Watch the Valley (No.1) races ahead of Fine Thought on the way to winning Heat 1 of the Life Members Country Challange.
Watch the Valley (No.1) races ahead of Fine Thought on the way to winning Heat 1 of the Life Members Country Challange.

Gelignite blasts rivals

GELIGNITE Kid returned from an almost four-month spell to run the quickest time of Saturday’s three exciting Life Members Country Challenge heats at Grafton on Saturday.

The Darren Russel-trained speedster recorded 23.06 seconds for the 407 metres after jumping from box two and bounding straight to the lead.

Gelignite Kid has now had nine starts at Grafton over the 407 metre trip for five wins and three placings.

Runner-up in the heat, I’m The Man, ruined his chances by beginning slowly and finished four lengths back, with Sunshine Bill in third.

Allegro Charm, trained by one of the Northern Rivers’ senior trainers, Neville Robson, began heat two well from box four to be chasing the early leader Pink Character, trained by Jim Gallaway to the home turn.

Allegro Charm then went to the lead and won by a length and a quarter in 23.11.

Runner-up Pink Character is a five-year-old racing almost as well as ever, while third place went to Mystical Mandy, trained by Des Gilroy, who was having her first start at Grafton and will no doubt benefit from her look at the track.

Debbie Winters, wife of Clarence Valley Sheds owner Des, led in the other heat winner when Watch The Valley showed the way from the baxes to prevail in 23.30.

Watch The Valley took advantage of some interference at the first turn to race clear entering the straight then held off Fine Thought, trained by Mark Wilcox to win by a half length, with the fast finishing Orara Flash, trained by Gary Smith, a head away third after being a long last to leave the boxes.

The field for this Saturday’s final is: Watch The Valley, Fine Thought, Allegro Charm, Pink Character, Gelignite Kid, I’m The Man, Orara Flash, Mystical Mandy, 1st res Sunshine Bill and 2nd res Lethal Mariska.

The box draw to be conducted at GRNSW on Wednesday will play a big part in the outcome of this race, which offers a prize of $5000 to the winner.

Dawn Breaker, trained by Mark Wilcox, cut across the face of the field past the 407 metre boxes to set up what proved to be a winning break in the MacKelley & Co non-graded over 480 metres, Dawn breaker won by a length in 27.72.

The John Clarson-trained Kulu Flame made it three wins in a row at Grafton when she won the Henwoods Hot Bread Shop fifth grade. Outpaced early, Kulu Flame had to dig deep to beat Cool Cyclone, trained by Marilyn Johnson, by two and a quarter lengths in 23.21.

Genista Apache, trained by Neil Falls, railed too well for her opposition in the Al’s Mechanical fifth grade to win by a head in 23.18.

Surfer Richie was another to jump in front and lead all the way in the L.J. Hooker Grafton fifth grade over 480 metres, winning by two and a half lengths in 27.82.

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