Hopes high for a home victory

\"\"Caption: Owner Todd Wiegand with his winning treble at Capalaba (Photo: Erin Cameron)

By TERRY WILSON

THERE are still plenty of trials and racing to be done, but a month or so out from the National Straight Track Championships hopes of a home state victory are looking promising.
It will be a history-making occasion when Capalaba hosts the Championship after having the COVID-19 pandemic force the cancellation of last year’s event at the bayside Brisbane track.
This year’s event will hopefully go ahead at Capalaba on August 15 when, for the first time in history, four states will be represented with runners from South Australia (Murray Bridge), Victoria (Healesville), New South Wales (Richmond) and of course Queensland.
At the time of Chase going to print, Queensland is set to play a major hand in proceedings.
And at the back of everyone’s thoughts is if COVID-19 will allow the event to go ahead this time around.
Capalaba champion Columbian King (Jamie Hosking) and Straight Of Origin winner Oliver Keeping (Selena Zammit) were being prepared for a tilt at the  straight track title, which carries Group 3 first money of $25,000.
Columbian King was Capalaba’s 2020 Greyhound Of The Year and trainer Hosking said the star will definitely be a contender for the Championship’s Queensland heats on August 1 and hopefully the Queensland final on August 8.
The dog is coming back from a minor injury and Hosking said it is ‘80 per cent’ likely his kennel star will be right for the big event.
“He’s back in work now and everything seems okay so at this stage that’s definitely where we’re heading,” said Hosking
“He won the state final last year and was to have raced in the national final, but it was cancelled.”
The news was similar at the Zammit kennels at Willow Vale where Oliver Keeping was on the way back from a minor injury setback.
Co-trainer Mick Zammit said the national championship was ‘for sure’ on the agenda for Oliver Keeping.
“That’s his go, he loves the straight and that’s where we’re heading,” he said. “He raced a week ago and pulled up a bit sore, but it’s nothing major.”
Two runners from each of Capalaba, Richmond, Healesville and Murray Bridge will make up the eight for the NTSC final with two Queensland runners to be reserves.
THERE will be a change of dates for the Capalaba Cup as from next year.
Club officials continue to have concerns with the early-year weather so elected to have their big race later, around August and September, in 2022.
“It is always wet in February, March and April,” said club manager Erin Cameron after the last two Cup stagings were beset with issues of heavy rain and the flooding of neighbouring Tingalpa Creek.
“It seems every year we flood.”
The move of Capalaba Cup dates was made easier with the decision of Rockhampton club officials to move their annual G3 classic earlier in the year.
MEANWHILE, Atkinson Dam trainer Sandra Hunt has been the in-form producer of winners up the Capalaba straight.
Her success rate over a month or so has been excellent with two doubles at the track.
Ms Hunt had her first double on May 26 with Market Blaze (20.33s) and Whistle (20.28s), then on June 17 she won with Chad Sure Can (20.17s) and Sox Sure Can (20.48s).
And she made it clear that having Capalaba to use as basically a venue to give her dogs a refresher is ideal.
“I treat it as a trial to get away from Albion Park for a change,” she said.
“Some of my dogs like it and some don’t but there is a bonus involved.”
The obvious add-on is the fact that to race, and maybe win $1000, beats going for trials there when a fee has to be paid for the privilege.
And there is the money paid for unplaced runners as well.
Ipswich club boss Merv Page and owner Todd Wiegand also elbowed in on the action with a treble on June 6.
The pair’s winners were Go Edna Go (20.53s), Matt Chew Man (20.23s) and Lucky Lindy (20.00s).

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