More twists and turns than an Alfred Hitchcock novel.
You could say that about the National Sprint Championship which is unfolding around the land.
With six states competing and eight spots to be filled for the grand finals of the Sprint and Distance Championships, the host state, in this year’s case Queensland, gets two runners. The eighth position goes to a ‘wildcard’ entry which is decided by AGRA group race ratings.
For the Distance series, the wild card is set. Seona Thompson’s Burn One Down won the Victorian qualifier at The Meadows last Saturday night in emphatic fashion. Robert Britton’s Fanta Bale only had to compete to grab the wildcard, which she did. Fanta Bale led that race before folding up to finish fourth.
The National Sprint isn’t so straight forward. Far from it, in fact.
Brett Bravo’s Striker Light contested a sprint heat at Sandown last Thursday and only had to qualify for the state final and start in that race to grab the wild card. There were only two heats so Striker Light had to finish in the first four placings. She ran seventh and relinquished the card which was then in the grasp of Anthony Azzopardi’s Ando’s Mac. That dog contested a NSW heat at Wentworth Park last Saturday. But he finished an out of character last. Bye bye wildcard again!
The card then sat with West Aussie sprinter Pepper Fire at Cannington on Saturday night. There were three heats and Pepper Fire needed to qualify for that state final. But she ran fifth. The card goes begging again!
Next on the list is Queenslander Fast Times for Tony Brett. But the dog won’t be running in tonight’s Queensland heats at Albion Park, not yet recovered from the pin muscle injury that ruled the dog out of the recent Group 1 Maturity Classic Final at The Meadows.
The next greyhound on the AGRA list of achievers is Bewildering who is the current card holder.
The Seona Thompson trained dog ran second in a Victorian state heat at Sandown last Thursday and only has to compete, not necessarily win, in the state final tonight to secure that elusive wild card position.
Let’s consider the unlikely event that Bewildering doesn’t start tonight for some reason. Next on the list is Black Mumbo and Mepunga Blazer who both sit on 70 AGRA ranking points. Black Mumbo has drawn box one for the Victorian Sprint decider, with Mepunga Blazer second reserve.
The scenario is, if Bewildering wins the State Final and Mepunga Blazer doesn’t gain a start, Black Mumbo gains the wildcard.
If Mepunga Blazer gains a start, Bewildering wins and Black Mumbo goes around also, there will be a ballot for who gains the wildcard.
Yes, it’s that easy!