WHEN the box draw came out late last week for the Grafton Greyhound race meeting held on Thursday it became instantly obvious that trainer Darryl Schafer looked set for a mighty day and that is exactly the way things panned out.
Supporters of the Schafer kennel were on good terms with themselves early in the day with Caramel Trick scoring a tough win in the first event, the Phil McLennan Earthmoving stake over 305m.
Caramel Trick got up at the huge odds of $46 last week and while she was never going to start near that price in this, her winning dividend off box 1 was quite respectable. Caramel Trick comfortably held Knocka's Barmaid and Weaving Wonders at bay in the time of 17.92 seconds.
Next cab off the rank was to be Elly Mae Trick, which lined up from box 1 in the Clarence Valley Sheds Maiden over 407m, and despite being a beaten favourite at her recent runs, punters still unloaded with the speedy youngster going to the boxes as a prohibitive $1.40 favourite.
Those who took the tomato sauce odds were never in danger as she led throughout to defeat Splash Of Paint and Amber Cash in 23.38 seconds.
The Village Green Hotel final over 480m which was the feature event of the day was the next to fall under the Schafer spell when Stone Arch defied his $10.80 price on the NSW TAB to score impressively.
In a race which looked very tough to assess with an abundance of early speed, Stone Arch was able to come out on top in the early speed battle and although tiring in the run to the line he had simply set up too much of a lead for his rivals to run him down. Sartorial Cloud ran on well for second with Petie Pie an honest third in the time of 27.52 seconds.
The final leg of the winning quartet was Nancy Trick which looked to be one of the better bets on the program in the Al's Mechanical Stake over 407m.
Not the best to begin, Nancy Trick quickly rounded up the early leader, Hanify's Gem, on the turn to race away to a solid 3.5-length win over Story To Tell with Hanify's Gem in third in the time of 23.19 seconds.
It was very nearly win number five for Darryl in the Sedgers Reef Hotel 5th grade with Schapelle Trick finishing a fighting second to the Reg Gardoll-trained Barrons Best which relished an inside box draw by leading pretty much all of the way at the juicy odds of $9.90 for the last start winner. Barrons Best defeated Schapelle Trick and Royal Victory in the time of 23.37 seconds.
Premier trainer Dave Irwin would have to be suitably chuffed with the performance of his former star Orbison in the J & C Bullen Roofing 3/4th grade.
The former top-liner and current 480m track record-holder had the world at his feet before succumbing to serious injury and after some 17 months of patience-testing setbacks it was time to bring Orbison back to the track.
Dave would have been more than happy to see a forward showing from this talented fellow but he did more than that by making his comeback a successful one in defeating a smart line up in the equal best time of the day of 23.04 seconds.
What is next only time will tell but it was great to see Orbison return in such an impressive manner.
Sharing time honours for the day for the 407m journey was the Sonia Kempshall-trained Sootica which took out the Beaurepaires 5th grade.
Supporters would have hoped to see Sootica to go straight to the front but she really had to work hard to take up that roll on the turn so her effort in running 23.04 seconds was very good and should be back in the winner's circle before too long. Kennel mate Nasty Kantasta was second with One Shy in third.
Local trainer Michael Menken has his greyhound Mentawai racing in great heart of late and he backed up from a smart win at Lismore on Tuesday evening with an even more impressive win at Grafton two days later.
Mentawai scored an ever widening 12.75-length win over Tramontano and Thunder Vale in the quick time of 27.27 seconds for the 480m journey.
This is a time which is rarely achieved at Grafton and his run home time was within one length of the record.