TRAINER Graeme Smith admits Maybelline Lady "is just starting to get some sense" after the black bitch won her third successive race at Dawson Park this week.
Whelped in December 2010, the Dubbo-trained greyhound has been a picture of consistency and has done nothing wrong in the eyes of her trainer - although it's taken a while for her real ability to be recognised.
Having drawn box five in the Job Care Cleaning 5th Grade Stakes, Smith was chancing his arm going for a longer distance - up to 400 metres from 318.
"This is her fifth campaign but she's just starting to get some sense about her and it's showing on the track," he said.
"She's still had a lot of puppy in her and has taken a while to settle down. It's just been for me a patience thing."
Despite her successes over 318 metres on her home track in consecutive weeks (January 3 and 10) the Bit Chilli x Tim Tamterra flier wasn't considered a past the post proposition this time over 400m.
But that didn't matter and kennel followers were pleased with the starting price of $5.20, especially when she got a clean start from box five and was untroubled in the run to the post. She finished three-and-three-quarter lengths in front of Nify Ellie ($3.80) with Tip Me Tekay ($4.10) a further two-and-a-half lengths away third.
In a wide opening betting race, Dalgaz Shari started the $3.20 favourite but ran in fourth, seven lengths behind the winner.
Like Maybelline Lady, Dalgaz Shari, in the race book as trained at Murwillumbah by Dale Ashton, had good form going into the race - the former having won three of her last four starts at Young (twice) and at Dubbo. At her other start she fell at Dubbo.
Not only has Maybelline Lady won her last three starts - she's also had space to spare at the finish. Her first two wins were by four and four-and-a-half lengths.
She now boasts three wins from five starts after being unplaced in two races late last year.
"Going over the longer distance this week was a test for her and she come through it OK," Smith said.
"There's another race for her at the end of the month at Dubbo over 400 and if that works out OK we might step up to 500."
The good news for Smith is he still has two dogs from the same litter to hit the race track.
"They're taking a bit longer to come on but as it was with Maybelline Lady, we're prepared to take our time and it'll probably be a couple of months before we see them at the races," Smith said.
"A friend of ours, John Miles from over the Central Coast, bred the litter and owns the bitch Tim Tamterra.
"We shared the litter and he's had to do the same as me (be patient) but one of his won the other day as well."
Meanwhile, Dubbo trainer Neil Hudson was toasting a super win by his black dog Arabian Atom in the $1000 to-the-winner PK Bakery Mixed Final (400m).
Arabian Atom was the fast qualifier in his heat last week in 23.07s and was a tad slower in the final getting home at 23.09s as the $1.80 favourite.
Slowly away, the son of Train A Journey x Arabian Magic Tu, worked his way from third at the first section to hit the front and win by five lengths.
Race outsider Kid Magic ($37.80) was second with heat winner from last week, Twitter Trilogy ($12.00) third.
o Dubbo Greyhound Racing Club now has a short break before two meetings at the end of the month - on the Australia Day holiday, Monday, January 28 and the Thursday, January 31.