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Digger’s off to Sandown prior to Tara final
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Dennington greyhound Digger Two, a brilliant heat winner last Friday, will race at Sandown Park tomorrow night prior to contesting the grade six final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
The Ray Drew trained son of Spring Gun and Transcendence has drawn box six at Sandown in a grade six event over 515 metres with his trainer keen to try the November 2014 whelping in a city low-grade event .
And while it’s a fair step up from Tara Raceway to Sandown Park, Digger Two continued his excellent form at the local track last Friday when running a best of day 30.11 seconds in the Berringa Park Stake (the second heat of the grade six series).
Only fairly away from box six, the black dog chased tenaciously into the first turn before taking over from the well-supported Spinach going into the back straight and running out a comprehensive 9¼ length winner.
The win was Digger Two’s second at the track after an impressive effort earlier in the month in a maiden final with Drew believing Tara Raceway has been good for the dog.
“I’ve always reckoned he had his fair share of ability,” the veteran trainer said. “But it wasn’t until I brought him over here behind the finish-on-lure that he really started to get his act together.”
The locally owned and trained Azumi Swift will clash again on Sunday with Digger Two after defeating that greyhound in a heat of the maiden and then running unplaced in the final.
Raced by Lee and Steve Bartholomew and trained by the former at Worrolong, the February 2015 daughter of Cosmic Chief and Azumi Touch kept kicking up on the rails in what was a keenly-contested first heat of the grade six series before running out a 2½ length winner in 30.58 seconds.
Sunday’s final should be an interesting affair although Digger Two and Azumi Touch do look the main chances, particularly after drawing boxes one and two respectively.
BACK AMONG THE WINNERS
The introduction in SA of non-penalty Pathway Racing continues to work well at Tara Raceway with Fu Ling Shen and Bluey Benz afforded the opportunity of finding winning form again through the time-standard format.
For the pair, successful in the heats of the Pathway (400 m) last Friday, it was a case of Fu Ling Shen being back among the winners after a three-month run of outs and Bluey Benz back in the money after five months.
Fu Ling Shen, a daughter of Fear Zafonic and Ren Shen, is owned and trained at Tahara by Bernie Rogers but as is generally the case it was his right hand man in Shane Flink who was on track to handle the white and black bitch – and wasn’t there a spring in his step as he led back the winner!
Away fairly from box seven, Fu Ling Shen quickly took the lead off Bungaloo Pearl and from then on was never in any danger of defeat, eventually running out a three length winner over Tank Tank in 23.61 seconds.
She’s now drawn box one in Sunday’s final and looks the one to beat. But because her winning time was under the Pathway standard of 23.69 seconds she’ll then be back with the big boys until such time as she strings together four runs outside the designated time standard.
Bluey Benz, which will have to contend with box six in the final, virtually led all the way from box eight, hanging on to defeat Chelsea Bird by a neck in 23.72 seconds and retain his Pathway status.
Owned locally by Allen Williams and trained by his son David at Tarpeena, Bluey Benz should be better for the run after having been off the scene since June.
Chelsea Bird, which has drawn box eight for Allendale East trainer Connie Miller, also should be better for the run as she was another one that had not raced since June.
In fact, the well-bred daughter of Makeshift and Irish Fantasy had raced on only five occasions this year leading into last Friday’s heat. And a win in Sunday’s final would be her first in almost 12 months.
MITCHEM’S MAIDEN DOUBLE
A quick back-up seemed to work in Mayze’s favour at Tara Raceway’s meeting last Sunday when she led all the way to score a comprehensive 8¾ length victory in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m).
Considering the weather conditions, the winning time of 23.64 seconds was more than handy and came two days after Mayze had run fourth behind Stout And Story for trainer Brad Mitchem.
Owned in NSW by John Atkinson, the black bitch has been in Mitchem’s kennels since May with the win over the short course coming at her 11th start after her past five runs had been over distances ranging from 319 metres to 600 metres.
By Magic Sprite out of Hurricane Luke bitch Kellmarg, Mayze is a member of a June 2014 litter that is turning out to be quite handy – Arena Magic having won seven races (including three at Wentworth Park) and Illusionary, a four-race winner, including two over 720 metres at Wentworth Park.
Mayze, which will jump from box five in Sunday’s Laser Electrical Stake (400 m), was the first leg of a Mitchem double, with Benji Girl finally overcoming seasonal and toe injury issues to win The Border Watch Maiden Stake (400 m).
The Sandford trainer’s last double had been on May 6 when Crazy Sprite and Julie’s Love had been successful. Mitchem has now trained 13 winners this year at Tara Raceway and is among the top 10 leading local trainers.