Cledge gets by with a little help from the kids
By BRUCE KNIGHT
JUST before Christmas the Steve Dransfield-trained Cledge had a very heavy tumble when racing through a packed field.
Since then, a lot of TLC and beach sprinting has rebuilt her confidence, and she showed this with an outstanding all-the-way win in the Charcoal Inn Stake (484m) at the Casino greyhounds meeting on Friday.
Jumping straight across the field from box seven, she grabbed a winning break at the point where she fell, before holding on stoutly to win by 1.5 lengths.
The trainer heaped all of the praise on his children, Kasey, Sharaya, Maddie and Kody, saying it was 'their' dog, and they had done all of the work to get her back to her best.
The win was her first on her home track and there could be more in store.
Another dog to make a successful return was former cup-winner Hot Syrup. He was having his first run since November and he jumped straight to the front to lead all-the-way in Casino RSM Club Stake (411m).
It had been reported that he had been trialling well, and the time of 23.37 was just outside the best of the day. As normal, the cheer squad was on hand to give trainer Bob Cooke and 'Wally' a resounding reception.
It was John Free's Free Phantom who did run the best time (23.35), when he speared out of the traps to lead throughout. The win followed a good second at Lismore the previous Tuesday, and punters were keen to get on. It was his 12th career win, with a personal best time here.
Ruby Lavelle, who was a certainty beaten at the last meeting, atoned with an emphatic victory in the McDonald's Pharmacy Maiden (484m).
Trained by Jefferey Smith, Ruby Lavelle spreadeagled the field to win by eight-and-a-half lengths in a handy 27.86. After being virtually knocked over at the start the previous week he made sure it didn't happen again by jumping straight onto the bunny.
Leeville trainer Faye Currey continued on her winning way with Count Dracula taking out the Mixed final (411m) in 23.75, while Towering Cloud made it two in a row by powering home late to get the judge's nod by a head in 27.96. Gavin Lowe trains him at Kyogle.
Shadow Force also backed up for another win by railing through over the final stages and saluting for Jeff Ahern in 23.54 and the well-graded Akadan also used the shortest way home to win the Bralyn Maisie Stake (411m) for Claude Dacey.
Steve Kavanagh's Rumble Echo appreciated the run on the track the week prior, and stormed home in the Nature Vet Distance Stake (620m), clocking 36.37, while Sherry's Road raced away with the Richmond Valley Pet Supplies Stake (484m), winning by more than seven lengths.
The two non-TAB maiden winners, Little We Know (Rob Duncan), and Psychic (Chris Schaefer), clocked 23.78 in winning their respective heats, so this week's final could be a tight affair.