By Brennan Ryan
Greyhound racing doesn’t get any better in Townsville with the North Queensland Cup Final shaping up to be an intriguing affair this coming Tuesday night when the lids fly open for the $17,800 final.
Gumlow trainer Brad Belford has strength in numbers lining up for the prestigious series, with Cult Hero taking full use of the rails draw in landing the opening heat of the series, running away to score a strong three-length win from Over Time in 28.96 seconds - bringing up his 22nd career victory.
“Very proud to have three runners heading into the race,” trainer Brad Belford stated this week.
“Box one was a massive favour to Cult Hero in the heats, and is currently racing in the best form of his career to date, he would need to draw the rails again in what looks a real strong race for the final.”
The son of Sh Avatar and Flash Glance has been a great money spinner for owner Doug Warrington.
Major Gibson returned from a race fall in the Young Guns final behind Excitable Jack to land the third and final heat of the Cup, holding Awesome Alex at bay to run 29.32 seconds coming off box six.
With the premier trainer well in contention of making it back-to-back wins in the North Queensland Cup, last years’ winner Murphy Rumble qualified for the race in running second to Bubbles And Brie.
“Murphy Rumble has gone six weeks without a full 498m run and despite his injuries it was great to see the dog finish off the race well, I’m hoping he should take full benefit from the run,” Belford said.
First run in 2010, the North Queensland Cup is for greyhounds domiciled through the north.
Belford won the second running of the cup with Don’t Listen and claimed it last year with Murphy Rumble.
A winning combination between trainer Merv Parker and owner Sarah Johnson has paid in big ways for their talented bitch Bubbles And Brie, who has taken full domination of the showground’s venue.
The daughter of Thirty Talks stopped the clocked in a slick 28.95 in heat two jumping from box eight.
Bubbles And Brie’s proud owner Sarah Johnson is thrilled to see her chaser thriving up in Townsville.
“I’m over the moon, she’s loving it up there, the track seems to really suit her,” Johnson said.
“She is going from strength to strength; thanks to Tony (Brett) we were fortunate to have a contact in Townsville with Merv and Tony Parker.
“Bubbles And Brie has been treated like a member of their family and they’ve been doing an amazing job with her; I can’t wait to be on track to watch the race.”
A win in Tuesday’s North Queensland Cup will see Merv claim victory in the race for the second time in nine years courtesy of his former star chaser Cherokee Bob winning the 2012 edition in 29.22sec.
The field for this Tuesday night’s 2020 North Queensland Cup promises to produce a brilliant finale.