Champagne racing comes to Wentworth Park on Saturday night with four heats of the Crocmedia National Sprint Championship over 520m and two heats of the 720m distance version, with the best sprinters and stayers in NSW in action.
Greyhounds will be chasing a spot in the state finals at Wentworth Park on Thursday, August 9 with the top dogs representing NSW in the $75,000 to the winner grand finals at Melbourne's Sandown on August 24.
Little Digger (pictured), who boasts the remarkable strike rate of 16 wins from 35 starts, looks certain to progress through to the state final after drawing box one in heat two of the National Sprint.
The Raymond Smith-trained greyhound is undefeated in two starts wearing the red rug and despite a string of less than favorable draws, has compiled a Wentworth Park record of eight wins and six placings from 22 starts.
"Little Digger certainly likes to be drawn inside and is going as well as ever,'' Smith said.
"When he finished fourth to Catch Me Curly last week he was left posted in no man's land after missing the jump from box six and got the line well to finish fourth.
"Usually Little Digger is a reliable beginner but while he does lack early brilliance, he keeps running on at the finish of his races.''
Miss Splendamiro will make her debut for her "caretaker'' trainer George Borg in heat one of the Championship, and while she has box four, she is expected to lead all the way.
Part-owner Michael Phillips said: "Miss Splendamiro's regular trainer Hank Vanderburg has been in Europe for several weeks so George Borg is looking after her until he settles back into training.
"I have had a long association with George because I was his strapper when I was a 17-year-old kid.
"But Hank Vanderburg has made Miss Splendamiro into what she is, and he trained her to win 22 of 37 races, a remarkable feat.
"Although she has not raced at Wentworth Park since June 9, Miss Splendamiro is flying and broke 29.70sec in a 520m trial at Albion Park before finishing second to Snug in 29.71, fastest time of the night, in a race over that course on July 26.''
Catch Me Curly should only need to repeat his sizzling sectional times from last week's WP meeting to take out heat three.
The Jason Magri-trained dog has box five but the greyhound emerged from box four to win last Saturday in a brilliant 29.80, posting splits of 5.47, 13.77 and 17.85sec.
Weakest of the heats looks to be heat four, where Blue Moon Rising, despite his lack of early pace, could finish too strongly for likely leader Miss Vee.
Ebby Ripper, who won the 2017 NSW National Distance Championship before finishing fifth to the great Fanta Bale in the grand final, will line up for start number 82 in heat two on Saturday night.
The Michael Eberand-bred and trained Ebby Ripper lifted her earnings to $240,404 when she led throughout for an easy win over 720m at WP last Saturday night.
"The only other time I can recall Ebby Ripper leading all the way was when she won the 2017 NSW final of the Distance Championship at Wenty,'' Eberand said.
"She pulled up well after last week's win and has had her usual between race preparation this week, free galloping at my property and some walking.
"Ebby Ripper had been campaigning in Queensland in June and early July and she really blossomed when she came back to her own kennel, she looked really happy to be back home.''
Ebby Ripper faces stern opposition from Veloce Nero, who had no luck when three lengths behind Eberand's greyhound last week, and from Kihael Road, who has won two of three WP 720m engagements.
Heat one of the Distance Championship looks a match between Kanzan, box five, and the better positioned Poco Dorado, who has box seven.
Little Digger's trainer Raymond Smith could land a double with Cyril Figgis, who has box four in race 10, a good third on debut at WP last Saturday and a dog with the early speed required to lead throughout.
Best Bet Little Digger (race 6)
Best Value Cyris Figgis (race 10)
Quaddie race 5 - 4, 5, 1
Race 6 - 1, 6, 2
Race 7 - 5, 7
Race 8 - 3, 7
$20 for 55.55%