The makeup of greyhound racing’s National Championship finals is getting clearer by the day.
Three state finals were decided over the weekend. On Saturday night in Perth, the brilliant Miata, as expected, won the Western Australian final of the National Distance Championship. The Paul Stuart trained star led by about six lengths with a lap of the 715 metres race to go before stretching her winning margin to 13 lengths.
The state final for WA of the National Sprint Championship went to the Linda Britton trained Uno Reltub who, like Miata, started favourite. Even though Uno Reltub will find the opposition much tougher in the grand final in Hobart on Saturday week, the dog has something in his favour. While last Saturday night’s win was on the ‘’two turn’’ Perth track of Cannington, Uno Reltub has a super record at Mandurah which is a ‘’one turn’’ track similar in layout to Hobart’s Elwick venue. Uno Reltub has won 11 of his 13 starts at Mandurah.
At the Meadows in Melbourne on Saturday night, there was a surprise result in the Victorian final of the National Distance Championship. $11 chance Karanji for Angela Langton gave a superb railing display to relegate the odds on favourite, Graeme Bate’s Irma Bale, into second placing. Irma Bale, being the highest ranked Australian stayer to make a state final, takes the ‘’Wild Card’’ spot into Saturday week’s grand final in Hobart.
At Bulli tonight, there’s the state finals for New South Wales of the Sprint and Distance Championships. The Distance race over 701 metres looks a great clash between the Dawn Garrett trained Zsa Zsa and Michael Patterson’s high profile performer He Knows Uno). The winner will be off to Hobart for the August 25 grand final.
Tonight’s state final of the Sprint Championship at Bulli is quite intriguing. The Mark Gatt trained Oaks Road will be off to Hobart no matter where he finishes because he is the highest ranked sprinter in Australia. But there are two possible scenarios for the sprint ‘’Wild Card.’’. If Oaks Road is beaten tonight, whatever dog wins that race plus Oaks Road go to Hobart. However, if Oaks Road wins tonight, the greyhound to get the ‘’Wild Card’’ for Hobart won’t be from New South Wales. It will be the next highest ranked sprinter in the land to make a state final, and that’s the Victorian trained Don’t’s Knocka Him. The dog is trained by Jason Thompson for Queensland’s Reg Kay. So it’s a case of Kay and Thompson cheering for Oaks Road to win tonight at Bulli.
In summary, for the Tattsbet National Sprint Championship, already destined for the August 25 grand final in Hobart are Glen Gallon for Queensland, Fabregas for Victoria, Aston Thomas for South Australia and Uno Reltub for Western Australia. Still to be determined are the New South Wales representative, the two spots for Tasmania and the ‘’Wild Card’’ runner. Tasmania’s runners will be the first and second in the state final in Hobart this Thursday night.
For the Wrest Point Casino National Distance final, already qualified are Abdon Bale for South Australia, Tarlie’s Angel (pictured with Bruce and Juanita Linnan) for Queensland, Karanji and Irma Bale representing Victoria and Miata from the west. Still to be decided are the Tasmanian pair of runners and the New South Wales representative.
The ‘’Wild Card’’ situation occurs because there are six states competing in the Nationals. The host state gets two runners which means an eighth finalist needs to be determined. This is done via the AGRA rankings of greyhounds Australia wide.
The group one National Championships will be staged at a twilight meeting at Hobart’s Elwick track on Saturday week, August 25, with the first race to go at 5.12 p.m.
Story by Paul Dolan, photo by Corey Pearce.