Poacher Produces One Of His Best

By Jeff Collerson
Poacher, arguably the most under-rated dog in NSW, staged one of the finest of his 41 Wentworth Park performances with a fast finishing neck win in Saturday night's Free-For-All.

The Owen Langley-trained greyhound overcame an unsuitable wide draw to come from fourth on the back straight and flash home along the rails to win by a neck in 30.14.

"Poacher turned three last month but has never gone as well as he is going right now,'' Langley said.

"Considering he had won a dozen Wentworth Park races before tonight, I couldn't believe he was sent out as a $12 outsider.

"When he drew box seven I still gave him a good chance, although I felt that had he drawn inside the favourite Ebby Infrared, who had box six, Poacher would have been a good thing.

"He began brilliantly from box seven but while he led narrowly approaching the first turn he did not have the pace to get across and lead, so dropped back to fourth at the half-way mark.

"Once he found the fence Poacher rattled home and he will win plenty more at Wenty, especially if he can start drawing inside boxes.''

Fastest time of the night on Saturday was posted by the Kerry Drynan-trained Kurios Motion, who jumped in front from box two and led throughout in 29.87, running home in an outstanding 11.76.

"She is an honest bitch and the difference was that tonight she finally nailed the start,'' Drynan said after the race.

"Kurious Motion needed to get away cleanly because she tends to step to the right when the boxes open.''

ORANGE trainer Dennis Barnes is rarely without a classy greyhound and his bitch Nangar Opal followed her all-the-way 30.10 debut win in a heat of Welcome MDA Maiden with a repeat performance in Saturday's final.

"I was surprised she only clocked 30.12 tonight because Nangar Opal came out under the lids and looked as if she was going to break 30sec for sure,'' Barnes said after the race.

"She probably needed to get away smartly because she had box six and I was worried that Kylie Keeping, who had box seven and who crashes left in the run to the first turn, might knock Nangar Opal down.

"But once Nangar Opal came out so fast she was in the clear and I was happy with her run because that was only the second 520m gallop she has had in her life.''

Feral Franky's trainer Jack Smith has not had a runner at Wentworth Park for months but sent wife Maree to headquarters with Midnight Flash on Saturday and the greyhound led all the way over 720m.

Midnight Flash had been placed in one of two previous long-distance outings at Wentworth Park but had not been tried as a stayer since finishing fifth on September 9.

"After that run Midnight Flash did not pull up too well so we eased her up,'' Maree Smith said.

"Only reason we came back to Wenty with her tonight is that we have not been able to get any middle distance races with her on our local Bathurst and Dubbo tracks.

"But she has been going well and trialled nicely over 618m at Bathurst as well as trialling 29.60 for the 516m trip at Dubbo.''

Hampshire broke through for her first Wentworth Park 720m win after being placed in three of six previous attempts in Saturday's other long-distance event.

She finished strongly to win in 42.65, .21sec slower than Midnight Flash's time.

"Hampshire always seems to get tangled up when she tries to go around dogs and needs to find the rails,'' trainer Justin King said.

"She did that tonight before going around the pacemaker Vintage Special in the straight.

"But the small field of six helped Hampshire for sure.''