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Common Ground leads Queensland charge

By Alex Nolan

Last-start RQ Young Guns winner Common Ground can give burgeoning trainer Warren Nicholls his biggest thrill in racing when she heads a team of Queenslanders at Wentworth Park on Friday.

Common Ground (Warren Nicholls), Dam Slippery (Brett Hazelgrove) and Wildash Jazzy (Robert Giltinan) will line-up in heats of the Group 1 National Futurity, with Rio Brave (Craig Schmidt) to tackle the National Derby.

Now a six-time winner after a commanding victory in the Young Guns (29.88sec) on January 10, Common Ground will be aiming for five-straight in the Futurity.

Nicholls said to have a greyhound in such a rich vein of form meant he simply had to give her a go against top company.

“She keeps going faster and she’s certainly getting stronger,” he said.

“She’s always shown ability but never really put all three sections together. She wouldn’t pass a dog in the early days but is now putting it all together.”

Common Ground trialed at Wentworth Park last week in preparation for the heat in a moderate 30.44sec.

“I’m not concerned. She drank half a bottle of water 10 minutes before the trial … it was a bit of a muck-up really,” he said.

“She’ll improve on that. Hopefully we box well enough to stay out of trouble.”

Nicholls is yet to taste success at the Sydney track after Copy Workshop was unplaced in the 2018 Young Stars Final.

“If we qualify it will be my first Group 1 final as a trainer so I will be definitely having a beer when I get home,” he said.

Craig Schmidt-trained youngster Rio Brave looks primed to take on the Derby, following his fourth in the Group 1 Silver Chief final at The Meadows on January 5.

The son of El Grand Senor trialed at Wentworth Park in a slick 29.61sec on January 12 in preparation for the assignment.