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Baker rapt to be part of golden opening to Winter Carnival

22 May 2024

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Races

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6

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:14 PM

QGOLD Bolt H

By Pat McLeod

Burpengary trainer Brian Baker hopes Thursday night’s QGOLD Finals are an appetizing opener to even bigger Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival riches.

The former NSW conditioner will unleash his lightning starter Waikarie Molly in the QGOLD Bolt decider over 395 metres, one of seven Finals across a jam-packed program at ‘The Creek’.

“I think this is a great concept,” Baker said of the variety of features for Queensland-bred greyhounds.

“This is a unique opportunity where the locally-bred greyhounds get the opportunity to have a crack at good prize money before the interstate visitors arrive.

“I think it is a great idea and gives incentive to the dogs that race over the 331 and 395 metres that normally do not get the opportunity to race for prize money at this level.

“It is certainly well received by owners and trainers in Queensland.”

The QGOLD program has now become the popular curtain-raiser at both Albion Park-based Summer and Winter Carnivals.

More than $200,000 in prize money is on offer this time around.

The home-bred Waikarie Molly (from a Tommy Shelby and Wheatacre litter) is a strong early favourite for the sprint, backed by a record of 15 wins and 12 placings from 34 starts.

Baker said ‘Molly’ was a ‘good hope’ on Thursday night.

Waikarie Molly Next Racing

“This is a very good field and I believe anything could win,” he said.

“Starting on a corner you just need to get that early break and from where she is drawn (box eight) she just has to do everything right. She will hopefully come out and get a cart across from the outside.

“She is very confident in herself at the moment and has handled the eight alley well her last two starts (for two wins) and will have to do it again on Thursday.

“I wouldn't like to single out any of the others as the biggest danger on Thursday night because they have all earned the right to be there.”

Although determined not to look too far ahead, Baker is planning to again move Waikarie Molly up to 520 metres after Thursday night’s Final.

“Molly is a dream to train and one of those rare dogs that has very few faults in her make-up,” he said.

“When we broke her in, she broke in very well. From the time we took it to the racetrack and were trialing, she was running above average times.

“From day dot she has always given 100 per cent."

Waikarie Molly after a recent victory.

Baker says she is very competitive.

"She is an honest race bitch who gives her all every time she goes to the racetrack," Baker said. 

“We probably pushed her a little bit further earlier on than we probably should have as we tried to get her to 500 metres fairly quickly.

“But, I still want to get a little bit more strength and maturity into her because we are still planning to go back to 520 metres and will try to have a crack at some of the bigger races in the coming weeks.

“I hate looking too far ahead in greyhounds because I have been around too long to know that you can't look more than a week or two ahead.

“But, she deserves a crack because her form at the moment is as good as it has been. She hasn't reached her peak yet, but we are also mindful of the fact that there are some very, very good dogs coming here for this carnival.

“Her one big advantage is that she is normally a brilliant box dog and consistently runs very fast first sections at Albion. Her last section is always the worry and if there is a very strong dog behind her when she is turning for home, you hope and pray that she has still got something left in the tank."

Races

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Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:00 PM

QGOLD Bolt F

Baker has eyes on stepping Waikarie Molly up over more ground.

“That has always been the worry with her, but you hope that with a little bit of maturity and age on her, when we step up to the 520 metres again she might have a little bit more strength left in her," the trainer said.

“We are also mindful that, being Group 1 races, we are not overly optimistic or confident in any way. The greyhounds that are rumoured to be coming are at the top of the tree.”

With just six dogs in work, Baker said his kennel was the smallest it had been for some time, however that will change soon.

“We have pups coming through that we are quite excited about,” he said.

“We have a One Mumma (Orson Allen) litter that we are just breaking in now. And, we are really excited by a Koblenz and Waikarie Bell litter that are about 10 months old.

“Waikarie Bell was one of the quickest 700 metre dogs around Albion Park. We waited two years for her to come on season. Those pups are 10 months old.”

Waikarie Molly runs to the line.