It’s a proven fact that more than 60% of greyhounds that either lead, or are in the leading division at the first turn of a greyhound sprint race, invariably go on to win that race.
Timing the start to perfection is crucial but when there is a $250,000 pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a split second difference at box rise can either enhance or extinguish their chance and that is certainly the case in this Saturday night’s Group 1 Golden Easter Egg final at Wentworth Park.
On past performances, greyhounds that are drawn in boxes four through to eight in the Egg are renowned for their pace from the boxes and undoubtedly hold the key to what will eventuate in the early stages and therefore determine how the race is run and won.
Moreira (box 1), Brad Hill Billy (box 2) and Rare Pearl (box 3) on the other hand are not noted for their speed in the early stages but their strength is undeniable, as each of them have won over the middle distance trip of 600 or 618 metres.
How close they are to the leading division as they head down the back straight will define their chances of running down the leaders but having seen every one of the past twenty five renewals of the Golden Easter Egg, the one thing that sticks in my head is the amount of times that leaders have won the race.
Dawkins Bale began brilliantly from box four last week and ran 5.40 seconds to the first mark but he rarely jumps two starts in succession whereas to my mind, Knight Sprite is a much more reliable beginner and despite being handed the ‘squeeze’ draw of box 5, I think the son of Magic Sprite can be in front at the first turn.
Asa Killa Queen is also noted for his early pace and will want to head straight to the rails as will Dawkins Bale and Blue Revolver from box 7, and while all this is happening, the pocket dynamo, Mitcharlie Mia, could be the beneficiary of a clear run down the outside of the track and be in a prominent position as they head down the back straight.
Prepared by Mitch Northfield at Casino in the Northern Rivers of NSW, Mitcharlie Mia has been in devastating form in recent months and finished second to Dawkins Bale last Saturday night from an identical draw, clocking the third fastest time of any of the runners in the Golden Easter Egg semi finals.
“We came up with box 1 in the 2006 final and finished third with Go Wild Bean but it’s such a big thrill just to have a runner in the race and the support you receive from your family and friends is amazing,” said Northfield.
“She had box 8 in her semi final and although she finished second, I was still really happy with the run and she’ll get her chance from the same draw this week but it’s just a matter of whether you’re good enough.”
The Northfield name is synonymous with greyhound racing and Mitch says to win the race would be a dream come true.
“It’s the pinnacle of greyhound racing in NSW so to win it would be simply amazing…all I hope is that it’s a cleanly run race and that every greyhound get its chance to perform well but obviously we’d love to win it,” he said.
Check out the full TAB.com.au Fixed Odds market for the G1 Golden Easter Egg Final here.
Although she does want to move in a couple of greyhounds after the boxes open, Mitcharlie Mia then runs a straight line to the first turn and I think this is crucial to her chances on Saturday night – she’s proven off an outside draw; she toughed it out to win the G2 Richmond Oaks final three starts back; and she certainly knows how to win as is evident by her record of 18 victories from 35 starts.
I think Knight Sprite can give her supporters a massive sight out in front and you can never discount the Jason Thompson factor, as the champion mentor will line up Moreira off the coveted inside draw.
My main query with Moreira (and likewise for Brad Hill Billy and Rare Pearl) is where he will be not just at the first turn, but also on the home turn, and how much distance he will be spotting the leading chasers.
If Moreira comes out running at box rise and is first or second at the first turn, everything I have written previously will probably be superfluous but I’m just not sure he has the early burn to hold out the speedsters drawn outside him in the middle boxes.
Rare Pearl has proven himself at Wentworth Park and I thought he was over the odds at $13 with TAB.com.au and like the greyhounds drawn inside of him, if he gets the right run in the race, he’ll certainly acquit himself well.
You could honestly have seven tips in the race and still miss the winner and when you are leaving the likes of Brad Hill Billy (a dual Group 2 winner with a 29.37 PB at the track) and Dawkins Bale (runner-up in last years Golden Easter Egg behind Fernando Bale) out of your top four selections, it give you some idea of just how open it is in the $250,000 to the winner event.
My tips in the 2016 Golden Easter Egg final are; Mitcharlie Mia from Knight Sprite, Moreira and Rare Pearl.
The G1 Association Cup for the stayers is another draw-card on the night and I’m tipping Whittaker to defeat the fastest heat winner Come On Fantasy; in the G3 Magic Maiden, Benteke will be all the rage with punters after two brilliant wins in his heat and semi-final; while in the G3 New Sensation final, if El Magnifico can bring his Bulli box manners to Wentworth Park, I think he can win as well.
It is the biggest night of the year for greyhound racing in the Harbour city and I’ll be live trackside on Sky Racing 1 (channel 519) along with Gerard Middleton from the TAB Fixed Odds team with all the late mail and latest betting moves right throughout the night.
Good luck and good punting.
G3 - The Bet365 Classic Trial (class 1)
G3 - The Bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes (class 1)
G2 - The Bet365 Mile (class 1)
TG1 - Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hdle
Grade A - Punchestown Novice H'cap Chase