Stratheden trainer Robert Andrews proudly holds Integrity Mate after the classy greyhound qualified for the Thunderbolt to be run at Grafton on June 19. Image: Emma Pritchard

Local greyhounds to strike in the Thunderbolt

Emma Pritchard


Northern Rivers trainers will be strongly represented when the Grafton Greyhound Racing Club hosts the highly anticipated Thunderbolt this weekend after several talented locals delivered blistering results in the Thunderbolt semi-finals on June 11 to secure a box in the main event on June 19.

Fast Liar, Preston Lee, Integrity Mate, Bodacious Star, Orara Dan, Typhoon Sammy, Orson Laurie and Diamond Jill will compete over 350m for the chance to claim $75000, and have their name etched onto the honour roll as the inaugural winner of the world’s richest race over a short course distance.

Prepared in Stratheden by Charles Northfield, Fast Liar backed up an impressive last start victory during the running of the Thunderbolt heats on June 4 to become the first greyhound to qualify for the Thunderbolt when the striking black dog won the first semi-final from Preston Lee in a time of 19.74 seconds.

Popular dog Integrity Mate, who equalled the track record over 350m during the Thunderbolt heats, dominated the field in the second semi-final, flashing home in 19.87 seconds to defeat Bodacious Star by one length.

Speaking with the Clarence Valley Independent following the race, Stratheden trainer Robert Andrews praised Integrity Mate for another strong performance and said he would be hard to beat in the Thunderbolt.

Orara Dan booked his box in the Thunderbolt for Coutts Crossing trainer Gary Smith after he stormed through on the inside to deny the classy Typhoon Sammy back-to-back wins in the third semi-final.

“He’s a good dog, and he always runs well on the track,” said the winning trainer.

“Hopefully he can repeat that effort in the Thunderbolt.”

Jumping from box 8 in the fourth and last semi-final of the evening, Orson Laurie started the well-backed favourite, and held on to defeat a gutsy Diamond Jill by a head in the shadows of the post.

Trained at Whiteman Creek by Evelyn Harris, who cheered happily as she proudly led her beloved greyhound off the track, Orson Laurie took his career stats to 15 wins and seven minor placings from 34 starts.

After congratulating the other competitors and wishing them the best of luck ahead of the Thunderbolt, Ms Harris said she was proud of Orson Laurie, and hopes the gorgeous brindle can win again this weekend.

“I’m happy to be in the final, and if he jumps well, he’s got a good chance,” she said.

The box draw for the Thunderbolt was held following the semi-finals.

Integrity Mate drew box 1 alongside Fast Liar in box 2.

Typhoon Sammy will start from box 3, Preston Lee from box 4, and Diamond Jill from box 5.

Ms Harris said she had to be content with the outcome after Orson Laurie drew box 6, while Orara Dan’s trainer will be relying on luck after the speedy greyhound drew box 7.

Bodacious Star will jump from box 8.

Vamoose is the first reserve in the Thunderbolt, and the second reserve is Hyperventilate.

Make sure you pick up a copy of the Clarence Valley Independent on June 22 for the full write up following the event.