Frieda Las Vegas! – Archie’s Review of the Vince Curry Memorial Semi-Finals – and a Free Tip From Elvis Into the Winner of the Final

The four semi-finals of the rich Vince Curry Memorial series for young maiden greyhounds was run and won at Ipswich last night, with the first two dogs in each winning their way through to the $40 000 final next week. Favourite punters were largely out of luck on the night, with Farmor Beach in the second semi the only one dog at the top of the market to get the biikkies, and interestingly none of the winners on the night came out of the cherry.

Here’s how the semi’s rolled.

Semi-Final 1

Canya Cruise was sent out as odd-on favourite after her impressive win in the heats, but Serena Lawrence’s boy began slowly, got smashed from pillar to post, and looked to as if he pulled up with a problem, so sadly I wouldn’t expect to see him racing again any time soon.

The winner Northern Ripple was the most experienced greyhound in the race and it showed, with the Michael Lalicz trained lad overcoming a little stutter at the start to quickly accelerate through inside Tony Zammit’s fast beginning She’s Snowy to be in front by the time they hit the first turn, and he powered away from there to win easily.

As nice a looking win as it was, the time of 30.66 was only reasonable for this company, and I have enduring concerns about Northern Ripple’s box manners. It’s all well and good to miss away a beat or two and then accelerate through against average dogs in ordinary races, but you need a hell of a lot of luck to get away with it in a Group 3 final, and the punters section in paupers cemetery is full of gravestones marked with the name Luck.

She’s Snowy did a good job to hang on for second, but doesn’t look like an overly strong dog to me so her best hope in the final is to begin fast from the 2, get the back of Frieda Las Vegas and hope for mayhem behind her (see below).

There was nothing much else to report from the race.

Semi-Final 2

The hot favourite Farmor Beach came out of box 4, and after beginning only moderately for the second week in a row he quickly accelerated to be in front by the time they reached the post the first time, and that was all she wrote. The outsider Hara’s Panda got a clear run across from Box 8 and looked for brief moment like giving the fave a run for his money, but it was short-lived with Steve Scott’s beautifully bred dog by freak sire Fernando Bale out of a Kinloch Brae bitch streaking away to win by panels in 30.48, the fastest time of the night.

The winner and runner-up draw 1 and 8 in the final respectively, and Farmor Beach will head out to the start as a short-priced favourite.

He won’t be carrying my money though.

As impressive as he is in the middle and final stages when on the bunny, Farmor has to be there on it to run the fast times that he does, and I’m from sure that he will in the big one, even from the plum red box. This dog has a bad tendency to dawdle out of the traps before hitting his straps, and while he’s got away with it so far in his two start career I reckon he’s going to find some real problems when Tony Zammit’s fourth heat winner Frieda Las Vegas flies the lids and cuts straight across in front of him. More of that in a minute.

The only other thing to come out of this semi is that you should put the 3rd placed dog Prince Cosmic in your little black book and whack a star next to its name. This Selena Zammit trained bloke comes from what looks to be a very average litter, and finished about 7 lengths behind the winner, but after missing away and copping more checks than a bank teller on a Friday afternoon Prince Cosmic’s run was excellent, and he will win one in the very near future, don’t you worry about that.

Semi-Final 3

The best race in this dog ran third and didn’t qualify for the final, which is terribly bad luck for Smokin’ Wits trainer Darren Russell and connections, but if you don’t jump in big races when you’re drawn a middle box you’re always 6 to 5 against to get in trouble, and so it proved here.

The Peter O’Reilly trained 10-1 shot Flying Jet trained pinged the lids from the six and led, and Cyndie Elson’s $3.20 favourite Magical Warren jumped second from the pink, and that’s the way the pair stayed all the way to the finish as the runners behind them became tangled up with each other and confused.

The winner’s time of 30.84 was pretty ordinary, and the second dog had its chance to run it down but couldn’t, so it obviously can’t go much faster either at this early stage of its career. Neither of them can win the final on that time, but for reasons soon to be explained Magic Warren is a huge chance of running a place in the final despite his seemingly fatal box draw in the yellow.

Whack the 3rd dog in your black book immediately.

Semi-Final 4

The heavens opened up straight after the 3rd semi, and by the time the greyhounds got to the boxes for the 4th and last qualifier the track was all but underwater, so much so that the rest of the program was abandoned after this race was run.

That makes the effort of the winner Frieda Las Vegas all the more impressive, and this Tony Zammit trained bitch is the only one I want to be on in the final. She absolutely flew out of box 5 and was three lengths in front of her rivals before they’d even gone 50 metres, and although the very promising Farmor Watcher –  a kennelmate to the winner of the second semi, who’d run 30.53 on debut in the heat – got to within a length of her on the turn, Zammit’s little black bitch clicked up another gear and was running away from that dog at the back end of the race.

Forget the 30.97 time that you see in the form guide, for on this Noah’s Ark of a track it was really the equivalent of about 30.40 or perhaps even faster. That goes for Frieda Las Vegas’s sectional splits as well, particularly the early and middle sections when she was largely swimming rather than running. Focus instead on her run home time of 12.05 and ask yourself how any greyhound could run the second fastest final split of the semis on a track that was underwater when her rivals had run theirs in the dry.

There is only answer you can come up with, and that is that Tony Zammit’s girl is very, very good.

Box 4 won’t worry her at all in the final because she’s fly out and lead, but it will worry those drawn inside her including the two Farmor’s in 1 and 3, for Frieda Las Vegas is the most eager railer you’ve ever seen and its 6-4 on or shorter than she’s going to knock at least two of the three inside her arse over on her way, and from there it will be a case of goodnight nurse and get in the queue.

The Final

This is how I see it.

She’s Snowy comes out quick and cuts across Farmor Beach inside her, giving that dog a good check for his trouble on her way.

Frieda Las Vegas flies out even faster and clears straight to the lead and off and away. She gives Farmor Watcher a what for and that’s the end of him.

Hara’s Panda begins well too and cuts across is front of the 6 and 7 dogs, rendering them cactus, and she vies for third place on the first turn with Magical Warren who has used the space created by Frieda scooting away to come across and through on the outside of She’s Snowy.

Farmor Beach recovers in the back straight and motors home, but by then the bird has well and truly flown.

Archie’s Tips

  1. Frieda Las Vegas (a special)
  2. Magic Warren
  3. Hara’s Panda
  4. She’s Snowy

Box Draw

1 Farmor Beach

2 She’s Snowy

3 Farmor Watchers

4 Frieda Las Vegas

5 Magical Warren

6 Flying Jet

7 Northern Ripple

8 Hara’s Panda

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