Elusive Desire ready to run after health scare
A HEALTH scare will not stop flying Northern Rivers hopeful Elusive Desire lining up alongside some of the country's best greyhounds in one of Australia's biggest races of the year.
The in-form sprinter, aiming for a $100,000 jackpot, will jump from box six in the first of five heats of the Group 1 Garrard's Winter Cup (520m) at Albion Park in Brisbane.
Elusive Desire, owned and trained by Colin Graham of Wiangaree, is aiming for a fourth consecutive win at Albion Park.
But the tough opposition will include last year's winner Flash Reality (box four) and gun Victorian Armed And Ready (box three).
Elusive Desire was briefly struck down by kennel cough after his $25,000 Flying Amy Classic triumph earlier this month but Graham said his sprinter was readyto fire again.
"It may have done him good to have had a week off," Graham said.
"He has a decent chance here.
"Flash Reality is a quality greyhound but he hasn't gone as well recently.
"I'm sure Armed and Dangerous will be hard to beat as well.
"I watched a couple of Flash Reality's videos and he seems to go off at the first turn.
"That should give Armed and Ready some space but won't help mine.
"Having said that, mine is looking good and I'm sure he won't disgrace himself."
Elusive Desire's Flying Amy Classic triumph took his career record to 11 wins and seven placings from 27 starts.
He has now earned almost $70,000 in prizemoney and with a best time of 29.81s at Albion Park he must be respected.
There are three other Northern Rivers hopefuls in the Winter Cup.
Frank Hancock of Spring Grove has Lady Abigail racing in the second heat; Marilyn Johnson of Bentley has Knave in the fourth heat; and Mathew Reid of Old Bonalbo has experienced sprinter Miner's Moss in the fifth heat.
Star Victorian and last Saturday night's Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic runner-up Dyna Double One jumps from box eight in the second heat.
Andrea Dailly's greyhound is arguably the second best sprinter in the country behind superstar Fernando Bale and looks the top series pick.
Double Group 1 winner Keybow, gun Victorian Dawkins Bale and top NSW hopeful Zipping Midge are among other strong contenders for a place in the final next Thursday.
Graham is determined not to relax despite scoring the biggest victory in more than 40 years' involvement with the sport with the Flying Amy victory.
"I think if you win a big race it takes the pressure off you," he said.
"If he wins anything else now it's a bonus.
"It's been a terrific couple of weeks but I'm not getting carried away.
"He is only 30 months old so he could win more, but I just want him to stay fit and healthy."
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!
UNBEATEN Laverne looks the one to back in the $10,000-to-the-winner Cosmic Rumble @ Stud Stakes (520m) decider at Lismore next Tuesday.
The exciting pup made it seven wins from seven starts with a sparkling 30.24s victory in the heats. Owned and trained by Frank Hancock of Spring Grove, Laverne is one of NSW's most eye-catching greyhounds.
She will likely face tough competition from Master Jackpot in the decider, which is one of the Northern Rivers' biggest races of the year.
Owned and trained by Robert Cooke of Woodview, Master Jackpot was the fastest qualifier in the heats with a terrific 30.10s run.
Meanwhile, racing on the Northern Rivers will continue at Casino tomorrow. Select Selwood (Race 4), Berellan Opal (Race 6) and Jimary Jamyson (Race 10) look the best bets of the day.
Fields, form and selections for Casino and Lismore are at http://www.thedogs.com.au