Leading Melbourne trainer Jeff Britton's greyhounds have strong chances in each heat of the Ladbrokes National Futurity and National Derby age classics on Friday night, among them the aptly-named Major Innings, part-owned by Aussie cricketing legend Ricky Ponting.
Wentworth Park will host three heats of the Group 1 National Futurity and four qualifying races for the Group 1 National Derby, with the young bitches and dogs striving for a place in $75,000 to the winner finals on Saturday, February 2.
Britton's Futurity entries are Circle Of Dreams (box 1, heat 1), Flossing (box 2, heat 2) and Oakvale Magic (box 7, heat 3) while his Derby hopefuls are Azel Footluce (box 3, heat 1), He's For Me (box 3, heat 2), Crackerjack Skip (box 1, heat 3) and Major Innings (box 2, heat 4).
"Circle Of Dreams trialled 30.23s at Wenty and I was happy with that because she stumbled at the start,'' Britton said.
"She is ideally drawn and has good early pace.
"Flossing is very fast early but is a bit weak at the finish of her races.
"She has been consistently clocking five seconds flat to the first mark at Sandown and when you do that you lead in 99 per cent of your races.
"Oakvale Magic gets away okay and is a keen competitor, she actually goes better in races than she does in trials.
"I would have preferred her drawn nearer the rails but if she gets a cart across she will be hard to beat.
"She is down in class because in Melbourne she has been racing stars like Poke The Bear and I reckon she can get down to around 30 or 30.10 at Wentworth Park.
"Axel Footluce is just a handy dog but he is also a good competitor, while He's For Me is usually a fast beginner.
"He has improved in recent weeks and when he clocked 29.58s winning at Sandown in mid-December I decided to set him for this race.
"Crackerjack Skip has won at The Meadows in 29.90s which is pretty handy and he has drawn super, he grows a leg from box one.
"Ricky Ponting's dog Major Innings can miss the jump but he has a heap of pace once he hits the ground and his most recent run, when he finished second at Sandown on January 17, earned him the trip to Sydney.''
Most open of the Futurity heats is the third run-off, where Britton's Oakvale Magic takes on fellow Victorian Start A Riot (box six) and Queenslanders Common Ground (one) and Dam Slippery (eight).
Start A Riot trialled a slick 30.14 at WP last week and while she prefers an inside draw trainer Keith Hellmuth is encouraged by her having a vacant box next to her in five.
"She is usually pretty quick out of the boxes although the different starts between Melbourne and Sydney can trip Victorian dogs when they come to Wenty,'' Hellmuth said.
Common Ground is perfectly positioned in box one and trainer Warren Nicholls believes she can improve sharply on her seemingly disappointing Wentworth Park trial time of 30.44s.
"I drove from Queensland to Sydney and virtually took her straight out of the car onto the track, so I expect her to go a lot better in her race, especially from the rails alley,'' Nicholls said.
Best NSW prospects in the Futurity heats loom as Sorry Scott, (box 2, heat 1) and Bland Purr (box 4, heat 2).
Sorry Scott has won her past three Wentworth Park races in sub-30s while Bland Purr is a strong finishing wide runner who will appreciate having a vacant box on her right.
Fantastic Yankee (box 2) and Caishen (box 4) are the "form'' locals in heat 1 of the Derby while in heat 2 Jimmy Casey (box 1) and Gharb (box 6) have good credentials.
Tap Out Dusty (box 2) and Charlie Casey (box 5) go into heat 3 with solid form while northern rivers dog Fernando Blaster (box 6) and Cawbourne Madox (7) are expected to go well in heat 4.
Best Bet Federal Lilly (race 1)
Best Value Start A Riot (race 4)
Quaddie race 5 - 2, 4, 1
Race 6 - 1, 3, 6
Race 7 - 2, 1
Race 8 - 7, 2, 6
$20 for 37.03%