Maitland Lions Club members paid tribute to long-serving member Col Emery with an afternoon tea and the running of the Col Emery Lions Club Life Member Stakes over 400 metres.
Emery was a regular face at the Maitland greyhounds for more than 40 years as part of the Lions club team that mans the entry gates on race days and was delighted to return on Thursday afternoon to present a trophy to the winner.
The Kristy Sultana-trained Cannikin carved across the field from box eight and led most of the way to make it two from two in a perfect start to its racing career.
The son of Barcia Bale and Celestrial Magic clocked 22.50 seconds to beat the Charmaine Field-trained King Jamati by six and three quarter lengths with the Dave Richardson-trained Sandave Cruise third.
Runners evenly matched
Little separates the eight runners that will contest the Kurri Rural & Pet Produce final over 565m on Thursday afternoon,.
Three tenths of a second separates the three heat winners with Ochre Keroma setting the time standard with a 32.06s effort in the first heat for trainer Wayne Boreland.
The daughter of Spring Gun and Maya Keroma began well from box one and powered home in the straight to run down early leader Disengage (32.12s) by three quarters of a length. The Jeff Eaton-trained You Go Boss (32.54s) was third and also earned a spot in Thursday's final.
Heat two went to the Lena Sweetman-trained Short Signature in 32.32s from the Arthur Langman-trained Nitrol Monkey (32.41s).
Gangster Miss won the third heat in 32.09s for trainer Paul Claridge, beating the Kristy Sultana-trained Tranquil Blossom (32.31) and the James York-trained Sheza Marvel (32.34s).
Purple patch for Zipping Rio
Zipping Rio continued her purple patch of form for Neath trainer Bill Bright with an all-the-way win from box one in he Cant's Building and Construction Stakes over 400m.
The daughter of Don't Knocka Him and Tricky Gypsy has now recorded impressive wins at Maitland, Gosford and Wentworth Park in the past two months for a record of eight wins and seven placings from 22 starts.
Monthly Medal heats
Racing returns to Maitland this Thursday with heats of the Ladbrokes Monthly Medal for maidens and heats of the Morpeth Heritage Cup for fourth and fifth graders over 450m.