Punters face tough task at Grafton greyhound meet
GRAFTON Greyhound racing is on this afternoon in the twilight timeslot, with a very tough 10- race card set down for decision.
I say tough because it's hard to pick a winner when we have eight fifth-grade races and two low-grade mixed races taking place.
I have made my best bet in race one in the shape of the Ben Ellis-trained Robell Ronny, drawn in box four in the Ladbrokes 0-1 wins over the 480m trip. Ellis's team are certainly soaring at the moment with the flying Push Me the star of his kennel.
Looking at Robell Ronny's past five runs, he certainly looks the winner tonight. After chasing home the promising Dashing Thunder four runs ago, finishing a good second over 407m, Robell Ronny then ran a great second here two runs ago over the 480m trip, going down narrowly to Mr Blaster in the excellent time of 27.46. Robell Ronny's time of 27.51 in second would certainly win tonight's race.
Robell Ronny then ran a good race again last week, a strong third behind Porsche Cloud in 23.31 over the 407m trip.
Race eight is the best race on tonight's card and is also the hardest to pick on paper.
The Ladbrokes Switch Final over 407m, worth $2000 to the winner, deadset looks to have every dog in this race with a great winning chance.
We had five heats last week with winning times ranging from 23.16 to the slowest time of 23.53. The fastest heat was run by the Evelyn Harris-trained Boom Yah Bonus, which just held off the unlucky Dave Irwin-trained Jimmy The Fox.
Jimmy The Fox checked off Boom Yah Bonus at the first turn last week and his run to finish second, beaten a nose, was full of merit. Boom Yah Bonus also ran the fastest first section time of 8.41 so, as they say, leaders in finals are always hard to beat - and you would think Boom Yah Bonus would lead again. Nimble Valley, drawn in box seven for Dessie Winters, ran 23.16 when winning his heat, running a first split of 8.48. Sail Alone, who ran a good second to Nimble Valley in the heat, has drawn the prized one alley in the final and I have made him my top pick at a bit of value.
Trevor Rice's Kalang Beach ran the next fastest time of 23.23 when winning his heat from box four. Kalang Beach is much improved lately, winning his past two starts here at Grafton in 23.23. One thing about Kalang Beach is he can certainly power to the line, coming from behind in both recent wins when the leader looked home.
Leon Cunningham's Slipping Away won a heat in 23.34, continuing his consistent form of late, and Manny Antonelli's Sail Bye was the other heat winner, running 23.53.
As I said earlier, this final is a very tough race to pick on paper, but I will go for the Manny Antonelli-trained Sail Alone on an each-way basis purely because he has drawn the coveted rails alley. Orara Maddison for Gary Smith was another one to get beaten in her heat, but she also has a good hope tonight with her early speed.
Boom Yah Bonus has to go in the placings, but I still may have missed the winner as it's such a tough race.
Race 4 tonight, The Village Green Hotel Stakes over 305m, is where I think we can find another winner. I'm tipping the Kenny Staines-trained Freddy's Home to get the chocolates from the box one draw. Before having a two- month break, Freddy's Home ran two seconds and won his two previous starts - before resuming with a good second last week, going down narrowly in 17.77.
Tonight, from this inside draw I expect Freddy's Home to bounce straight on the bunny and run a time of about 17.60, which would by way too good for his opposition.
The first of this afternoon's 10 races is on at 3.32pm and the last is set for 6.27pm.