EBBY Ripper has marched into her 24th big race final with her fast finishing second to Soda Flash in her heat of the $75,000 to the winner Bold Trease at Sandown last Friday night.
Having her 96th start, the Michael Eberand-trained Ebby Ripper flashed home in her usual fashion to be runner-up to the Robert Britton-trained greyhound, taking her record to 25 wins and 40 placings.
A proud Eberand said: "Ebby Ripper has now qualified for two dozen listed or group race finals and has won or been placed in 13 of them.
"She won a heat of the Bold Trease last year and had no luck when third to Fanta Bale in the final.
"Sandown is her favourite track as Ebby Ripper has twice won consolation finals of the Sandown Cup so if the field strings out in next Friday night's 715m race, she will be hard to hold out at the finish.
"Boxes don't matter to her, it all depends on what sort of a run she gets as she weaves her way through the field.''
After she qualified for yet another big race final, course commentator James Van De Maat exclaimed: "It wouldn't be a group race wthout Ebby Ripper in it.'' That says it all.
WHILE NSW-trained greyhounds failed to clinch a spot in next Friday night's group 1 Melbourne Cup final _ with Miss Splendamiro's gallant second to Australia's fastest dog, Poke The Bear, our best result _ Sydney holds a strong hand in the Bold Trease.
NSW's top stayer Poco Dorado overcame an out of character slow start last Friday night to win her 715m heat in 41.63, railing surprisingly well from box three to be third going through the catching pen.
Poco Dorado sustained a powerful rails run to hit the front on the home turn and bolted in, while Kanzan, having her first start at Sandown, made the early pace before finishing second to Barcali, another from the kennel of Victoria's crack trainer of stayers, Robert Britton.
Barcali was checked early but still managed to set the time standard for the 715m trip at 41.60, so looks the one to beat for the NSW contingent in Friday's final.
"Poco Dorado wanted to step to the right when the boxes opened but another dog held her on the rails and she stuck to the fence after that,'' trainer John Finn said.
Clinton Payne, manager of the Quaddie Boys Syndicate which owns Kanzan, believes their greyhound can go faster in the Bold Trease run-off.
"Trainer Johnny Smart took her to Melbourne on the day of the race and while Kanzan travelled well it was still a nine hours trip in a car,'' Payne said.
"When she has previously raced for the first time on a course Kanzan has always improved significantly, by two or three tenths, at her second appearance on the track.
"Whether that will be enough for her to win next Friday remains to be seen, but obviously we are all just stoked to be in a big race like this.''
JIMMY Coyle has bounced back after a two years' break from the sport by winning two from five races with Punk Band and scoring at Dapto on Thursday with that greyhound's litter brother Too Easy Punk.
Coyle, whose champion brood bitch Punk Angel is the grand-dam of Million Dollar Chase winner Mystic Riot, bred Punk Band and Too Easy Punk from Punk Angel's daughter Funky Punk.
Funky Punk won 13 races and was a blistering 29.70 winner at Wentworth Park but Coyle, a typical "Aussie battler'' took time off after enjoying an unexpected windfall through playing Keno at his local club.
"I went back to Ireland to visit relatives and bought a house, although I am right back into the greyhounds again so am looking for a bigger place,'' Coyle said.
"I sold Ready To Riot, one of Punk Angel's offspring, to owner Col Bermingham when she was a pup, so was naturally rapt when Ready To Riot produced the world's first $1 million race winner.''
Jimmy Coyle's most successful performers over the past decade have been Evil Punk, a WP top grader who won 15 races at $85,000 in stakes and Branded, who earned $50,000 from 19 wins.