Vard's Choice is chosen one

A HOT FIELD of youngsters lined up in the final of the Kleenheat Easter Maiden Final at the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club and it was the Shane Robinson-trained Vard’s Choice who proved to be victorious in the $2000 to the winner event. In previous years some smart greyhounds have emerged from the Easter Maiden series and there is no doubt that this will be the case once again.

Beautifully drawn in box 1, Vard’s Choice made all the running after a good beginning and although strongly challenged near the post by the Darryl Schafer-trained Steptoe Trick, held on well to score by a neck over that runner.

Ten In Ten finished on nicely without threatening for third. Keep on eye on these youngsters as there are bigger things in store.

Racing commenced over 305 metres with two events held over this distance and each of the races were cleanly run affairs with little interference.

The first of these was the Westlawn Finance Maiden where the Bob Cooke-trained Nice Quality proved too strong in the run home defeating Hy Brumby with Pelt a close third.

The time for the journey was 18.04 seconds and as the first race over that journey stood as the record. Bob joked that the ‘track record holder’ was for sale for the right price.

The second race over the 305 metres was the Clarence Valley Sheds Fourth/ Fifth Grade and this was taken out by the Jim Madigan-trained Cheeky Nera which was the start of a winning treble for Jim.

Cheeky Nera began fairly from box 3 but secured clear running early to set out after the leader Bentley Black before finishing too powerfully in the home straight.

Cheeky Nera took out the race in 17.71 seconds over Bentley Black with King Neptune in third. Pleasingly, each of these events were cleanly run affairs with both winners coming from behind to win.

The other duo to salute for Jim were Cheeky Nera in the Dinky Di Web Design Mixed Grade over 480 metres and Shalana Magic which took out the Jack Demmery Bus Services Fourth/Fifth Grade over the same distance.

Cheeky Nera flew out of box 2 and benefited from plenty of interference behind her before eventually recording a four-length win over Rapid Nikita with Impatient Cloud in third.

The time for the journey was 27.71 seconds. Shalana Magic ran a similar race by beginning well from box 1, and although challenged early on by Diana Trick, eventually ran out a comfortable four-and-a-quarter length winner in 27.55 seconds.

Addsun finished on very strongly for Bob Humphries in an eye catching run while Diana Trick held on for third.

Just like his name suggests, Northern Echo is a young greyhound which we are going to hear of time and time again based on his scintillating near track record performance in the Matt Dougherty Grafton to Lismore Heat 1.

After safely exiting box 6, Northern Echo won the early speed battle with Chasing Slater before racing away for an ever increasing six-and-a-half length win over that runner in the flying time of 22.81 seconds.

Finishing in third was Smacko for Dean Turley. Given that Northern Echo already has form on the Lismore circuit he is going to prove very hard to beat indeed.

Neil Falls has been racing at Grafton without any good luck at all recently and it appears that the tide may have turned as Sammy’s Tears cleared out for a strong win in the Tomsy’s Timbers Heat 2.

Recording the quick time of 23.16 seconds, Sammy’s Tears showed her true ability but will find need some more luck in the final if she is to lower the colours Northern Echo. Kulu Ice was four lengths away in third with Lotza Dazzle in third.

A spirited finish eventuated in the Great Northern Hotel Heat 3 with Fire Dancer narrowly holding out Tinsmith by a head with the unlucky Ratatuille a further nose back in third.

Taking nothing away from the John Free-trained winner but Ratatuoille was noticably checked by that runner on the first turn and did a great job to get so close at the finish while Tinsmith also rattled home from well back. The time for the race was 23.43 seconds.

Local trainer Terry Smith lead in a winning double with his littermates Cookie’s Monster and Lucky Tommai recording quick maiden victories.

Each of his runners contested the Kleenheat Easter Maiden heats without luck and highlights the quality youngsters which will emerge from this series.

Cookie’s Monster led all the way in 23.13 seconds in defeating Two Step Dude and Big Wendel while Lucky Tommai wore down the early leader Rich Harmony in 23.17 seconds with Kulu Storm in third. Terry bred these runners from his smart former race bitch Keira’s Lucky.

Our top graded race for the day was the Xavier Sullivan Rhinos Captain/Coach Free For All and this was taken out by the Gary Smith-trained Orara Jack.

A wholehearted chaser with genuine speed, Orara Jack has now won seven out of his last eight starts at Grafton and is racing in a rich vein of form. Orara Jack recorded 23.01 seconds in defeating the strong Tommy Cash by two lengths with a further five lengths back to Corporal O’Reilly in third.

Queensland trainer Darren Russell rarely ventures to Grafton without success and High Energy ensured that the status quo remained.

Backers wouldn’t have been confident in the run as High Energy was midfield early before seemingly blowing the whistle as the seas parted and the son of Bit Chili-Tears Of Jupiter swept away to score by over 10 lengths from Marammon for Craig Carragher and Kulu Rebel rounding out a treble of placegetters for John Clarson.

High Energy is bred to run a longer distance and appears certain that the longer journey will be his forte.

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