Emgrand eyes gold
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.