The Queensland section of the 2016 UBET National Championships kicks off at Albion Park on Thursday night with running of the heats of both the Sprint and Distance Championship series.
The distance series over the 710m has attracted two heats with only five runners, meaning all 10 greyhounds, subject to completing the course without injury, will comprise the final field of eight plus two reserves Thursday week.
Superstar local chaser, and likely series favourite Cyndie’s Magic (Bill Elson) has come up with box eight in the opening heat after impressing all with her versatility over the shorter trips in recent weeks. Her rivals include fellow Gold Cup finalist Vegas Bound (Tony Apap, box one), recent 600m winner Treblig Lucia (Garry Gilbert, box six), Peter Ruetschi’s Got A Brother (box four) and newcomer to the distance journey, String Quartet (Allen Fitzsimmons, box two).
The second heat is highlighted by Ipswich Grand Prix winner Mullaway, who was the Queensland representative in the National Distance Championship last year. Joanne Price’s chaser has had a short spell after finishing down the track behind Cyndie’s Magic in last month’s President’s Cup. He broke the 42 second barrier for the first time in his career back in June and if he is on his game he is the dog to beat. The main dangers appear to be Abby’s Magic (box eight) and Big Easy Red (Rusty Dillon, box four). The heat is rounded out by distance debutants Mr. Cody (Travis Elson) and Smashniak Marcy (George Kadniak) from boxes one and two respectively.
The Sprint Series (520m) is far more open, with three heats and plenty of quality. Each of the three heats has a standout performer who will be looking to progress to Thursday week’s State Final.
Group 1 Winter Cup runner-up Outside Pass for Tony Apap looks the likely favourite from box four in race six, the opening heat. The daughter of Head Bound and Tina’s Show has clocked wins of 29.68 and 29.76 in recent times but is awkwardly drawn and will have to compete with the likes of the pacey Zabdon Ferrari (Tony Brett, box five), Swift Pirate (Serena Lawrance, box six) and the improving Master Corsair (Sid Goodwin, box three).
Richmond Riches winner Thirty Talks (Tony Brett) headlines the second heat, lining up from box eight. The son of Where’s Pedro and Unfinished has put together a stellar career to date, winning 14 of his 20 starts, and accumulating in excess of $145,000 in prizemoney. Macnivek (box two) and Swap Ya (box six) look the main dangers to the favourite.
The final heat looks a race in two between the speedy pair Sheza Keen Size (Peter Ruetschi, box two) and Fabulous Bill (Bill Elson, box three). Rivals to the leading pair include the talented Black Casper (Serena Lawrance, box five) and Issy Cool (Tony Apap, box six).
The top two placegetters in each heat, along with the two fastest thirds, will progress to Thursday week’s final. The winners of both the Sprint and Distance Championships will earn a spot at the National Finals at Angle Park on August 27.
The opening race of ten kicks off at 6:44pm, with the Distance heats races three and four, and the sprint heats races six through eight.