The scene is set for a sensational night of greyhound racing at Richmond this Friday night when the finals of the Group 2 Richmond Derby and Group 2 Richmond Oaks will be decided.
Four heats of the time honoured events were conducted last week in front of a big crowd at the Londonderry race track with the first and second place-getters progressing through to the finals this week, where the winners will each take home $36,000.
In the G2 Richmond Oaks, most of the favoured runners have found their way through to the final and it promises to be an action-packed race, with a number of the contenders noted for their abundance of early speed from the boxes.
Mitcharlie Mia, who has drawn box 2, will again make the trip down from Casino in the Northern Rivers and her recent form has been exemplary, with four successive victories to her credit, including three at Albion Park before she scored an emphatic win last week in the time of 30.46 when accounting for Outside Pass.
A recent finalist in the Group 1 National Futurity at Wentworth Park, Mitcharlie Mia is certain to have her admirers but so too will Star Torana, who handled box 8 to perfection when she led from the first turn in her heat to record a strong 6.25 length victory in 30.55
While box 4 will provide its challenges for the daughter of Collision and Redskin, the Shaun Evans prepared chaser will be looking to avenge her second placing behind Rue De Kahn in last year’s Oaks final when she led in the early stages.
“I think she’s a much better race dog this time around and I was really happy with the way she worked around the field last week,” said Evans.
“She just needs an ounce of luck in the early stages and she will prove very hard to beat.”
In the Group 2 Richmond Derby final, the Central Coast visitor, Knight Sprite, was simply brilliant when winning his heat last week in a flying 30.40 and this son of Magic Sprite will be well supported to claim his second Group 2 title of his career after winning the Gosford Gup Cup in January.
La Grand Logie, Brad Hill Billy and the Victorian chaser, Sir Charleton, appear to be the toughest to beat but if Knight Sprite clears out in the early stages from box 4, it could well be a case of ‘times and margins please.’
With clear skies and warm weather forecast for Friday evening, Richmond Race Club General Manager, Brad Adam, is expecting a bumper crowd to be in attendance for the meeting.
“We are absolutely delighted with the quality of greyhounds who have made it through to the finals and it all augers well for a great night of racing,” said Adam
“There’ll be plenty of entertainment on offer with a live band playing on the concourse as well as activities for the children and bookings for our ever-popular restaurant are at near full-capacity already.”
I’ll be trackside for our Live Hosting on Sky Racing 1 (Ch519) this Friday night when the first race kicks off at 7.18pm – the feature events are scheduled to commence at 8.58pm for the Richmond Oaks and 9.38pm for the Richmond Derby.
Good luck and good punting.
Grade A - Guinness H'cap Chase
G1 - Irish Daily Mirror War Of Attrition Novice Hdle
G1 - Bibby Financial Punchestown Gold Cup
G3 - Liss A Paoraigh Mares Bumper
G1 - Attheraces Champion Bumper