Lagoon Rhett sets fastest Maitland Winter Cup heat time

BIG WIN: Gloucester trainer Julie Laurantus with In House Challenge Final winner Big Rex Muldoon.
BIG WIN: Gloucester trainer Julie Laurantus with In House Challenge Final winner Big Rex Muldoon.

The heats of the annual Maitland Winter Cup have unearthed a star on the making.

Lagoon Rhett, a 21-month-old son of Cosmic Rumble and Lagoon Lowanna, carved out a best-of-day 24.80 seconds for Cawdor owner-trainer Sharon Webster in the third of five heats over 450 metres on Thursday afternoon.

Lagoon Rhett was safely away from box five and his sensational second section of 18.14s and a 6.66s run-home gave nothing else a chance.

The Bruce Mackie-trained In The Moonlight led early and held on to run seven and a half lengths second with the Lindsay Davis-trained Deejay Frankie third.

Punters sent Lagoon Rhett out as the $1.40 red-hot favourite on the back of two best-of-night 474m wins at Bulli in early May, efforts that clearly show he has all the makings of being a one-turn specialist.

His only blemish in four starts was a fifth at Wentworth Park, a two-turn track, in early June.

The first heat of the Maitland Winter Cup went to Shannon Boyd’s Mephitidae in 25.59s from Will Mays Hayes (25.89s) and Tommy Tucker.

The second heat went to Gary Adams’ Rambo Banner in 25.27s from Gadooga (25.32s) and Bambi’s Billions.

The fourth heat went to Michael Menken’s Sisso’s Joy in 25.45s from Time To Dazl (25.72s) and Leggy Blonde.

The fifth heat went to Michael Menken’s Super Sook in 25.36s from Back Seat Lover (25.57s) and Ninghan Express.

The five heat winners and three fastest seconds will contest the final at Maitland Showground this Thursday.

Bonus payday for Laurantus

Big Rex Muldoon delivered a bonus payday and the perfect bon voyage gift for trainer Julie Laurantus at Maitland Greyhounds.

The son of El Grand Senor and Rose Muldoon slipped under early leader Pa’s Girl on the home corner in the final of the In House Challenge on Thursday afternoon and won the 400 metre event by two lengths in 22.53 seconds.

The $1500-to-the-winner final was worth an extra $600 on normal 5th grade prizemoney and was a welcome bonanza for the Gloucester trainer who is soon to head off on holidays on an ocean cruise.

The Peter Neilson-trained Pa’s Girl looked all over a winner until she ran off on the home turn and did well to finish two-lengths second with the Betty Keene-trained Top Order third.

At one stage it looked like being a big night for Neilson, who operates Peter Neilson Kennels and was one the sponsors of the In House Challenge.

The series involved Maitland Greyhound Club’s service providers True Blue Electrical, JR Richards Waste and Recycling Services, Maitland Show Society, Red TV, Maitland Supporters Club, Amalgamated Cash Services and Brook Group with each having a runner in the final.

Neilson drew Big Rex Muldoon in the final but was unable to present the trophy to Laurantus as he was handling Pa’s Girl.

That honour went to Dave Redding, from True Blue Electrical, who congratulated Laurantus and Big Rex Muldoon on a great effort that brought up a hat-trick of wins at Maitland.

The celebrations continued three races later for Laurantus when Mar Nee Muldoon won the Brook Group Stakes over 400 metres and paid a handsome $26.30 on the tote.

Connections were seen celebrating as one family member was lucky enough to have had $20 each way on the littler sister to In House Challenge winner Big Rex Muldoon.