New era dawns as races go national
TODAY marks the end of an era of sorts with the last regular Saturday Greyhound meeting at Grafton scheduled to get underway at 1pm.
As has been well publicised, the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club has been recognised by Greyhound Racing New South Wales for it’s continued strong performance over many years by being upgraded to TAB status following the recent Sky Channel expansion.
While the occasional Saturday afternoon meeting will be held, the majority of race meetings will be conducted Thursday afternoons and will be covered live into homes, pubs and clubs on the Sky2 network. This will benefit owners and trainers with increased prizemoney, national coverage and the ability to have a bet on their dogs if unable to make it to the track.
The Grafton Greyhound Racing Club will today play host to the good folk from Coutts Crossing with the running of the Brian Thompson Horse Floats & Trailer Refurbishments Coutts Crossing Cup (407m) highlighting a bumper 12-event program. Two heats of the annual event were conducted last weekend with Sammy’s Tears for Neil Falls and Northern Echo for Reg Gardoll each recording smart wins in these.
First cab of the rank was Sammy’s Tears who defied any thought that she may have had trouble crossing from an outside draw to score comfortably in the smart time of 23.14 seconds. Sammy’s Tears has come up with the coveted box 1 draw for the final and with her early pace is more than capable of causing an upset in this race.
The likely odds on favourite will be Northern Echo, who at first glance could have been a slight risk from his box 6 draw after a tough run at Lismore on Tuesday evening however the two greyhounds drawn on his outside in boxes 7 and 8 are noted moderate beginners which do not possess a lot of early dash. His ability has been well documented and it is difficult to tip against him based on his recent 22.81 and 22.87 second wins here. Rich Debate and Tinsmith can be considered for the minors.
The Jacksons Bobcat Hire Third/ Fourth Grade (407) offers a mouth watering clash between noted speed runners Sammilicious, Jump In and Cool Cyclone. Sammilicious is the proven runner in this grade on this track and courtesy of her inside box draw may be able to hold out her rivals although she has not begun as good as she is able to at her recent starts. Jump In, for Tricia Fuller, and Cool Cyclone, for Marilyn Johnson, are both racing in fine form and it would be no surprise if either of these runners were successful.
Terry Smith has a handy team of youngsters racing at the moment and one of these is Cookie’s Monster which is sitting up nicely in box 1 in the Coutts Crossing General Store 5th Grade (407m). Cookie’s Monster is a member of the Elite State - Keira’s Lucky litter which Terry bred and as a maiden winner also off box 1 in a quick 23.13 seconds should prove tough to beat in this. Toughest opposition should come from the Mick Patterson-trained Stand Tall which is a winner here in 23.20 seconds and Feelin The Chill for Bev DeBono.
The new 305 metre distance continues to be well supported and one greyhound who has taken a real shining to it is Ebony Renegade. The Jim Madigan-trained sprinter has recorded two from two over the journey and is not poorly drawn out in the 8 box. Although there has only been a handful of races over this distance, Ebony Renegade has recorded the quickest time for the 305 metres of 17.71 seconds.
The interesting runner in the race is the Robert Andrews trained Go Hard. Go Hard is the litter brother to the Easter Maiden winner Vard’s Choice and if he has some of that greyhounds ability he could be the testing material.
The Coutts Crossing Fishing Club Fifth Grade (407m) looks to be a good betting race on paper with many chances. The Rick Godwin-trained Rich Harmony was heavily supported last week when all the way winner in 23.23 seconds and is likely to start a narrow favourite. The Robert Alchin-trained Ratatouille could be the big improver as she ran an eye catching second when well supported at her first run this track and is likely to be further improved despite being unplaced at Lismore on Tuesday.
Other live hopes in the race are Jack Adios which found 305 metre trouble last week while Bentley Black is another runner stepping back up to the 407 metre trip and could show some early zip.