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Feature race sweep for North Queensland’s top trainers

By Brennan Ryan

WESEAL Townsville Cup night saw both local leading trainers Brad Belford and Rhonda Essery produce a unique feature double across the 12-race program at the Showgrounds on Friday night.

Belford took out both the Judy Olsen Maiden Classic Final and Idol Eyes Stayers Challenge in a rather rare performance for brood matron Le Sirenuse and the owner/breeders Toni and Mark Graham.

Rondinella delivered Brad his first success in the Judy Olsen Maiden over 380 metres, after taking the lead coming off the back in leading to the line, winning by one-and-a-half lengths over Happy Rumble in 22.15 seconds.

The daughter of Fabregas had qualified for the $2,450 event into box two, having finished third behind the runner-up Happy Rumble who clocked 22.88 seconds in winning its heat the previous week.

“She is certainly no superstar but definitely picked the right time to break her maiden, I thought she would find it tough with the speed draw outside but the effort showed determination,” said Belford.

Mahogany Row romped home in the closing stages to claim the Idol Eyes Stayers Challenge over the 643 metres, trouncing No Regrets and Split Sound by almost four lengths in running 38.18 seconds.

The Gumlow-based trainer said the son of Barcia Bale was in his class taking on the staying feature.

“That was the dog’s third start for us and came here with form showing he wanted the longer trip, prior to arrival the dog had gained a failure to chase offence which the owners explained,” Brad said.

“His trials leading up to this race proved everything was right on target and he needed a couple of runs to really get formularised with the track; it’s satisfying all the effort has paid off to get the win.

“I will have a discussion with the owners in what to do with the dog around his immediate future.”



Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 7:17 PM



Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 8:35 PM

IDOL EYES Stayers Challenge F

Stratford reigns supreme

Track specialist Stratford bounced to his winning best in a big way with an emphatic display by taking out the WESEAL Townsville Cup Consolation giving trainer Rhonda Essery a real confidence boost.

In racking up his 27th win on the showgrounds track, the brindle son of Fernando Bale and Jingjing pulled out all stops to assert his control by sweeping to the lead coming off the back.

Holding Miss Verity at bay, Stratford scored by two lengths with Sleek Rumble running into third spot.

Essery explains she was concerned if her star performer had yet to overcome a minor virus following a recent campaign in Brisbane.

“There was no feature races on prior to the cup so Steve (Essery) and I decided to send Stratford south to race and he was left on the tarmac for too long and he didn’t seem himself,” Rhonda said.

“Sharon (Burnett) the dog’s regular catcher was emotional and so was I just to see him winning.”

Rhonda says the Townsville Derby and North Queensland Cup is next on the agenda for Stratford.

Essery claimed the major sprint - worth $10,000 to-the-winner - as Miss Priddle produced a stellar career performance leading from the off set to claim the TGOBTA North Queensland Sprint Final.

Miss Priddle, the daughter of Barcia Bale and Mitchie Madam, notched up her fourth victory over the 380-metre trip, producing a kennel quinella with Samshu finishing second and John Strachin third.

The ex-Northern Rivers galloper was offered to Rhonda at suitable price and has now shown to be a great commodity for the Burdell-based kennel having risen through the grades to achieve potential.

“I thought the box draw was a slight concern having Samshu drawn the inside (box seven) but Miss Priddle did everything right from the start and using the wide draw gave her every chance,” she said.



Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 8:58 PM

WESEAL Townsville Cup (G3) C


Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 9:17 PM

TGOBTA North Queensland Sprint F