A possible trip to Perth looms for two greyhounds at Friday's meeting at the Hatrick Raceway.
The first four greyhounds to finish in the NZ Nationals Middle Distance (race 10) and NZ Nationals Distance (race 3) semifinals will head down to the Addington Raceway to contest the $50,000 NZ Nationals finals on August 8.
The winner of both of those national finals will represent New Zealand in the August 24 running of the Australian Nationals finals in Perth.
The Australian Nationals is annual interstate challenge where the winners of both State National finals ((middle and distance races) contests the finals with both races carrying an A$75,000 to the winner stake at Group 1 level. The Australian Nationals are rotated around the states on an annual basis.
This is the first occasion that New Zealand trained greyhounds will contest this series, which is great recognition for New Zealand greyhound racing.
Bigtime Rod will load away into the two as the likely favourite in the NZ Middle Distance semi. The Lisa Cole prepared chaser stylishly won his 520m heat in 30.36s last Friday.
Cole also has this season's dual Group 1 winner Trojan Hoarse engaged here. His on the pace racing tactics says that his advancement claims cannot be lightly dismissed after he hops away from trap four here.
Angela Turnwald is mounting a serious looking assault on this race. Her kennels will be represented by four contenders here. Her squad is spearheaded by the multiple Group race winning greyhounds Nature's Gent (trap 6) and Diddilee (7).
They haven't drawn the best for their respective racing styles, however their undoubted class can show up in this event.
Adding intrigue to this event is the presence of the track debuting, Peter Henley Cambridge-trained Isn't She Sassy who has drawn the ace trap. She can and she must contest the early pace.
The stayers are in action for their NZ Nationals Distance semi-final here where a five dog field will be loaded away into the 755m traps.
The Matt Roberts trained Cawbourne Taylor won the Group 1 Wanganui Distance in March from the one trap and she will hop away from that trap this evening.
Shooters Hill only went down by a head margin in the recent Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar final (779m) and he, despite being on track debut here, holds strong advancement claims for his northern conditioner Sam Lozell.
Others who hold qualifying claims includes the locally Mark Goodier trained Silver Collar finalist Bigtime Chloe, along with the exciting up and coming Bill Hodgson prepared young stayer Race Me Home.