On October 12 at Wentworth Park there will be eight semi-finals of the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase conducted, with 64 greyhounds chasing one of the eight spots available in the Grand Final the following week.
As the Regional heats and finals have made their way around NSW those 64 places have slowly start to fill, and now, with Wentworth Park holding the first round of City Qualifiers last Saturday night, the reality that spots will soon be scarce, is starting to hit home.
There were 15 dogs – and some very smart ones - who booked semi-final places at Wenty on Saturday, add those to the 14 who have already qualified at Bathurst, Maitland, Lismore, Wagga Wagga, Bulli, Dubbo and Temora, and 29 berths have been booked. Tonight that number will rise to 33 with two more semi-finalists decided at Nowra, and two more at Grafton.
At Grafton, Queensland trainer Steve Scott won two of the three heats last Monday night, with his lightly raced sprinters Coopes (pictured) and Mottza.
It was Mottza who had tongues wagging after a slashing 27.35s win when having his try at the distance. Mottza had a visit to Grafton the week before and won in the best of night over the shorter 407m trip, but he had no problem getting the extra 73m in the heat, and off the six tonight he looks the one to beat.
Last week’s win improved his career record to four wins and three seconds from eight starts.
The speedy Coopes made it three straight wins – at Ballarat, Albion Park and then Grafton – with a 27.57s success. That took his record to four wins and two placing from seven starts, and he must be considered having no doubt taken improvement form the outing.
Fellow Queenslander Fabrique was having his first look at Grafton, but was backed as if he had trialed well at the track, and battled on behind the other heat winner Ogodei Star. With the benefit of that run, expect Fabrique to go even better tonight, while Ogodei Star is another who must be included in the multis.
The best bet on the Grafton program appears in the following race, the eighth, the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Stakes over 610m.
The three, Five Of Spades failed in harder company at Casino last start but put together a string of middle distance placings prior. This really does look like a very suitable race here.
The main event at Nowra, the Regional Final, has been thrown wide open with the scratching of the nominal favourite and fastest qualifier out of the heats, Sweet Nangar.
This really opens up the race, and the other heat winners Zippy Ethics and Brindle Bay, come right into calculations now.
Zippy Ethics has come up with the rails draw and while not a reliable beginner, he gets his chance here. Scored an impressive win in the heats running 30.40s, and must be strongly considered here.
Brindle Bay was a surprise winner at big odds, but there was plenty to like about the win, where she stalked the leaders then took the rails run and charged to victory. Out of the same heat, the run of third placegetter Stilton Sox was one to like and if he can be a bit closer earlier, he’s a strong chance.
The other one I feel has a strong chance here is Neil Staines’ bitch Bogan Doonie who ran home hard behind Sweet Nangar last start. She did win here in 29.84s around this time last year and if she can go anywhere near that she’ll be close to winning.
Away from the main race, the best bet on the Nowra card appears in race five, the Premium Tyre Service Stakes over 520m.
The pink, Kroes, won at Goulburn in fast time of 24.71s, then not disgraced with a close second to Cosmic Blend over 440m there last week. Having its first run this track and distance but looks suited, and will be hard to hold out here with clean run.
Racing will also take place as usual on Mondays, at Bathurst, and you need wait until the last race before the best bet arrives in the shape of Ombre Rose.
It’s difficult to see Ombre Rose (3) not winning this race. She was dazzling last start leading throughout to win in 17.42s here and from the same draw I can only see the same result here.