Greyhound Racing NSW's distance racing initiative the Ladbrokes Red Dog Series has attracted a crack field of stayers from as far as Sydney and the North Coast for the $5000-to-the-winner 565 metre event at Maitland on Thursday.
Maitland Greyhounds manager Tony Edmunds said the series is designed to provide quality racing opportunities for distance greyhounds across the state and the hugely talented Ruth Matic-trained Embye will lead the charge from box seven in race six at 6.17pm.
Embye clocked a sizzling 31.78 seconds in his first look at the 565m at Maitland in April, last year, and appeared destined for great things until an injury in July sidelined him for more than three months before he returned in October with a sizzling 29.40s win over the 520m at Wentworth Park.
"A repeat of either of those performances will make him hard to beat, especially if he is anywhere near the leaders on the turn for home," Edmunds said.
Veteran trainer Dave Irwin, from Warragai Creek north of Graton, has two live chances in the race with Sprocket Valley jumping from box one and That's Lil Vicki from box three.
Sprocket Valley has the best recent form of the two and ran second in his first look at the Maitland track over 450m in November, clocking a respectable 25.18s behind La Grand Quality's track record effort of 24.56s.
Other live chances are 2018 Maitland Future Stars Maiden finalist Bland Purr from box four for trainer Jodie Lord and the Jason Magri-trained Zipping Falcon from box six.
Four heats of the Club Maitland City Australia Day Cup also feature on the program with the winner and runner-up from each heat to progress to the 400m final next week.
The first race is at 4.42pm and the last at 6.57pm. Entry is via the Evans Street gate, off Louth Park Road.