By Isaac Murphy
Queensland’s Young Guns assembled at Albion Park in the chase for a spot in next week's final and while the youngsters put on a show over the sprint distance, it was the stayers who put down the slickest runs on the clock.
Heat One of the Young Guns saw Blue Diva build on her Vince Curry Memorial Series campaign leading them throughout from the red.
The 19-month-old bitch has carried her form to the Young Guns at Albion Park, using the one alley to full extent when holding out hot-pop Painted Picture, before a strong latter half for a greyhound of only four starts.
Ray Burman said Blue Diva had only seen the track once in an average 30.52sec trial earlier in the week.
Last night she shaved .52 seconds off her trial to complete the 520m in 30 flat.
“She took huge improvement from her trial before the Vince Curry Series and has done the same thing here, she’s a race bitch,” Ray Burman said.
“Once she led they weren’t going to catch her she’ll get 600 down the track.
“I’d love another inside draw for the final, she has the tendency to drift off a bit on the corners, so I wouldn’t want to see her having to circle them.”
Dam Slippery only affirmed her reputation as the darling of Queensland Greyhound Racing, notching a five-length victory in the second heat of the Young Guns just six days after her Group Two Richmond Oaks triumph.
The bitch's box manners were on full display as she speared out of box seven to lead them home in 29.98 on a rain-affected track.
Hazelgrove said the bitch was at the peak of her powers and was very keen to find out what she could do if she scored an inside draw next week.
“I thought she missed it initially I couldn’t see her out of the boxes, but that was because she found the fence so quickly,” Hazelgrove said.
“I’d love to see her get an inside box, she could probably take another couple of tenths off that time.
“I’ll be taking her to The Easter Egg at Wentworth Park after next week.”
It was a successful day for Hazelgrove who had Call Me Ugo win his heat of The Maitland Cup, coming up with box two for next week’s final.
“He doesn’t get much attention this dog, but he can really run, if he gets out first he’ll give them a sight,” he said.
Heat winners Blue Diva and Dam Slippery will be joined in the final by Robin Palmer’s Kendall, Tony Brett’s trio of Painted Picture, Bad Benny and Valentino Fox and Michael Lalicz duo Irish Ripple and Ripple Rumble.
Amber Marie is proving a marvel over the 600 metres, with the veteran scoring her second win at the trip holding off a charging Big Bad Bob in a brilliant 34.68sec run.
Kennel representative Ron Barber said it had taken a while but the four-year-old bitch had found her distance and was hoping for a few more slick 600 wins before she became a brood bitch.
Rasheda was bred to be a champion stayer out of My Bro Fabio and Born Ali and the two-year-old bitch is living up to the billing with a huge first up win in the 710 metre Free for All for a delighted Tony Apap.
“41.83 first up over 710 I couldn’t have asked for anymore than that,” Apap said.
“The challenge for her was landing close enough to Infrared Star and when she lobbed into third she gave herself just enough time to chase him down.
“I’ll see how she bounces back from her first 710, we’ll hopefully give her a few more runs at the trip before she takes on the big winter races.”