By Isaac Murphy
Thursday night’s card at Albion Park featured races over the 520, 600 and 710 metres and each event unveiled sprinters and stayers that punters should keep their eyes on heading into the teeth of another huge year of racing at Albion Park.
Shot Clock lived up to her name in the Best 8 putting up the quickest time of the night 29.93 seconds first up over the 520 metres.
Approaching four years old trainer Terry Medcalf said he had considered retiring the bitch after the latest in a long line of injuries but was vindicated in his decision to give her one more season with the brilliant run.
“She left a lot better today than when she won over the 395 metres, but even when she surged to the lead I thought she might just be short of a run and get tracked down late,”Medcalf said.
“The most pleasing aspect for me was to see her finish off like that, she only had the 395-metre race and the work we’d done with her at home for fitness, to beat that field it was a big effort.”
Medcalf said while injuries had always nagged the bitch, they had also allowed her to be lightly raced bringing up win nineteen from thirty-eight starts.
“We’ve decided this will be her last go around over the next five or six weeks,” he said.
“I’m so pleased to see her do what she did tonight because she’ll only improve on that and it would be great to go out on top.”
After a strong 520 metre win last Thursday night Group One winning trainer Jeff Crawford said he thought it was time to step Adhara Steel up to the 600 metres and after his brilliant front running performance over the trip Thursday night he won’t be dropping back down anytime soon.
The dog went out third elect behind Rockford and Slick but charged his way over from the pink holding off Slick by three lengths in 35.10 at his first attempt at the distance.
Crawford said the dog who turns four in two days continued to amaze him with his longevity and was looking forward to cementing him as a 600 metre dog.
“I didn’t think he’d run the 520 out early in his career, so for him to do that at his first attempt over 600 I couldn’t ask for more,” Crawford said.
“He turns four in two days and that was his eighty eighth start which is the most I’ve ever had with a greyhound, he’s a really special dog to me and what a great birthday present.”
“I’ll probably look to find him a 600 race on a Monday night and try to get him a bit more experience.”
Joanne Price’s kennel of stayers continued to fly in the Grade 5 710 metres, as Infrared Lad drove to the lead early opening up by over five lengths first time past the winning post as the rest of the field jostled for position behind him.
The final margin was 8 ¾ in a time of 42.24, Price will be hoping kennel mate and Group three Queensland Cup winner Infrared Star can channel similar form in it’s approaching Rookie Rebel campaign at The Meadows.
It was an emotional night for couple Alan and Casey Dargusch who trained their first Thursday night winner in Never Walk Alone.
Not yet two and a half the promising dog has returned from injury in stellar form, winning first up in 30.04 and backing up with a 30.17 victory in the Fifth Grade Heat.
“It’s incredible the way he’s come back this dog, he’s always had a big motor but keeping him healthy has been the challenge,” Alan Dargusch said.
“We’ve put a lot of work into the dog and think he has a really bright future, so hopefully this is the first of many Thursday night wins.”
Much like Shot Clock another bitch in her last campaign Cyn’s Magic was a big winner on the night romping home by eleven lengths running 30 seconds flat in the Master’s.
Kennel rep Warren Elson said the bitch had been mixing her form but got it right on the night.
“That was the old Cyn’s Magic tonight, this is her last prep before we breed with her so every win in precious,” he said.
It was a night for the veterans as Arabian Go Go continued her love affair with inside boxes running time 29.97 in winning the Mixed ¾.
Trainer Brian Baker said the bitch was like a fine wine, only getting better with age.
“Once she gets to the lead she’s just so hard to chase down with her closing sectional as strong as it is,” he said.
“I’m toying with the idea of giving her a crack at the 600 metres now she is right up in the Grades, that’s something we’ll decide in the next few weeks.”