THE Country Challenge series came to Grafton on Saturday and as a result the racing was the best seen outside our July Carnival.
Four Heats of the Country Challenge were decided with the fastest heat winner being the Dave Irwin-trained Vanderlin.
Vanderlin was second last to leave the boxes, but went very quick along the back to be chasing the early leader Corporal O'Reily at the first turn.
Vanderlin then railed inside Corporal O'Reily on the home turn and raced away to win by three and three quarter lengths in the best time of the day 22.89.
Considering that Vanderlin was having his first official start at Grafton, his 22.89 run was full of merit.
The greyhound that is currently in second place on the Country Challenge leader board, Cashmere Queen, was also very impressive with her win.
Having her first start at the track the Dianne Craig pocket dynamo used box one to advantage to lead at the first turn and then hold on strongly to beat the Brad Northfield-trained Go Wild Me by a length in 23.06.
It must be remembered that Go Wild Me was a last start winner at Casino in 27.24 and has won at Albion Park in 30.17, so the effort of Cashmere Queen will put her right in the final next week.
Local greyhound I'm The Man, trained by Barry Walters, proved that his wins against fifth grade company in the past were no flukes when he led at the first turn only to be joined by the runner-up Nice Way, trained by Bob Cooke, in the straight.
But I'm The Man wasn't to be denied he dug deep and came again to win by a head in 23.21.
This young dog that they bred is going to win plenty of races for Robyn and Barry.
Another local greyhound, Not Too Shabby, trained by Les Purnell also proved her win at the last meeting was no fluke when she led from the first turn to win her heat by a head from the Brad Northfield-trained Bralyn Tort in 23.30.
Not Too Shabby has been a good money spinner for Les and her connections winning 17 races from 37 starts.
The runner-up Bralyn Tort is a litter mate to I'm The Man this gives the litter two in to next week's final.
Three heats of the Grafton to Lismore fifth grade series were also decided.
The Reg Gardoll Rock Muncher easily went the quickest in the heats winning the Beaurepaires heat by five and a half lengths from Civil Raider, trained by Pat Lavis, in 23.04.
Rock Muncher has only had the five starts for three wins a second and a third one of those wins was at Albion Park in a quick 22.96.
Diamonds Amore, trained by Gary Clarke, was soon in front in the Westlawn Finance heat and won easily by five and a half lengths from Ora Flash trained by Gary Smith in 23.32.
In the Pullens Produce heat Gary Smith was able to turn the tables on Gary Clarke when Orara Boss swept past Hayville Joker in the straight to win by two and a quarter lengths in 23.32.
The Croppers Automotive 610 metre race had plenty of action and when the line was reached the judge couldn't separate In Reverse, trained by Athol Bradley and Jay Cee Marshall, trained by Denise Robinson, resulting in a dead heat in 36.39.
Crikey Cloud trained by Gavin Lowe had to work hard to win the L J Hooker fourth and fifth grade over 480 metres, Crikey Cloud won by two and a half lengths in 27.99.
Woombah trainer Colin Kempshall was rewarded for his patience when Our Star Twirly won the Henwood's Hot Bread Shop maiden by three lengths in 23.52