Queensland trainers have signalled their intentions to keep the big prize money on offer during the 2019 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival north of the border.
Despite predictions of southern domination in last night's Group 1 heats of the TAB Gold Cup and G3 Flying Amy Classic, trainers Darren Russell, Bob Giltinan and Tony Brett ensured the 'banana benders' will play a leading role in next week's finals.
Russell clean-swept the two heats of the Gold Cup (710m) with Bago Bye Bye ($3.50) and Bago Bluff ($61) winning their respective heats.
Bago Bluff took the early lead before handing up to Dyna Chancer down the back, with race favourite, star stayer Tornado Tears spotting the leader about eight-lengths.
Bago Bluff regained the lead as the field turned for home and proved too strong for Dyna Chancer, with Tornado Tears rattling home into third.
Russell told trackside reporter Isaac Murphy that he gave Bago Bluff a 'rough chance'.
"He's improved out of sight, he's just learning how to race," Russell said.
"He nearly led the Origin Greyhound race last week. He was going to get to second and then got checked and it was going to be interesting to see him behind Poco (Dorado). He probably wouldn't have beaten her but would've got a nice second."
Earlier, Bago Bye Bye anticipated the jump and once he found the front, was always going to be tough to run down. He completed the 710m trip in 41.47; just 0.01sec outside his personal best time at 'The Creek'.
Bago Bye Bye was favoured to take out the TAB Origin Distance race for Queensland seven days earlier but missed the kick and dashed his hopes early.
"Change of tactics this week," Russell said.
"We kept him fresh and had to get him on the bunny this week."
Bago Bye Bye ($2.70) is now challenging Tornado Tears ($2) for favouritism in next week's final, where he will look to break a run of three unplaced finishes in Group 1 finals.
Bago Bluff will again be sent around as an outsider with the TAB opening him at $21 following the Box Draw.
Earlier, Tony Brett's recent kennel acquisition Black Opium showed devastating early speed to put away her rivals in Heat 2 of the Flying Amy in 29.54sec - the sixth fastest time ever recorded at Albion Park.
The Victorian bitch is now rated a $1.65 chance to take the final after drawing Box 1.
"It's hard to believe she's still eligible for a series like this (greyhounds aged 30 months and under) it seems like she's been going around for years," Brett said.
"She's just a lovely bitch all round. She's slotted in at home good, settled in good and obviously, raced good tonight."
The final Queensland-trained winner came in the form of Bob Giltinan's Wildash Jakey, who pantsed his rivals to win Heat 5 of the Classic at tote odds of $47.
Wildash Jakey recorded a personal-best 30.08, the slowest heat of the night by just 0.01sec.
"I can’t believe we’re in a Group One Final," Giltinan told Isaac Murphy.
"I thought he might lead them but the caliber of dog chasing I didn’t expect him to last. The owners they’re down from Warwick tonight, huge thrill for us all."