HE’S HOPEFUL: Stratheden trainer Allan Lang, with champion runner Weekend Binge, returns to the Grafton track tonight with  Put Thongs On, a tough runner  in the first 1-3 Wins heat of the night.
HE’S HOPEFUL: Stratheden trainer Allan Lang, with champion runner Weekend Binge, returns to the Grafton track tonight with Put Thongs On, a tough runner in the first 1-3 Wins heat of the night. Contributed

Strong heats mark a return to racing at Grafton

THE Grafton Greyhound Racing Club resumes with a strong 11-race program highlighted by three heats of the Pullen’s Produce 1-3 win series over 407 metres.

As the name would suggest, the heat and final series is open to fifth grade greyhounds with 1-3 wins and there are some smart young greyhounds engaged in what should be an enthralling series.

Heat one looks to be a match in three between Put Thongs On from the all-conquering Allan Lang stable, Gundiva for Michael Creighton and Maelly Valley for Zane Cruickshank. Put Thongs On has taken a real liking to the Grafton circuit, having scored two wins from just three career outings at the track. Typically a moderate beginner, the son of El Grand Senor and Kingsbrae Di makes full use of the long back straight to put himself in a prominent position and from box 8 today he should get every chance to do that once again.

While Put Thongs On has shown tremendous track sense, he does give the impression that box 8 is the box he has been crying out for and it would be no surprise if he was to improve on his personal best time of 23.14 seconds in his heat tonight.

The speed in the race looks to come from Gundiva which has drawn box 5 and it could be expected to be leading this field for the majority of the journey. Gundiva has recorded some smart times at Lismore when able to lead and she will prove a tough nut to run down this evening; however, she is yet to win at Grafton so there must be some question marks on exactly what time she can run here at Grafton.

Maelly Valley has shown she is right at her peak following a good 24.18-second stewards trial at Lismore recently. However she has recorded just the one race victory from nine outings here and will have to contend with Gundiva, which is drawn outside her, and that greyhound does like to cross left from the boxes soon after it jumps.

On paper, heat number two looks to be a great race for the Gary Smith-trained Orara Wal.

Orara Wal is not blessed with brilliant early speed so he will need a touch of luck in the run to the first turn; however, if able to secure clear running, he will prove the greyhound to beat on the back of his 23.24-second best time at the venue. Box 3 should suit and in a race devoid of a lot of early speed he may just find himself where he needs to be in the early stages.

The third and final heat is a much more difficult affair with any number of live chances engaged. The Sonia Kempshall-trained Slender Jappa is probably the greyhound to beat as he is an experienced campaigner on the track, has reliable early speed and is a winner here in 23.18 seconds.

Mabilis Aso from the Reg Gardoll kennel will have plenty of admirers as she is a winner of one of her only two starts here at Grafton in 23.38 seconds and should be fresh for this, having not raced for a month while Ricardo Valley for Des Winters and All Apache for Ross Stephens will also be well-supported in the betting and a win from any of these greyhounds would not surprise.

The Carters Canine Capers stakes over 610 metres will be another exciting affair and all eyes will be on the Andrew Monaghan-trained Obi Kenobi which does look to be a handy stayer in the making.

Stepping up to 610 metres for the first time, Obi Kenobi has been seen rattling home over the 500-metre distances at Albion Park and Ipswich and from box 1 the tight railing youngster should be powering to the line when it matters most.



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