Caption: Fernando Grand, winning at Albion Park, is also showing a liking for the Capalaba straight (Photo: Box 1 Photography)
Capalaba wrap by ALEX NOLAN
Fernando Grand continued to enhance his reputation as one of South East Queensland’s most promising youngsters when he took out November’s Capalaba Derby.
The son of Fernando Bale (x Precious Sal) beat home Davey Fawner in a rough and tumble affair to win in 19.64 seconds.
The win also continued trainer Gary Mackay’s comeback to the winners’ list, after a more than two-year absence.
“I thought it was a great effort considering he got knocked down three times,” Mackay said.
“But he is a big dog so he can take some knocking around. If he gets a clear run anywhere he can run time.
“He’s pretty slippery up the straight … there’s no reason he won’t improve with a couple more looks at Capalaba.”
Fernando Grand arrived at Capalaba via the Listed Rising Stars series at Albion Park.
The blue dog, owned by Gary’s wife Caroylyn, ran a bottler to finish second in his heat behind Pixie My Love before missing the kick in the final to finish last.
“He was over the top, which is why he went for a break after that,” Mackay said.
Mackay said the now two-year-old still had some maturing to do.
“He’s still hypo. He’s hypo in the car, in the kennels, he just barks. I just put the deafeners in,” he said.
At the time of writing Fernando Grand had won a heat of the Tommy Hoyland Memorial and was entered in a heat of the Queensland Derby at Albion Park.
New starting procedure welcomed
Following a successful trial of the new starting procedure at Capalaba throughout December, it will become a permanent fixture at all race meetings.
The new procedure shifts the four-to-five second delay from before the green light is switched on, to after the green light is switched on.
Once all trainers are clear behind the yellow line, the green light will be switched on, followed by a delay before the lure takes off.
This brings the starting procedure in line with Albion Park and Ipswich.
Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club Manager, Erin Cameron said after holding some concerns initially, she was pleased with the feedback from participants.
“We conducted over 50 trials using the new system and there was no negative feedback whatsoever,” she said.
The new starting procedure will be adopted at all race meetings from January 9.
Priest cements place on leaderboard
Capalaba’s leading trainer Terry Priest was on track to surpass his previous best for most winners in a year as the premiership race wraps up.
At the time of publication the former Hunter Valley-based trainer sat on 84 total winners for the season, and looked set to surpass his personal best (85) set in 2020.
Priest has made Capalaba a happy hunting ground since relocating to the Sunshine State, with 122 career winners up the straight at a strike-rate of 18%, including 60 winners at the track this season.
Priest-trained runners maintain a 51% place strike-rate over the 366m course.
Priest sat on 550 points on the trainer points tally as at December 9, and was 343 points clear of his nearest rival Cecil Druery (207 points).
At the time of publication, Magical Trav had competed 30 times at Capalaba in 2021 for 15 wins.
The Cyndie Elson-owned son of Fernando Bale (x Cyndie’s Magic) boasts a career total of 22 wins down the straight.
Litter brother and kennel mate Magical Len, who is too owned by the Elsons, started 50 times at the track for five winners, but had filled the minor placings on 27 occasions.
Meanwhile, greyhounds drawn wide continue to strike at a high rate at Capalaba.
As the year draws to a close, Box 7 was on track to be the most successful with a strike-rate in excess of 17%.
Box 8 was the next most successful (16%), with Box 4 in third on 14.3%.
The figures varied from those in 2020, when Box 8 proved the most successful starting point with a winning strike-rate just short of 20%.