Race Revamp Sets Brothers On Collision Course

THE GBOTA’s decision to overhaul the Christmas Gift is proving most fascinating as we countdown to a big night of racing on Saturday, December 21.

Adam Dobbin

12 December 2019

THE NSW GBOTA’s decision to overhaul the format of the Group 3 Christmas Gift is proving to be most fascinating as we countdown to a bumper night of racing at Wentworth Park on Saturday, December 21.

Traditionally, Wentworth Park has played host to the Group 3 Christmas Gift Final at its annual Christmas race night program, the $25,000 to-the-winner event open to the best sprinters nominated over the 520 metres.

But for the first time in 2019 the event has been totally reformatted, with two four-dog events scheduled, each carrying $25,000 to-the-winner.

The Christmas Gift will be staged over 520 metres, while the Christmas Cheer will be run and won over 720 metres.

And as for the make-up of each of the two races … that’s where it starts to get interesting.

Christmas Gift – 520m

Eligibility for the Christmas Gift sees positions one and two go to the greyhounds which have recorded the fastest two times over 520m between September 1, 2019 and December 15, 2019.

The third spot goes the way of the Million Dollar Chase winner, meaning Good Odds Harada is a walk up starter if so desired by Frank Hurst.

The final spot heads the way of the highest ranked greyhound under the GRNSW grading policy.

Interestingly, Good Odds Harada boasts the fastest 520m time by way of his sizzling 29.34 Million Dollar Chase success.

Sitting second in the time standards is Embye – the son of Keybow a flying 29.40 winner back on October 26.

Trainer Frank Hurst told the Recorder he will in all likelihood head towards the race with Good Odds Harada following Thursday night’s Dapto Megastar.

Trainer Ruth Matic said that a vet appointment on Tuesday will decide Embye’s chances of tackling the race, the hugely talented galloper working his way back from kidney stress following his most recent appearance at Dapto.

With Good Odds Harada laying claim to two of the four spots, one additional slot will be determined by the grading policy.

And in the event that Embye doesn’t come up for the group 3 feature, that number will extend to three.

Expected nominations for the race include the people’s champ Feral Franky, while Million Dollar Chase finalist Pindari Express is another likely to be front and centre.

Given the top-down grading applied, another in the mix will be Jamella Jet while Rob Tyler plans to nominate Zipping Truvy in the hope a spot opens up for the daughter of Zulu Zeus.

Christmas Cheer – 720m

Barring an outrageous performance this weekend, Blue Moon Rising and Mrs. Emgrand have the fastest two time positions all parceled up.

Sydney Cup winner Boom Down is guaranteed a spot in the field but co-trainer Tom Dailly told the Recorder on Monday that his powerhouse stayer is a 50/50 chance at best of contesting the race.

The Group 1 Sale Cup heats are scheduled to be run the day prior to the Christmas Cheer with a trial at the venue on Tuesday likely to decide which direction the son of Magic Sprite heads.

That leaves one, and depending on Boom Down, perhaps two spots to be decided by the grading policy.

It leaves the door ajar for the likes of Just Terms, Ebby Ripper or even Tornado Tears to force their way into the race.

There’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge until nominations for the two races close next Tuesday.