by Jeff Collerson
Magic Earner and Lord Golec's home track advantage in Saturday night's Ladbrokes National Distance Championship final at Wentworth Park could mean nothing with Victorian trainer Jamie Ennis declaring the Glebe circuit is Lady Toy's favourite track.
"She loves the place, for some reason she goes better there than anywhere else,'' Ennis said yesterday.
"I am really happy with her box eight draw because from there Lady Toy should be up near the lead from the word go.
"Deadly Boy, who has drawn inside Lady Toy in box seven, crashes to the left when the boxes open.
"On form, and in terms of class, Lady Toy and Sweet It Is, Victoria's other finalist, should run the quinella.
"From what I've seen of Magic Earner when she was racing in Melbourne, she is not quite up to the class of Sweet It Is and my bitch.''
Lady Toy, who has won 21 of 71 starts, was run down by Sweet It Is in the Victorian final of the Distance Championship on August 8.
But she has the better draw on Saturday night and broke the 42sec barrier in her first two Wentworth Park appearances, backing up Ennis' declaration that Lady Toy does indeed "love Wenty.''
After winning in 41.85sec and 41.90sec there Lady Toy led when beaten less than a length by Space Star in the final of the AAA Radiator Specialists Association Cup on April 4.
Braden Finn, trainer of Sweet It Is, was hoping for boxes one or eight in Saturday's National final so would be disappointed at getting box three.
But Finn said: "As always Sweet It Is' chances depend on what sort of run she gets through the field.''
Finn, who also owns Sweet It Is, has just one greyhound in work, with the second kennel he has in suburban Melbourne occupied by a brood bitch which he retains as "company'' for his champion stayer.
South Australia's Peter Jovanovic, who has Psychotic Gold in Saturday's final, is the most successful and experienced National Championship trainer with a qualifier this year.
Jovanovic, who has been training greyhounds for 40 years, has not had a starter in the Distance division but has won the National Sprint final a remarkable three times.
"I won with Shayne's Champ at Albion Park in 1996 and before that had been successful with Stetson in 1986 at Angle Park and with Scenic Spa at Sandown a year before that,'' Jovanovic said.
"Psychotic Gold trialled solo in 29.90sec over 520m at Wentworth Park before she had her only race there, when she finished fifth to Space Star in a heat of the Association Cup on March 28.
"She has drawn box four but that won't affect her chances because she never, ever begins smartly.
"Psychotic Gold is a 'run on' greyhound whose prospects hinge on whether she gets a clear passage when she starts making her run.''
While Magic Earner has not bettered 42.15sec in four WP 720m assignments she is an up-and-coming stayer who has won three of her four long-distance races at Wenty.
"Although she has box five the draw is not too bad because the dogs in boxes two, three and four don't have a lot of early pace,'' her trainer Anthony Azzopardi said.
"Obviously Magic Earner has to nail the start but she began well to win the NSW final and she is a high quality stayer.
"My only concern is the presence of the Queenslander Mullaway in box six, because from what I've seen of that greyhound he wants to get to the rails going to the first turn.''
Lord Golec, NSW's other finalist, is a wide runner but is a dour "old fashioned'' stayer according to trainer Michael Eberand.
"He can run all day and while he is better on a big track like Bulli Lord Golec is gradually adapting to Wentworth Park and will be running on at the finish.''
Lord Golec is owned by Eberand's 18-year-old son Bradley, who is studying commerce and science at university.
Bradley was presented with Lord Golec when the dog was a pup because it was his insistence which resulted in his father buying the greyhound's dam, Ebby Miss.
"Ebby Miss was very timid and when dad was buying a puppy he was going to leave her behind but I liked her and talked him into taking her,'' Bradley said.
Ebby Miss was runner-up to Tasmania's Bell Haven in the 2012 Sydney Cup and that greyhound's trainer Ted Medhurst has Lillycette in Saturday night's National final.
Lillycette looks sure to lead from box one but Medhurst concedes: "Her only chance of winning is to go straight to the front and pinch a big break on her rivals.
"Having said that Lillycette is a lot better now than when she last raced in Sydney, she is more mature and has better race fitness.''
My selections are Lady Toy 1, Sweet It Is 2, Magic Earner 3, Lord Golec.
Box draw is 1 Lillycette (Tas.), 2 Lord Golec (NSW), 3 Sweet It Is (Vic.), 4 Psychotic Gold (SA), 5 Magic Earner (NSW), 6 Mullaway (Q'ld), 7 Deadly Boy (WA), 8 Lady Toy (Vic.) with reserves Ada Mary and Smooth Number from NSW.