All eyes focused on the Vince Curry youngsters


Caption: Successful Vince Curry trainer Ned Snow (right) with handler Dave Eisel and 2022 winner Shipwreck. Snow also won the feature with Woops A Daisy in 2003. (Photo: Just Greyhound Photos)

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Ipswich Greyhound Club’s Weekly Wrap with MIKE HILL

THE time has come for the class of 2024 to strut their stuff.

We’re talking about the 40th running of Ipswich’s glamour race – the $112,500 Group 3 Vince Curry Memorial  series over 520m for maiden performers.

Many of the youngsters – hand-picked by connections as the best of their litter – will be racing for the first time in eight intriguing heats at the Ipswich Showgrounds circuit on Saturday.

In fact 49 of the 61 runners are stepping out for their first public appearance, so trying to find a winner won’t be easy.

The best guide could be seeking out the better bred youngsters and following the big-name kennels.

It’s a series most trainers covet with leading greyhound race caller John Brasch  saying earlier in the week: “The winner of the Vince Curry has immediate status. It’s a proven stepping stone to higher honours in the sport.”

Brasch said the race,  first run in 1984, had not only stood the test of time, but has flourished.

Following Saturday’s heats, semi-finals will be run a week later with the $75,000-to-the-winner final on Saturday, February 3, wrapping up the Queensland Golden Greys Summer Racing Carnival.

An early assessment of some of the runners:

Heat 1: Well-bred first-starter Callisto (Barcia Bale-Solar Sky), under the guidance of master trainer Tony Zammit, is certain to have solid support from box 5. It could be a big night for Zammit, who has outstanding stayer Valpolicella running in the $54,000 Group 2 Summer Distance Plate Final (720m) at Wentworth Park.

Heat 2: The Gerald Corrigan-trained Zephyr (Tommy Shelby-Flying Yuna), jumping from box 2, is a litter brother to the promising Garrison (Chris Brydon), a super 30.24s Novice winner (520m)  at Ipswich last month after breaking his maiden with a slick 30.39s victory at Albion Park in late November. Ned Snow, a two-time Vince Curry winner with Woops A Daisy (2003) and Shipwreck (2022) has Electric Man (Out Of Range-Go Lou Go) well boxed in one. Littermates Extreme Tension (Heat 1), Mischievous Lou (Heat 7) could be worth watching.

Heat 3: Michael Boody, trainer of first-starter Out The Bottle (Whiskey Riot-Night Time Lover) is no stranger to Vince Curry glory. He was successful with Red Aces back in 2008 and he makes the trip down from Dalma in Central Queensland with his runner drawn in box 2. Gone Walkabout (SH Avatar-She’s Some Gal) , jumping from box 8, is one of four runners from the powerful Tom Tzouvelis team in the series – the others being  Tsu’tey (Heat 4), Duffman (Heat 6) and Lemke Hawke (Heat 8).

Heat 4: Fire Up Baz (Flying Fired Up-Kiss An’ Roll) comes from the strong Jeff and Jane Crawford kennels and will be well-prepared for a strong first-up effort out of box 1. The Crawfords also have littermate Fire Up Pope in Heat 3.

Heat 5: Tim Britton produces first-timer Mepunga Tully (Fernando Bale-Mepunga Isla) from box 8 and the young sprinter should be well-supported. The only two littermates that have hit the tracks have been very impressive: Mepunga Reward has four wins and a second from five outings including a 29.27s run at Sandown (515m) and a 29.74s (525m) at The Meadows, while Tully Luna has three wins and two placings from seven starts with a 29.91s PB at Sandown.

Heat 6: This looks the toughest heat of the eight with a grouping of well-bred youngsters. Darren Russell, certain to have his team well-schooled, has Cash Cloud (Bernardo-Misty Haze) jumping from the inside, Jedda Cutlack produces Duffman (SH Avatar-She’s Some Gal) in two, Jamie Hosking will unveil Down Size (Fernando Bale-Emmaville Star) in four, while Andrew Monaghan has Get On (Superior Panama-Precious Sal) in five and leading CQ trainer Ken Boody has Tijuana Twinkle (Whiskey Riot-Butterfly Is She) in eight.

Heat 7: The Sharyn Jackson-trained Gold Sequani (Fernando Bale-Sequana) should have plenty of admirers despite drawing box seven. If she can live up to some of her litter mates, particularly Celtic Goddess (three wins and a second from four starts, including a 30.49s Ipswich PB), she should have a bright future.

Heat 8: Ryan Ayre rugs up the regally bred That’s Nuts (box 4) by Barcia Bale from the highly talented Group winning bitch Pump It (59: 18-8-8; $127,060), while Darren Russell has Beautiful Chaos – another from the Superior Panama-Precious Sal litter – in three.

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SEVERAL trainers led in winning doubles at Ipswich in the past week.

Greg Stella produced Rylee’s River ($1.85 fav) for maiden success over 431m (24.93s) and a flying Magistrate ($1.18 fav) in the 3rd/4th Grade, clocking a slick 24.66s, on Friday, while Jeff Crawford rugged up his double on Saturday with Bootin’ Boodie ($3.80) in a 4th/5th Grade (431m) and Arbela ($2.60) continuing her winning run in a 5th Grade (431m).

Tom Tzouvelis, with well-fancied maiden winners Suppose ($1.70) and Mo’at ($2.30), and Darren Russell (Aussie Courage $5.50 and Hilde $3) shared the honours at Tuesday’s meeting.

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