The Queensland Winter Carnival features have come and gone, but the state is gearing up for another big month of chasing action in August. Nominations closed on Thursday for the 2017 UBET National Sprint and Distance Series. Greyhounds will qualify through their respective State series with one representative from each of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia progressing to the finals of both the Sprint and Distance Championships. A National Wildcard will also be awarded for both the Sprint and Distance series following the finalization of the results of each State’s qualifiers. The highest ranked State Finalist not to qualify will receive the Wildcard nomination for the respective Grand Finals.
The two Grand Finals, worth $75,000 to the winner at Group 1 level, will be held at Albion Park on Friday night, August 25.
Thirty-four nominations were received for the Queensland series of the National Sprint (520m), headlined by 2016 Brisbane Cup winner Thirty Talks. Tony Brett’s brindle chaser has been off the scene since injuring a back muscle in the final of the Group 1 Silver Chief Classic at The Meadows in January, but has been trialling in preparation for a tilt at the series. Leading trainer Brett has a strong hand to play in the Sprint, with recent Group 1 Winter Cup winner Fast Times, Jury, Magooley, Opal Nera, Split Image and Zabdon Ferrari rounding out his seven-strong contingent.
Other prominent nominations include Vince Curry Memorial Maiden Winner Fire To Rain (Christopher Riordon), Dave Brett Memorial Maiden winner Jackson Benz (Gary Pettersen), Flying Amy Classic winner Shoes To Fill (Terrence Auckram), Queensland Derby winner Rather Dapper (John McCarthy) and dual Group 1 placegetter Bubble Guppy (Tony Apap).
Apap’s veteran Outside Pass also appears amongst the nominations, but she is a dual nomination for both the Sprint and Distance Series. Outside Pass has performed admirably in recent times over both sprint and middle-distance journeys; making the final of the Group 1 Winter Cup over 520m and recently recording a 34.65 win over the 600m trip but she is untried beyond 600m.
The National Distance series (710m) has attracted fourteen nominations, headlined by multiple Group 1 placegetter and cult hero Cyndie’s Magic. Bill Elson’s charge was spelled after another quality Winter Carnival in which she placed in the Group 1 Gold Cup (710m) behind superstar Fanta Bale and a third in the Superstayers Invitational over the same distance behind Burn One Down.
The evergreen Big Easy Red will also have a tilt at qualifying for his second consecutive National Distance Final after representing Queensland in last year’s showpiece at Angle Park in South Australia. He is arguably in the form of his career, with a recent runner-up performance in June’s UBET Gold Cup which earned him a nomination for the Superstayers Invitational.
Winter Chase winner Champagne Sally and Gold Cup finalist Jalapeno also provide depth to the nominations.
The Queensland Sprint and Distance series will commence with heats on 10 August, with the final of each to be run on August 17.
As Queensland is hosting this year’s Grand Finals, the first two greyhounds home in both the Sprint and Distance Series will progress to the National Final on August 25.
The Queensland Sprint and Distance nominations are as follows:
|National Sprint||National Distance|
Fire To Rain
Go Lassie Go
Moment To Shine
Roll So Deep
Shoes To Fill
Big Easy Red
Say Good Day
Note: * denotes dual acceptor