The carnival may be over but the show must go on and on it does with a solid twelve event race program set for decision at the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club tonight and while it is highlighted by a good field in the Ladbrokes Boost over 480 metres perhaps the most interesting race of the night is the opening event on the program which is the Clarence Valley Sheds stakes over 407 metres.
The race will feature a tantalising clash between two highly talented greyhounds in Grid Lock which hails from the Jan Finneran kennel and Leeroy Rogue which hails from the Jeff Crawford kennel in Queensland.
Each of these greyhounds raced with distinction during the recently completed July racing carnival however there form lines are completely different and are quite difficult to line up when attempting to piece together the likely outcome.
Grid Lock is more of your typical greyhound with ability in that it begins fairly, can muster good speed when left with clear running and can maintain that run to the finish line. This was evidenced just ten days ago when fair to begin from box 7 but he was afforded clear racing room clocking a slick 8.41 seconds to the first turn before racing away strongly to record a quick 22.98 second race win over the same distance as tonight's race.
Leeroy Rogue however will enter this race off the back of a second placing and a win at the the track but over the shorter journey of 305 metres but those runs had to be seen to be believed.
The Capalaba straight track record holder had never laid his eyes on the Grafton circuit before stepping out from box 1 in a heat of the Grafton District Services Club series two weeks ago and what a run it turned out to be. While he was beaten when finishing second to Pink Scissors.
Where this run was so incredible is that in 305 metre racing it is invariably a jumping contest whereby the first greyhound to exit the boxes typically wins the race. certainly you must be racing very close to the lead to be a chance. Well Leeroy Rogue decided that this blueprint was unnecessary if you have genuine racing ability and he was a conspicuous last to leave the boxes giving the second last dog roughly four lengths head start.
From that moment the brilliant Queenslander unleashed an incredible run the moment he found the rails in last place making his way through the field to go under eventually by just a quarter of a length. Greyhounds just don't do that over 305 metres on a turning track.
Leeroy Rogue then drew box 5 in the final and while he did not jump coming out just two lengths behind the second last dog his task did still look forlorn. This however was not to be the case as the powerful sprinter hit top gear weaving through the field to win by a length over Kooringa Maizie in a quick 17.39 seconds. In doing so he broke the final section track record for the distance with a brilliant 14.06 run home time.
So how do these greyhounds line up over 407 metres? The proof is in the pudding over 407 metres for Grid Lock and for that reason it has to be given the on top selection as it has recorded fast time at the distance and hence is proven.
With Leeroy Rogue one can only guess what the greyhound might run and once again if he is last to leave the boxes you just cannot give a good greyhound like Grid Lock a big head start and a beating this is of course assuming that Grid Lock receives a clear run which is not guaranteed as he does appear to prefer a wide box. In saying this on what was shown in those 305 metre performances if any greyhound can do it than Leeroy Rogue is the one to do it.
All in all a great race ensues and it will be well worth a tune in at 6.57pm tonight.
The Ladbrokes Boost sprint over 480 metres has drawn together a good field of greyhounds with numerous chances however perhaps the two main chances are the John Antonelli trained Joyanna and He's The One for Stephen Keep.
Although trained locally Joyanna is having it's first race start at Grafton after having done most of it's racing at the bigger city based tracks where it chased some of the richer races in the land and did perform with merit against some of the best.
Antonelli has had a lot of injury problems with the talented sprinter and while it is certainly debatable whether he is at the level he was once at he still possesses plenty of ability and if he can secure clear running at any stage from his tricky box 3 draw he will be the one which his opposition will be looking for.
He's The One by comparison has done plenty of racing locally and does possess decent early speed so from box 8 he should get a nice run across and give himself every opportunity to take out the added prize money event. Although some time ago He's The One has won at the distance in handy time and is a recent winner over 407 metres here so is racing well. There is not a lot of speed boxed inside him so he will get his chance.
A best bet on the program looks tough to find however it could be the Bob Merillo trained Bokarm Rosie which will jump from box 1 in the Caldwell Electrical maiden over 305 metres which is race 2 on the program. Bokarm Rosie has performed well in a recent trial at the track and should be tough to beat off the favourable box draw.