Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Sprint Crown Best Hope; Queensland Contenders in Mix for National Glory

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Sprint Crown Best Hope; Queensland Contenders in Mix for National Glory

Article excerpt

THE national championships of greyhound racing start with heats around the land early next month.

From a Queensland perspective, we would have to be a genuine chance in the National Sprint with recent group 1 winner, Tony Brett's Glen Gallon, back in form.

Ron Ball has a strong team of sprinters in work too. The likes of Bellagio Lad, Cakes and Pies and Tough As are all genuine contenders.

As for the National Distance Championship, Queensland is pretty light on for numbers.

He Knows Uno won the recent Gold Cup and Super Stayers at Albion Park over 710 metres. But he's trained at Iluka in northern NSW and will represent that state if trainer Mick Patterson elects to proceed to the nationals.

Our two best stayers are Abby Shiraz and Mocka Shocker.

It's quite possible that Albion Park may not get enough nominations for two heats of the distance series. A C[pounds sterling]best eightC[yen] or similar would, in that case, determine Queensland's representative in the grand final in Hobart on August 25.

I watched the 709 metres feature race from Hobart last Thursday closely. One thing that did strike me is that 709 metres around that spacious track is a tough run.

On tighter tracks, runners seem to ease around the corners and give themselves some sort of breather. But they don't tend to do that on a track like Hobart which is the biggest in Australia.

The National Sprint Championship will be over 461 metres, also in Hobart.

That is shorter than the traditional championship distance of around 520 metres. The 461 metres course, with its long run to the first and only turn, won't be a place for the faint hearted.

Hobart hurdle

IT'S been a long time since Hobart hosted the Nationals. Twenty-five years to be precise.

Fremantle Echo, from Western Australia beat Tassie star True Vintage, and Queensland's Are You Married for Albert C[pounds sterling]Bunny'' Hewton in the National Sprint Championship over 457m at the old Hobart Showgrounds track.

I attended that night and remember it well.

I backed Are You Married each way and he gave a great sight at good odds.

What I also remember, and as clearly as the National Sprint Championship, was a hurdle race on the program.

They were pretty common in Tasmania and Victoria in those days but to a Queenslander, were a real novelty to watch.

Hobart didn't hold the National Distance Championship in 1987.

Back in those days, the Nationals were run at different venues and different times of the year.

Victorian bitch Mystic Hope won the National Distance Championship final, run that year at Olympic Park in Melbourne.

In 1993, AGRA decided to change the format and run the Sprint and Distance finals one the same night at the same venue.

Nominations for this year's championships close on Monday. …

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