Last Saturday promised so much and it certainly never let anyone down, with a fantastic night of greyhound racing at The Meadows occurring. It was the veteran galloper Fernando Mick, trained by master Lara conditioner David Geall, taking out the Group 1 Australian Cup (525m), leading throughout and in doing so, making amends for his very narrow defeat in the 2002 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park in November, when he was cut down in the last stride by Yachi Bale. Not many greyhounds are still racing at four years of age, let alone winning one of the most prestigious group races in the country, so all credit must go to his trainer David Geall. Over the last ten years, Geall trained greyhounds have dominated right across the country, despite the kennels being relatively small in comparison to many of the larger operations. Greyhounds such as Up Hill Jill, My Redeemer, Koblenz, Ferdinand Boy, and now Fernando Mick, are greyhounds that have certainly helped put the Geall name up in lights, and very worthy of all the praise being bestowed upon Geall. And it was another Lara based trainer, Danny Gibbons, winning the Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers (730m) final with Ariarne Bale, providing the kennel with their first Group 1 success after many near misses. Ariarne Bale gave a dominant front running display and the manner in which she won gives every indication that will not be her last success at group level. Another Gibbons trained galloper, Kelsey Bale, was breathtaking in taking out the Cup Consolation (525m), over coming a slow start to destroy a high quality field in very fast time. It certainly was a great night of racing.
Tonight we have racing at Dapto, Albion Park, Sandown Park, Warrnambool, Hobart, Angle Park and Mandurah, with the highlight being the commencement of The Country Classic series, a middle distance event with heats conducted at eight tracks across the state, culminating in the semi finals and finals being held at Dubbo. The Dapto heat kicks off proceedings tonight, and what a fabulous race it promises to be, but a tough race to find the winner. We do think we have identified some nice winners tonight for our followers, a couple at very nice odds too.
Albion Park Race 1 No 3 Wendy Rocks $1.75 at PlayUp – Huge run here last week when storming home in going down by the barest of margins in a strong race. That was just her third race start, and she has improved significantly with each run. We think she will be well suited tonight drawn closer to the rails than her wide draw last week. She hits the line very well. Highly promising and she should have little trouble accounting for this lot tonight.
Sandown Park Race 3 No 7 Mepunga Roz $2.70 at PlayUp – Much to like about her effort here last Thursday, when she finished a close up third after being slow out and encountering some early trouble. Lightly raced but is showing real promise. Member of a very strong kennel. This does look to be her race.
Albion Park Race 2 No 2 Jen’s Joy $3.10 at PlayUp – Another lightly raced youngster who broke her maiden status last start when a six length winner at this track over the 395 metre trip. Looked very strong to the line and tailed hard, so the inside draw is a positive. Very winnable race.
Sandown Park Race 4 No 7 Ride The Thunder $2.90 at PlayUp – Very gifted chaser, a dog we believe has a group win in him in the future. Capable of running flying times with a clear run. Resumed from a spell last week at Warragul, flashing home late for third in fast time. Better suited at this track and distance.
Sandown Park Race 6 No 2 Great Guy $2.15 at PlayUp – Stepping up to the 715 metre trip for the first time but gives every indication that he will be well suited. Loves racing at Sandown Park, winning seven times from twelve starts. Has recorded fast wins over the middle distance so should be able to set up a big lead mid race . Inside draw is favourable. Looks the best bet of the night to us.
Sandown Park Race 8 No 8 Hara’s Skipper $4.20 at PlayUp – Very promising stayer in the making, who excels when racing at the Sandown track. His recent wins over the sprint trip here were electrifying. Very strong. Yes it is an awkward draw, but he has the class to overcome it. Nice odds on offer.
Dapto Race 11 No 1 Rockstar Louise $2.50 at PlayUp – Finally gets the box draw she requires, as she crashes to the rails shortly after box rise. Has lots of speed, so she will hold the rails in the short run to the first bend. In good hands. She will start much shorter in the market than pre post odds. Good way to finish off the night.