By Isaac Murphy
Thursday night’s ten race card at Albion Park featured events over the 520, 600 and 710 metres and greyhounds at each distance took the chance to stake their claims for greater honours.
The leading charge was "honorary Queenslander" Fernando Blaster who set the track alight for Northern Rivers trainer Terry Jordan.
The sprinter exploded out of the boxes to lead into the back where he put down an incredible 11.41 second sectional going on to win the Best 8 by five lengths in 29.74sec.
The dog has only recently returned to Albion Park after a desperately unlucky fourth in the Group One National Derby at Wentworth Park.
In an ominous warning for his rivals Jordan said Fernando Blaster could still go quicker and had another feature race in his sights.
“We’ll keep him here for the next couple of weeks and hopefully get a bit more improvement out of him,” Jordan said.
“The target is The Maitland Gold Cup mid next month, we want him peaking around mid-March and we’ll re-access then.”
Selena Zammit’s Double Gee still has a strong hold on his title as Queensland’s Top Stayer, winning the Group Two Summer Plate Final and a run behind Australia’s premier stayer Tornado Tears in The Group One Zoom Top at The Meadows in the last month.
But the star stayer could have a challenger come the Brisbane Winter carnival, with Brian Baker’s two-year-old Elusive Star announcing herself as a bitch to watch with consecutive 42.29 wins over the staying trip at Albion Park.
Baker said he was really pleased to see his bitch win from behind after she free-wheeled in front last week.
“Visigoth is a really strong dog and when he drove up underneath her I thought we were going to be in for a real battle,” Baker said.
“To her credit she never let him open up a substantial gap and with the 710 form in her legs she closed off really nicely, it was good to see her have the smarts to get around another dog to win.”
The trainer said his stayer was in the best condition of her life but was cautious not to over race her with some bigger targets in mind.
“She’s only a two-year-old and even though she bounces back like she wants to race again the next day we just have to be careful with her at that age,” he said.
Prolific winner Slick for John McCarthy was rewarded for his consistent form over the 600 leading them all the way to bring up win number twenty-five by a comfortable four length margin.
McCarthy said the win was a good reward after a slew of placings as Slick used the red rug to skip clear.
“We’ve all seen how he races he tends to get himself into a bit of trouble at some stage of the run, but the red really helped us tonight,” McCarthy said.
“Even in all his 520 racing his back sectional has always been his best, so with nothing in front of him he was able to open up a big enough gap nothing could run him down.”
Dam Slippery produced a customary front running performance in the ¾ Grade finding the rail from box five, comfortably home by more than four lengths in a neat 30.15.
The bitch has only had two runs back in Queensland after her close second in The National Futurity, but after back to back wins Hazelgrove has her on the move again.
“I’m taking her down to trial at Richmond next Tuesday ahead of the heats of the Richmond Oaks,” Hazelgrove said.
“It’s not an age race but with a few dogs tied up in the Australian Cup Carnival it’s a good chance for her to get some more feature race form.”
“The only real difference with the track is the extra fifteen metres, but the way she’s finishing I don’t think that’ll bother her.”