Dogs and trainers alike will be aiming to beat the heat in Friday’s 10-race meeting at Dawson Park.
Races commence at 9.40am and wrap up before 1pm, with a number of exciting contests scheduled in between.
The richest race, the $1380 Tweed Heads Coursing 0-3W Stakes (516 metres) will pit some of Charmaine Roberts’ most promising youngsters against strong hopes from Coonamble’s Graham Pickering and Gilgandra trainer Merle Clark.
Nikita Keeping will start as $2.30 favourite from box two on the back of a disappointing showing at Wentworth Park last Saturday, with Sam Keeping ($2.90) and Amelia Keeping ($7.50) also rated as chances.
“They’ve all probably got a chance but whoever leads will probably win it,” Roberts said.
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“They’ve all been consistent. Nikita raced at Wentworth Park the other night, she’s been going good but she was a bit unlucky … just a few things went wrong in the running.
“Amelia, last week was her first 500 and Sam’s coming back from a bit of a spell but he’s always been a consistent dog with a bit of ability.”
But they could face a threat from Pickering’s Swift Jessica ($13.50) and Clarke’s Much Ado ($5.50).
The Coonamble-trained black bitch is searching for her second win from 10 starts but managed a respectable 30.80 seconds in her first attempt over the 516-metre distance, while Clarke’s brindle bitch boasts a best time of 30.43.
Dubbo Greyhound Racing Club president Shayne Stiff pointed to the race seven free-for-all as Friday’s highlight, and a very tight contest.
Madeline Keeping ($2.40) will start narrowly as favourite ahead of kennel mate Bolt Keeping ($2.90) but Stiff expected Leighton Winter’s black dog Sageman ($7.70) to challenge for supremacy.
“The free-for-all … that’s the top grade 400 for the day and it’s actually a very good race,” he said.
“Sageman’s got a chance and even the dog in the one, Myrniong Rocket, it’s the first time he’s had a one box for a while and he’s a dog that’s probably been a bit out of luck so if he puts his best foot forward he could give Madeline and Bolt a run for their money.”
The tension is set to extend right up until the final race of the day, with Clarke’s Yarradool and Melanie Mabbott’s Tralee Jaz both vying for their third straight win.
Stiff said Clarke in particular was one to watch, tipping her to challenge Roberts’ hold on the trainer of the year mantle.
Roberts thanked Angela Kilpatrick and Fiona Cole for their assistance with the dogs both around the kennels and on race days.
“It just goes to show you’ve got the consistency of the dogs,” Roberts said of the title.
“At the end of the day we train, but it’s the dogs that are doing the hard work.”