Race 5’s Cheeky Nera goes on to win from Only Time on Saturday.
Race 5’s Cheeky Nera goes on to win from Only Time on Saturday. Lynne Mowbray

Orbison sings a winning song

HE CAME, he saw and he conquered.

Queensland visitor Orbison set the track alight at the Grafton Greyhound race meeting on Saturday.

Race caller Bob Lane put it beautifully in the run when describing Orbison as being ‘right on song’ as he set a new first section record for the 480m journey of 12.15 seconds before maintaining the rage enroute to a track record breaking time of 27.01 seconds.

This win took the talented son of Surf Lorian-Niagara Girl overall record to an impressive 17 starts for eight wins and it is certain that Orbison will go on to bigger and better things.

Bellbird Park chased her heart out to finish a creditable five-and three-quarter length second while Orara Magic was third.

The feature event of the day was the GRNSW Blue Paws Maiden final where the Jim Madigan-trained Cheeky Nera came out on top of a very even field in 23.33 seconds.

Jumping nicely from box 2, Cheeky Nera held all challengers at bay to secure her first career victory in 17 starts but it could not have come at a better time as Cheeky Nera also secured an additional $600 Blue Paws bonus for connections.

Only Time ran a nice race for third while Dateline rounded out the trifecta in the final.

Old Bonalbo trainer Mathew Reid has been riding the crest of a wave in recent times and the trend continued once again with a winning double in two of the three Grafton to Lismore 407m Fifth Grade heats.

The first of these was Sugar Mouth who was able to win the early speed battle over Tender Tears and then just held on to defeat that runner who was coming again on the line by a head with a further neck to the strong finishing Greed Is Good in the time of 23.37 seconds.

Second leg of the winning double was litter brother Monkey Harris who came out of the 1 box absolutely humming before careering away to a speedy eight-and three-quarter length victory in 23.09 seconds.

Monkey Harris is definitely the runner to beat in the final to be held at Lismore on April 23.

Other heat winner Young Mr Grace is highly impressive in his own right and is actually the fastest heat winner courtesy of his 23.02 second heat win however the corner start at Lismore is not to his liking.

Young Mr Grace will need a suitable rails draw and some lucky early on in the final if he is to trouble the likes of Monkey Harris.

A hot field of sprinters faced the starter in the Georges Tree Services Free For All over 407m with punters offering many different opinions on the possible outcome.

In the wash up it was the Gary Smith-trained Orara Jack who prevailed in the fast time of 22.95 seconds.

The key to the race was always going to be how well Orara Jack began as if he stepped cleanly, which he did, from box 1 was always going to be the one to beat.

Tranquil Black fought on well for second just ahead of Grand Canyon who finished third.

The Reg Gardoll-trained Rock Muncher appears to be racing back into form and after finishing second to his sister Sammilicious here last week, went one better today in taking out the Grafton District Services Club Fourth/Fifth Grade over 407m.

Rock Muncher jumped with them and was then able to accelerate through to lead before the turn and eventually ran out a three-length winner over Shalana Girl with Fleet Commander a further three lengths back in third. The Mackelly & Co Fifth Grade over 480m was a keenly contested affair with the judge declaring a dead heat after being unable to split Peg Rose Hi for Trevor Thompson and Our Promise for Gavin Lowe. In fact Trevor Thompson almost featured with a second runner as Sam Rose Hi was just a neck back in third position.

The winners clocked the time of 28.21 seconds. Gary Cluss made a return to the winners circle with Dame Bluebelle defying all comers to take out the Bailey & Gough Mixed grade over 480m. Dame Bluebell raced prominently from the outset and went on to score by one-three-quarter lengths over Manhattan Heat and Impatient Cloud in the time of 27.90 seconds. The two maiden winners were Fire Dancer for John Free who recorded 23.38 seconds and Valdiron who was a popular winner for the punters after being well supported in the betting. Valdiron ran the time 23.60 seconds for his trainer Tracey Lindsay.

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