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PACE IS ON: Maitland Greyhound Club hosts the final of the City Hotels Challenge on Thursday.
PACE IS ON: Maitland Greyhound Club hosts the final of the City Hotels Challenge on Thursday.

It will be tough to tip a winner in Maitland Greyhound Club’s annual City Hotels Challenge Final at the showground track on Thursday afternoon as little separates the eight finalists.

There was only two tenths of a second between last Thursday’s four heat winners and all four runners-up also have enough form on the board to be serious contenders in the 450-metre $1800-to-the-winner final.

The closeness of the contest will also make it interesting for the local pubs that sponsor the series, with each receiving a runner in the final and the chance to stake claim on the perpetual trophy and bragging rights for the next 12 months.

The Bradford Hotel took home the trophy last year and returns on Thursday to defend its title against the Rutherford Hotel, Windsor Castle Hotel, East Maitland TAB, Shenanigans at the Imperial and the Station Hotel/Motel Kurri.

Rip Masters was first into the final when he won the first heat in 25.39 seconds for Wyee trainer Chrystal Hensing, beating the Lena Sweetman trained Short Signature (25.59s) by two and three quarter lengths.

Allonsy Johnny secured his spot for Wyee trainer Warren Harper with a 25.31s effort to beat the Thomas Campbell-trained Cheeky Chapter (25.48s) by two and a quarter lengths in the second heat.

Sharnie clocked an impressive 25.20s in the third heat for Aberdeen trainer John Lawson and beat the Bruce Mackie-trained In The Moonlight (25.23s) by half a length.

The fourth heat went to the Mark Davidson-trained Truly Dominant in 25.40s with the Geoffrey Sattler-trained Shilo Valley second.

Good luck to all the runners in the final and happy punting to the patrons from the participating hotels.

The John Lawson-trained Sharnie (No.8) was the fastest qualifier for this Thursday’s City Hotels Challenge Final at Maitland Greyhounds.

Clark’s back in winner’s circle

It was great to see Greta trainer Cliff Clark back in the winner’s circle at Maitland with a promising young dog named Smile Good on Thursday afternoon.

Smile Good, a son of Fabregas and Teenage Dream, pinged the lids from box one and led throughout to win the Kirkwood Produce Maiden over 400m in 22.61s.

Punters send the black dog out as the $1.30 red hot favourite and he didn’t disappoint, franking his 22.76s performance trial the previous week.

Cliff also celebrated earlier in the afternoon when Cliff Number One, another dog from the same litter, won his performance trial in 22.78s.

Well done Cliff and I hope there are many more wins in store of Smile Good and Cliff Number One.

Maitland Pickers Cup

If you’re a supporter of the Maitland Pickers rugby league team make sure you get along to the Maitland Showground track on Thursday, August 24 for the running of the inaugural Maitland Pickers Cup.

The weather is now starting to warm and it promises to be a great afternoon racing.