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History is beckoning in the National Championships

 Aug 21 2014

The annual National Sprint and Distance Championships is a unique event and akin to Harness Racing's Inter-Dominion concept, but one thing is for certain, champions do win these races.

The honour roll is littered with some of the greats of the sport and in the Sprint series, the inaugural winner was Best Sun who recorded a time of 26.6/10ths when winning at Harold Park in 1965. 

Since that time, great chasers such as Temlee (1974), Kate's A Scandal (1981), Sandi's Me Mum (1989 & 1990 and the only dual Sprint Championship winner), Flying Amy (1995), Rapid Journey (1998) and Xylia Allen (2013) have all etched their name into the history books as National Sprint Championship victors.

The long distance chasers have also made their mark on the series as stayers of the ilk of He's Some Boy (1973), Dusty Ginny (1978), Bay Road Queen (1982), Boronia Blossom (1995 & 1996 and the only dual Distance Champ. Winner), and Miata (2012) have all tasted National Championships glory.

Dashing Corsair also earnt himself a piece of Nationals history by being the only greyhound to win a Sprint (2009) and Distance (2011) Championship final.

This Saturday night, the 2014 G1 National Championships will be held at Cannington for the very last time before the venue undergoes a proposed major redevelopment, and it could be a case of history being made in the Staying Championships final.

Xylia Allen is just $14,133 behind Miata's Australian record for the most prizemoney earnt by a greyhound which stands at an amazing $715,508. 

Winning ($75,000 prizemoney) or finishing runner-up ($21,000 prizemoney) in the final will see Xylia Allen eclipse the former champion's record and fittingly propel this gallant chaser into the record books.

A multiple Group 1 winner with a plethora of track records in her CV, Xylia Allen ($3 on Fixed Odds) will face her sternest opposition from fellow Victorian chaser Sweet It Is ($2.50 fav.) who in 2014 has already taken out the two most prestigious staying events on the calendar, the G1 Association Cup and the G1 Sandown Cup.

Check the full market for the National Distance Championships here.

Drawn beside each other in boxes 6 and 7, both greyhounds are blessed with blinding speed although their racing patterns could not be more diverse.

Xylia Allen is a greyhound who likes to race up or near to the lead while Sweet It Is invariably comes from well back in the field as was evidenced by her stunning victory in the Association Cup earlier this year when defeating Xylia Allen.

I do think that Xylia Allen will break Miata's prizemoney record on Saturday night but I think it may come with her filling the runners-up position rather than winning.
With its sweeping turns and testing 715 metre journey, Cannington is made to order for a chaser like Sweet It Is. 

Combine that with the fact she is prepared by champion trainer Darren McDonald who quite openly admits Sweet It Is "is a freak" and it's a compelling case for victory for the daughter of Mogambo.      

What will be compelling will be the duel between two outstanding greyhounds and you can watch all the action of the National Distance Championship final on Sky Racing 1 (Channel 519) at 10.52pm AEST.

The National Sprint Championship also looms as an intriguing race and as usual, champion WA trainer Linda Britton will be flying the flag for the locals when she prepares Zelemar Fever ($6.50 on Fixed Odds) and Star Recall ($4) in the hope of securing her first National Sprint title.

Check the full market for the National Sprint Championships here.

Britton's only taste of National's glory came when Paradise Street won the Distance Championship at Cannington in 1998 and despite winning a remarkable nine State Sprint titles, victory in a National Sprint final still eludes her.

Queensland chaser Flash Reality ($2.80) and NSW galloper Chica Destacada ($4) hold the call on Fixed Odds markets, and are expected to be amongst the leaders in the rush to the first turn. What is interesting to note is that Flash Reality has won 10 of his last 11 starts since being transferred to the kennels of leading conditioner Tony Brett.

With proven speed and strength, and coming off a slashing 30.28 trial at the track, I'm tipping Flash Reality to defeat Chica Destacada, with Zelemar Fever and Bessy Boo to fight out the minor positions.

Join Dave Carlson for all the live action from Cannington on Saturday night with the National Sprint final due to jump at 11.37pm AEST on Sky Racing 1 (Channel 519).

And as we take a walk down memory lane, watch Rapid Journey's remarkable win in the 1998 National Sprint Championship at Cannington.

Mark Duclos - (Image: GRV)

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