been training well and hopes are high for the 2010 season with his youngers players in particular ready to show the benefits of the experience they have gained from the 2009 season.

Apart from the above-mentioned clash, a strong 13-race card along with the running of the Golden Slipper in Sydney will give those in attendance a full day’s entertainment with seven heats of the Kleenheat Easter Maiden over 407 metres highlighting the program.

Many of the region’s leading trainers are represented with runners in the heats however winners look hard to find with many of the youngsters having had few or no starts at all of which to do the form so we will look towards our graded races in looking for some winners for the punters.

The best bet of the day appears in race 9 the PFD Foodservices Free For All over 407 metres with local champ Tranquil Black drawn to lead all the way from box 1. There is no greyhound racing better or more consistently than the Sandy Rbertson owned-and-bred sprinter, and although opposed to a quality lineup should add to his impressive record of nine wins from only 17 starts. Opposition will come from the speedy Sammilicious who is racing in great heart at the moment and the speed battle which these two greyhounds will engage in from the boxes will go along way to deciding the event.

Coutts Crossing trainer Gary Smith looks to have bright prospects in the Shiralee Produce Third/Fourth Grade over 480 metres with Orara Magic. While not visiting the winners circle since January, Orara Magic is a keen railer who will relish her box 1 draw today and with a little luck in the early stages should be finishing right over the top of her opposition. Orara Magic last raced here at Grafton when finishing a credable third behind the track record breaker Orbison a fortnight ago when recording the good time of 27.57 seconds in getting beaten. A repeat of that time will be enough to take this one out.

Reg Gardoll is rarely without a winner here at Grafton and his runner Northern Echo should keep that record intact in the Beaurepaires Fifth Grade over 407 metres. Northern Echo was responsible for a big run when a fast finishing third here last start behind Jump In after experiencing plenty of early trouble. On that occasion Northern Echo was slow to begin and while he won’t want to do the same thing again today he does look to be a very promising type.

Maxine Gleeson’s runners really hit their straps last start and if her runner Chasing Slater is able to step cleanly from his box 3 draw in the Henwoods Hot Bread Shop Fifth Grade over 407 metres then he could well continue on his winning way.

Chasing Slater recorded a career-best time of 23.25 seconds last start and it appears as though Maxine may have found the key with this fellow. Toughest to beat will be the Les Purnell trained Tender Tears who does possess a good turn of toe and is well drawn out in box 8.

Racing gets underway at 1.27pm with the final event scheduled for 5.03pm. A bumper crowd is anticipated with plenty of entertainment for all.

Word filtering through from the Rhinos camp is that both men have been in solid training and although having their first start on the track are primed for strong efforts.



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