The quality of racing at Albion Park and Traralgon on Thursday certainly lived up to the group status associated with the feature races conducted at both venues. At Albion Park, two heats of the Group 3 Gold Cup (710m) and five heats of the Group 1 Gold Bullion (520m) were run, whilst at Traralgon, Mobile Legend made it two country cups in as many weeks in Victoria when he led throughout to win the Group 2 Traralgon Cup (450m). The Gold Bullion is a relative new race on the Queensland greyhound racing calendar, and despite the lack of support from interstate kennels again this year, the final to be held next Thursday, looks like being a super race. The fastest heat winner was the reigning Ipswich Cup champ Hara’s Herbie, who made full use of his inside draw to record a strong all the way win in a fast 29.64, holding off the Victorian Boo Boo Billy by two lengths. There is little doubt Hara’s Herbie excels when he is drawn close to the rails and connections would be extremely disappointed that he drew the unfavourable six alley in the final, whilst Boo Boo Billy also drew poorly in the blue. Another greyhound who does his best racing from inside draws is the second fastest heat winner Hello Mike, who spaced his rivals in running 29.73, still well outside his best winning time of 29.49. Coming off the back of two poor runs from wide draws, the win would have been a real confidence booster for Hello Mike, and after drawing box two in the final he is sure to start one of the favourites.
Victorian stayer Mepunga Ruby showed her real class at her first start for over a month, when she was far too strong in her heat of the Gold Cup, recording the fastest time of the two heats in running 41.95. There is little doubt that she will take a power of beating in the final next week especially after drawing box two, a draw that should see her in the leading division throughout. West Australian visitor, Superman Keeping, ran 42.08 in winning the other heat, and will be the obvious danger to Mepunga Ruby. Mobile Legend has always displayed outstanding ability but he was considered risky at box rise, but this has all changed in recent months. His win on Thursday was his sixth victory from his last seven starts, his close up third in a heat of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand (461m) bring the only blemish. Should he be able to continue beginning with his present speed and consistency, Mobile Legend is sure to feature prominently in the upcoming Group 1 Australian Cup series to be conducted at The Meadows commencing 11 February. Winners have not been easy to come by over the last few weeks, with a number of very near misses not helping our cause, so let us see if we can experienced a change of fortunes tonight.
Wentworth Park Race 4 No 1 Sir Banjo $2.70 at PlayUp – Racing consistently at this track of late, after a very good second in a heat of the National Derby, he followed up with a strong win from this sane draw last start. Does like to swing wide at the first bend but the draw should help hold him on the track.
Ballarat Race 6 No 1 Battle Royal $5.50 at PlayUp – A member of strong Anthony Azzopardi kennel, who does have very nice ability. Drawn perfectly to get the sit on the expected leader Mr Beets (7), and then we think can prove too strong in the run to the line. Very nice each way odds, hard to see him not running top two.
Wentworth Park Race 7 No 1 Trooper Tears $1.95 at PlayUp – Only having his fifth race start tonight but he does look very promising winning three times to date. Exited box eight here last start and displayed great speed to lead clearly to the first bend and despite tiring late he held on to win. We are expecting that run to improve him significantly, and from the inside draw tonight he should lead and win.
The Meadows Race 6 No 2 Reinforcements $2.10 at PlayUp – Extremely talented greyhound who is a very reliable beginner. Won her heat in fast time from a wide draw but we expect her to go faster tonight drawn closer to the rails. Can run fast times when she is left clear in front. Looks the best bet of the night for us, so make her your banker in all your multi bets tonight.
Wentworth Park Race 9 No 4 Yoko Girl $5.00 at PlayUp – This greyhound is racing as well as she ever has but just keeps finding one a little better. This does look like a very winnable race. With an empty box on her immediate outside, we think she can find the lead early tonight and that should be the race. She is strong late and does her best racing at this track.
The Meadows Race 8 No 3 Kelsey Bale $2.90 at PlayUp – Returns tonight to the track and distance she excels at, winning five from seven starts including a slashing win in the Group 3 Silver Bullet defeating Amron Boy. Nicely drawn. She will be a real player in the upcoming group races at The Meadows and she has a real chance to show how good she is tonight.