Integrity on show as qualifying gets underway

Emma Pritchard

A 12-race program including two TAB Million Dollar Chase Regional Heats attracted quality fields to the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club on April 9 as some of the most astute trainers in the Northern Rivers looked to qualify their runners for the TAB Million Dollar Chase Final to be held at Wentworth Park in Sydney on May 7.

President of the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club John Corrigan expressed his delight at seeing so many good dogs compete during the night, with the top four placegetters from both heats progressing to the TAB Million Dollar Chase Regional Final to be hosted by the club on April 16.

Mr Corrigan said the Northern Rivers is renowned for producing quality performers, adding it is good to see locally trained dogs get the opportunity to go to Sydney and race for substantial prizemoney.

He also said he is proud of the club for hosting the qualifying regional heats and upcoming qualifying regional final. 

The first TAB Million Dollar Chase Regional Heat, Race 3 on the program, attracted a strong field of seven entrants, including the short-priced favourite and eventual race winner Integrity Mate, trained in Stratheden near Casino by Robert Andrews.

Boasting an impressive record of seven wins at the track and distance, Integrity Mate jumped smartly from box 2 at the 450m start and pounced on the lead as the field approached the home turn, fending off a strong challenge from runner-up Mr Barrow to win in 25.50 seconds.

Third and fourth placed Barefoot Ronnie and Perfect Nangar also qualified for this weekend’s final.    

While an unfortunate injury to local hope Orara Dan ruled the 18-time winner and track record holder over 350m out of Race 4, the second TAB Million Dollar Chase Regional Heat, the lightly raced and highly promising Little Zephyr jumped cleanly from box 2 and lead all the way over 450m to defeat the well fancied Pike by one length.

The rank outside of the field at 60/1, Skitzo Brian qualified in third ahead of Street Cry.

Trained by James Gallaway at Warragai Creek north of Grafton, Little Zephyr won in a time of 25.46 seconds, the quickest of the two heats.

The first three runners across the line in the TAB Million Dollar Chase Regional Final over 450m this weekend will qualify for the TAB Million Dollar Chase Final next month.