WHILE the four semi-finals of the $250,000 to the final winner Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg highlighted Saturday night's Wentworth Park card the astonishing course record smashing win by Tornado Tears in a heat of the group 1 Association Cup was the talk of the track.
Trained in Victoria by Robbie Britton for the NSW central coast-based Millmi Syndicate, Tornado Tears, who can be risky at box rise, came out running and produced the fastest 720m ever posted at Wentworth Park.
Xylia Allen, another Victorian-trained, NSW-owned greyhound, had held the record of 41.53 for five years, but Tornado Tears shattered those figures, stopping the clock at 41.38 after leading throughout.
Sydney's best stayer Poco Dorado was gallant in defeat, chasing Tornado Tears all the way but going down by nearly seven lengths.
Poco Dorado's kennelmates and siblings Blue Moon Rising and Veloce Nero had to be content with second and third placings in the other Association Cup heat, with Dyna Chancer, trained in Victoria by Correy Grenfell, scoring by just under a length in 41.94.
It was a big night for Victorian greyhounds with Blue Striker setting the time standard of 29.58 in running down Miss Splendamiro in the fourth Easter Egg semi-final.
Miss Splendamiro carved out brilliant splits of 5.41, 13.71 and 17.79 but went under by a length to Blue Striker, who had the drop on her all the way.
Not far behind Blue Striker on the clock was the Peter Lagogiane-trained Federal Lilly, who produced sectionals of 5.42, 13.71 and 17.82 and led throughout in the third semi-final in 29.65.
Federal Lilly left outsider Banjo Tifia three lengths in her wake at the finish.
The Jason Mackay-trained Zipping Bailey staged a last-to-first performance to win her Easter Egg semi in 29.81, defeating pacemaker Irinka Lizzy, while Black Opium, runner-up in the Melbourne and Australian Cups, edged out Maitland Gold Cup winner Black Forge in the opening semi-final in 30.03.
Federal Lilly has drawn box five in the Easter Egg final and trainer Peter Lagogiane is delighted.
"I honestly wanted box five with her and was hoping she would draw inside Miss Splendamiro, who has box eight, so I'm happy,'' Lagogiane said.
Miss Splendamiro will have to run around Federal Lilly to win but the David Geall-trained bitch has a great record from box eight, having won five of 11 starts wearing the pink rug.
Marty Hallinan, owner of Zipping Bailey, conceded his bitch would "need luck'' from box six in the Easter Egg.
"She has got to come out better than she did in her semi-final, she can't come from last and win an Easter Egg final,'' Hallinan said.
"Hopefully Zipping Bailey will jump better but she is still going to need luck from box six.''
Forbes trainer Raymond Smith has Irinka Lizzy in box two in the Easter Egg, Little Digger in the same draw in next Saturday's group 1 Association Cup, and Feral Franky in the rails box in Saturday's group 3 New Sensation _ an outstanding training achievement.
Box draw for the Easter Egg is 1 Black Opium 2 Irinka Lizzy 3 Black Forge 4 Banjo Tifia 5 Federal Lilly 6 Zipping Bailey 7 Blue Striker 8 Miss Splendamiro with reserves Sunburnt Highway and Fabwik.
Box draw for the Association Cup is 1 Poco Dorado 2 Little Digger 3 Veloce Nero 4 Book Of Luck 5 Blue Moon Rising 6 Tornado Tears 7 Dyna Chancer 8 Kanzan with reserves Bago Bye Bye and Boom Down.
New Sensation box draw is 1 Feral Franky 2 King Cratos 3 Boxcar Bella 4 Cawbourne Matty 5 Nangar Diva 6 Campini 7 Twice As Nice 8 Cee Jay's Boy with reserves Telegraph Road and Young Buster.