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Nicholls Young Gun far from Common

By Isaac Murphy

What better way to start a new year than with Queensland’s best pups showing their potential in the Racing Queensland Young Gun Heats.

The three heats attracted the state’s most accomplished young greyhounds with the first and second placed runners qualifying for the final, along with the fastest two thirds.

Regal Topaz lined up as a $2.20 favourite for Greg Stella in heat one and did not disappoint her backers or trainer, beating them to the first turn to run away in 30.04 seconds.

Stella said his bitch had the pedigree to win the race but did well to overcome the draw and was hoping to be closer to the rail for the final.

“The challenge was always going to be if she could get across at the first turn, but she managed to do it untouched,” Stella said.

“As I said during the week the goal was to make the final, there are probably going to be better dogs lining up against her but if she draws well she’ll give herself a chance.”

Eric Thomson Memorial and Christmas Stocking winner Painted Picture found a different way to win for Tony Brett in Heat Two.

Normally a noted front runner the dog used an 11.69 second sectional to pinch a break and hold on from Irish Ripple in 30.20 seconds.

Warren Nicholls missed out in Heat One with Dusty Delight missing the kick, but kennel mate Common Ground delivered and more in Heat Three clocking the fastest qualifying time in 29.87 seconds in a flawless run.

“It all went to plan tonight she got away beautifully,” Nicholls said.

“I was a bit worried on the turn when Fernando Blaster was just off us at the first turn but she got away nicely and really went on with it.”

“I’m not surprised she’s gone that quick, I knew she had it in her if it went her way, if we can get an inside draw she can hopefully go quicker next week.”

Heat winners Regal Topaz, Painted Picture and Common Ground recorded first sectionals of 5.56, 5.59 and 5.54 respectively setting up a mouth-watering dash to the first turn next week.

The Racing Queensland Young Guns Final Field can be seen below with the box draw to be finalised Tuesday.

  1. Regal Topaz – Greg Stella -30.04
  2. Oxley One – Glenn Smith
  3. Painted Picture – Tony Brett - 30.20
  4. Irish Ripple - Michael Lalicz
  5. Common Ground – Warren Nicholls – 29.87
  6. Fernando Blaster – Terry Jordan
  7. Wildash Jazzy – Bob Giltinan
  8. Galway Johann – Kevin Galloway
  9. Rasheda – Tony Apap
  10. Wazza Who – Cynthia Elson

Wise Misty reminded the young guns who was boss with the fastest run of the night 29.84 seconds in winning the New Year’s Trophy Final.

The race brought together an impressive field featuring the likes of Maurice Minor, It’s Dyllan and Del Rey.

But it was the Craig Hazelgrove bitch who returned to form, the trainer putting her recent slump down to luck.

 “She just didn’t get a look in her last few runs with a couple of awkward draws and when I tried her over the short course my Dad’s (Reg Hazelgrove) dog cut her off when it crashed in on the fence,” Hazelgrove said.

“She’s got a good record from the three and once she managed to cross the inside pair she was free-wheeling.”

“It’s a pretty nice way to start of 2019, hopefully this gets her back to her best.”

In another minor upset on the card Infrared Lad for Joanne Price topped the more fancied Big Bad Bob and Double Gee over the 600m.

The stayer finding the rail early from gate one for an all the way win.