Victorian dog Hone In will start favourite for the Group 2 Maitland Gold Cup after setting a track record in qualifying.
An elite field of one-turn specialists from around Australia will vie for the $40,000 first prize contested over 450m at Maitland Showground on Thursday night, April 12.
Jason Mackay (Aston Duke) is the lone local trainer in a line-up Maitland Greyhound Club manager Tony Edmund says is the fastest in recent memory.
“Only one dog didn’t run under 25 seconds and that dog ran 25.01 so you get an idea how slick the finalists are,” Tony said.
“Hone In broke Old Spice’s track record of 24.68 to qualify and will be hard to beat.
“Jason’s dogs are always well prepared, though. Aston Duke has drawn well in box 2 and knows this track well, so you can’t rule him out.”
The Box Order with heat qualifying times in brackets is as follows:
Box 1. Cavatron (24.75): Victorian dog trained by Paul Abela. Only a young dog, but form has been fantastic. His qualifying time of 24.75 puts him right in the mix.
Box 2. Aston Duke (24.78): Never underestimate a Jason Mackay-trained dog. They’re always well schooled at Maitland. Ran fourth in the Richmond Derby last month.
Box 3. Aston Dinnigan (24.82): Abela’s second dog in the final and a real chance following a blistering 7.71s first section in the heats.
Box 4. Tristan Cannon (24.83): Trained by Jason Magri (NSW) and unbeaten in five starts at Maitland.
Box 5. Big Black (24.95): Trained by Donna Campbell.
Box 6. Hone In (24.63): Trained by Victorian Brett Bravo. Broke the Maitland track record previously held by Old Spice of 24.68 in qualifying for Thursday’s final.
Box 7. Lucky Chat (24.99): Trained by former New South Welshman Anthony Azzopardi, now based in Victoria, and in red hot form.
Box 8. Lagoon Pirate (25.01): Trained by Sharon Webster from NSW.
“Any of these dogs can win on the night, and basically it will come down to who hits the first corner in front and controls the race from there,” Tony said.
“Hone In and Aston Dinnigan ran 7.70s and 7.71s first sections respectively, so you’d expect to see them neck and neck.”
Along with the Maitland Gold Cup, there will be a number of other feature races on the night, including the Margaret Dunn Memorial (450m), The Bronze Bullet (400m) and the Damsel Dash (400m).
“The night is a family event and there will be a games area for the kids, plus full TAB facilities, canteen and bar,” Tony said.
Gates at Maitland Showground open at 6pm with the first race scheduled to get under way at 7.15pm. For more details ring 49 33 70 95.