Maitland series reaches for the stars

\"\"Caption: A busy presentation arena after last year’s Ladbrokes Maitland Future Stars Maiden Series (400m) was taken out by Zipping Kyrgios

By MIKE HILL

THE $15,000-to-the-winner Ladbrokes Maitland Future Stars Maiden Series (400m) is fast becoming \’a star maker\’ event, says club operations manager Tony Edmunds.

In the past four years the feature has produced four outstanding winners – one, in particular, becoming a millionaire.

The brilliant Frank Hurst-trained Good Odds Harada won the Future Stars final in October, 2018, at just his second race start and 12 months later became an instant millionaire, winning the second edition of the TAB Million Dollar Chase Final at Wentworth Park.

Other recent winners include Sky Wave in 2017, Drink Shoey (2019) and last year the brilliant Zipping Kyrgios was successful for trainer John Finn.

So there\’s a bit to live up to for the class of 2021 when the youngsters take to the track in this month\’s series.

Heats will be run on Monday night, October 18, with the $22,500 final a week later (October 25).

Edmunds said the club\’s aim was for the Future Stars to eventually be elevated to a Listed event.

\”We have doubled the prizemoney for the winner in the past two years from $7500 to $15,000 in the hope of securing black type soon,\” he said.

\”And it\’s fast becoming a star-maker series.\”

He pointed out the calibre of recent winners:

*Good Odds Harada (80: 32-21-11; $1,308,525) a millionaire;

* Sky Wave (49: 25-1-6; $172,025) finished third to Mystic Riot in the inaugural Million Dollar Chase in 2018;

* Drink Shoey (43: 18-6-6; $80,234) ran a slashing 22.06s to win the Future Stars and continued a successful career in New Zealand; and

* Zipping Kyrgios (36: 17-9-5; $135,330), winner of the G3 Bob Payne Sprint at Wentworth Park in May and one of the country\’s current star sprinters.

Although Sydney-trained youngsters have dominated the series lately, Edmunds said he wouldn\’t be surprised to see \’a local win this year\’.

\”The industry has picked up tremendously and the quality of dogs here is enormous,\” he said.

\”We also have some outstanding trainers in the region, including the powerful Jason Mackay kennels.\”

Edmunds said trial numbers at Maitland had gone through the roof in the past few weeks.

\”We\’ve had some big-name trainers trialling quality pups and I\’m expecting those numbers to increase further as the series gets closer,” he said.

\”Trainers say the Maitland track with its long straight is one of the best trialling tracks around.

\”The long straight helps young dogs to learn to stretch out.

\”This year we\’re seeing a lot of Zipping Garth pups here recording good trial times.

\”Zipping Garth loved the Maitland track, clocking fast times, and it appears his pups also like the track.\”

(Zipping Garth, a sensational chaser whose race career was cut short by injury, is making a name for himself at stud.)

Meanwhile, Edmunds said he was hoping for eight heats for the Future Stars series, but added: \”If we receive more noms we have to capacity to program more heats.\”

And he has his fingers crossed that Covid-19 lockdown issues will have eased by then.

\”It would be lovely if we could open up for the public,\” the club boss said.

\”Some of the best youngsters in the state will be on show.\”

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