Em­grand eyes gold

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING - JEFF COLLERSON

MRS Em­grand has not raced or tri­alled on the Pinebowl cir­cuit but trainer Luke Az­zopardi is con­fi­dent that in­ex­pe­ri­ence won’t pre­vent her win­ning to­mor­row night’s $10,000-to-thewin­ner Lad­brokes Nowra Gold Cup.

To start from box seven in the 722m event, Mrs Em­grand took her long-dis­tance record at Went­worth Park to five wins and two plac­ings from eight starts when she led through­out over 720m last Satur­day night.

She ran her ri­vals off their legs to win by five lengths in 41.98, clearly her per­sonal best time and just 0.60sec out­side the track record set by Tor­nado Tears in April.

“I gave her a post-to-post trial at Rich­mond on Thurs­day morn­ing and Mrs Em­grand went ex­tremely well,’’ Az­zopardi said.

“Her run-home time was ter­rific and, af­ter the hit-out, you would not have known she had a run, she could have gone around again.

“I be­lieve she can be­come one of Australia’s top stay­ers and, if she is go­ing to do that, she prob­a­bly needs to win this race at Nowra.’’

Mrs Em­grand’s tough­est op­po­nents to­mor­row night are likely to be Princess Nala (box one), Show Me Con­fetti (three) and vet­eran Ebby Rip­per (eight), who will lin­ing up for her 125th race.

Show Me Con­fetti made the pace when third to Blue Moon Ris­ing and Ebby Rip­per over 720m at WP on Wed­nes­day night but Alan Proc­tor, whose wife Chris­tine trains the grey­hound, con­cedes Mrs Em­grand looks hard to beat.

“We raced Princess Nala pre­vi­ously over 722m at Nowra and Show Me Con­fetti led, with Princess Nala nail­ing her right on the line,’’ Proc­tor said.

“But Mrs Em­grand looks the one to beat in the cup, espe­cially from her good draw.’’

To­mor­row night’s other ma­jor event is Grafton’s Ge­orge’s Tree Ser­vice Jacaranda Maiden, where lo­cal trainer Reg Gar­doll will be chas­ing his sec­ond ma­jor maiden fi­nal in 10 days.

Gar­doll, who won a race with his first grey­hound, a give­away, ex­actly 50 years ago, has Big Bro Tango in box three in the Grafton 407m event.

Big Bro Tango’s heat time for 407m of 23.48 was slower than the 23.37 posted by My Mate Mor­ton and Nim­ble Val­ley’s 23.39 but Gar­doll’s dog clocked the quick­est first split of 8.51sec.

“I won the Pop North­field Memo­rial fi­nal with Profit Plan at Casino on Oc­to­ber 25 and Big Bro Tango gives me a good shot at the dou­ble,’’ Gar­doll said.

“He is im­prov­ing with ev­ery run and is nor­mally a re­li­able be­gin­ner so looks boxed OK in three. I have al­ways had a good opin­ion of Big Bro Tango and was try­ing to have him ready for the July Maiden Clas­sic at Grafton but ran out of time.

“The dog only turns two this month so has it all ahead of him.’’

In 1969, Gar­doll was work­ing as a welder when he met Johnny Sparks, pro­pri­etor of a grey­hound trial track at Hox­ton Park, and was given a dog called Razen Pan­ther.

“I won with him at Moss Vale and through Johnny I ob­tained Cathy’s Re­ject, who be­came my first Went­worth Park win­ner in 1980,’’ Gar­doll said.

Gar­doll, who has 10 grey­hounds in his team, reached the pin­na­cle of his ca­reer when he trained Watch The Web to win the Group 1 Vic Peters Clas­sic at Went­worth Park in 2005.

To­mor­row night’s Grafton race will be held at 7.41pm with the Nowra Cup at 8.18pm.

Mrs Em­grand is held in high re­gard by her trainer, Luke Az­zopardi.

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