Dogs ready for test of stamina
DISTANCE racing makes a welcome return to the Grafton Greyhounds today with a field of eight starters set to do battle in the Coutts Crossing Fishing Club Best 8 over 610 metres.
Distance racing always provides for a good spectacle and Junction Hill trainer Jimmy Madigan will be hoping that his runner, Dolly Sprite, can provide just that for himself and owner Brooke Madigan despite stepping away from an awkward box 6 draw.
The talented daughter of Surf Lorian and Cheeky Sprite recently took on the best sprinters in Queensland when finishing a creditable fourth behind High Earner, which incidentally led throughout to take out a heat of the Adelaide Cup in sizzling time on Thursday night. Dolly Sprite then followed this up with two placings behind Cool Rock Hero over 635 metres, before winning impressively there on Tuesday night in the smart time of 37.79 seconds.
While it is the last thing that any trainer would ever want to hear about their runners it does appear that only bad luck can stop her from adding another victory to her current career tally of 10 wins from 30 starts and she is the best bet of the day.
Today’s meeting also features the running of two heats of the Grafton to Lismore series over 480 metres. Each of these events look to be tough affairs as evidenced by the Coutts Crossing General Store Heat1 which contains numerous winning chances.
The three best of these, Billy Bond, Hangover Harry and Orara Lea, have each drawn poorly in boxes 3,4 and 5 respectively. It is difficult to see which of these runners will obtain a clear run from their squeeze-box draws. Billy Bond has been disappointing in his runs over 520 metres at Lismore but local racegoers will remember his impressive maiden victory here back in July of 2009 when creating quite an impression. If he can return to that form he will prove hard to beat.
Hangover Harry has also been disappointing over 520 metres at Lismore when failing to run the distance out strongly, but should find the 480-metre journey here at Grafton more to his liking. Orara Lea just continues to draw poorly. From an outside or even inside draw, it would have started the favourite in this line-up.
The Matt Dougherty Bookmaker Heat 2 is almost as tough, on paper. The main hopes have drawn much better in this with the Robert Andrews-trained With Interest narrowly getting the nod from his suitable box 8 draw.
While not boasting an overly impressive winning strike rate of four wins from 40 starts, With Interest has been racing consistently and gets a chance to chalk up win number five here today.
The testing material should come from either the Sandra McSkimming-trained Omagh, which has drawn perfectly in box 1, or the Gary Cluss-trained Surfer Richie, which ran a very nice second here over 480 metres last week.
The Terry Marskell Bookmaker Free For All over 480 metres has drawn together a hot field of sprinters which would not be out of place on any city-class race meeting at Albion Park in Brisbane or at Wentworth Park in Sydney.
The main players will be Orara Flash for Gary Smith in box 8, Supreme Allegro for Neville Robson in box 4 and Kulu Flame for John Clarson, well drawn in the 1 box.
The selection is for Supreme Allegro, which is backing up from an easy win at Lismore through the week in smart time and also has the pace to lead – worth lengths in this strong event. Orara Flash is the testing material and is the quickest greyhound in the race but she will need a little early luck to find clear running on the tricky corner start, while from box 1, Kulu Flame will look to be a winning chance at some stage.
Punters looking for a return late in the day look set to pin their hopes on another of the Gary Smith-trained runners in the shape of Orara Jack.
Sitting up nicely in box 7 with a moderate beginner inside him in the 6 and the 5 box vacant, Orara Jack should get enough room early to display his explosive turn of foot and be too strong for the likes of Kulu Royal.