Caption: Proven chaser Farmor Beach is a popular selection to be Racing Queensland’s representative in the Phoenix, however Sky Racing’s Jason Lincoln believes it should be Indictment, pictured. (Photo: Box One Photography)
By Alex Nolan
Racing Queensalnd’s announcement of the $37,500 Listed Queensland Flame will add further spice to a resurgent Summer Carnival, now known as the Golden Greys at Albion Park.
With the grand prize an invitation to represent the Racing Queensland slot in the inaugural $1.145 million The TAB Phoenix, there are sure to be no shortage of contenders willing to chance their arm.
A maximum of four heats will be run on November 25 with the final on December 2, the opening night of the Carnival.
A free pass into the Queensland Flame final, restricted to Queensland trained greyhounds, will be offered to the winner of the G2 Ipswich Cup (November 11) and any Queensland-trained finalist in the G1 Melbourne Cup (November 26).
Prior to the announcement, there was much discussion about who should be invited to take up the slot.
Should it be an up-and-comer? Should it be a greyhound that has experienced racing interstate in the past?
Whichever way you look at it, a series comprising heats and a final with the overall winner to take the slot appears to be the fairest way to decide.
However, if the Queensland representative was to be chosen today, who do the form analysts believe it should be?
We spoke to Race caller John ‘Bunny’ Brasch, TAB’s Gerard Daffy and Sky Racing analyst Jason Lincoln to get their thoughts on who they’d have representing the Sunshine State on December 18.
Brasch believes there are a handful of greyhounds that could take the slot but, at this stage, has Queensland Sprint Champion Farmor Beach as his first elect.
“He made an Easter Egg Final and has had a pretty good year. He did hit a bit of a flat spot but that was owing to some minor injuries,” he said.
“Spotted Elk has risen through the classes quickly and she can match it in our Free For All ranks.”
He also made mention of the Kevin Ellis trained Impact, who at the time of writing, had just scorched the Ipswich track in 30.09 and was on track to take his place in the Ipswich Cup Series.
“The one we don’t know about yet is Orchestrate. If he’s back racing in time, then he has to be in the running.”
Daffy said good early speed would be critical to being competitive in the Phoenix.
He too would be sticking with a proven performer at the top level in the Sunshine State.
“I’m looking for a runner that is a good beginner, or can sit off the pace, and rails … all pretty important in winning any race at The Meadows,” he said.
“Farmor Beach for me. The dog is flying, adaptable, and has been racing at the top level for his entire career.”
Sky Racing form analyst Jason Lincoln, however, is casting an eye to the future for who he’d be sending to the rich feature.
“Indictment,” he said.
“Although Farmor Beach, Extra Malt and Spotted Elk have the ‘runs on the board’, there is no question that Indictment is Queensland’s most exciting greyhound.
“He clearly has the motor to mix it with the better class dogs down South, and what he lacks in early speed he more than makes up for it late.”
The introduction of the Queensland Flame has seen the Group 2 Queensland Derby and Group 2 Bogie Leigh Futurity heats pushed back to December 9, with the final to be staged on December 16.