DASHING WIN: The Reg Kay-trained Happy Haswell streaks to victory in Tuesday night’s Young Guns series final at the Ipswich Showgrounds. Below: Kay with his winning greyhound.
DASHING WIN: The Reg Kay-trained Happy Haswell streaks to victory in Tuesday night’s Young Guns series final at the Ipswich Showgrounds. Below: Kay with his winning greyhound. David Nielsen

Top-notch Ipswich Derby

THE upcoming Ipswich Derby may not be the richest race on the calendar of Queensland's leading provincial club. But it's shaping as one of the best events of this year.

Trainer Steve Whyte, from Victoria, is setting last month's Darwin Cup winner Clash of Kings for the Derby. And probably the dog's talented litter brother Superfonic as well.

Derby heats are on Saturday night, August 30, with the $5000-to-the-winner final a week later. Tuesday's brilliant Ipswich Young Guns winner Happy Haswell is also Derby-bound, according to the dog's owner-trainer Reg Kay.

Happy Haswell, normally a quick beginner, was beaten for early pace in the Young Guns and gave the leader, the talented You Say So, about six lengths start mid-race.

Happy Haswell knuckled down to his task, drawing away by a widening margin of one-and-a-quarter lengths in a smart time of 30.62s.

Happy Haswell, a 21 months old son of Surf Lorian and Teenage Dream, took his record to nine wins from 11 starts and earnings of $33,040.

Kay won the 630 metres race on Tuesday's card with Good Call Paul, a litter brother to Happy Haswell.

"I trialled them together at Ipswich recently over 431 metres and Happy beat Paul by a narrow margin," Kay said.

"In a full field, Happy is normally quick out and Paul takes a little while to get going and searches for the inside fence. Paul was having his first 630 metres start on Tuesday and he got up closer to the lead than normal and ran out the trip really strongly."

Good Call Paul's time of 37.14s was a brilliant run, not far behind Allez Brigette's track record of 37.04s.


Wild card talking point

IF you've been a little confused and bemused by the "wild card" situation with the National Sprint and Distance Championships currently under way, I can point you in the direction of who is to blame. It's this writer.

Until about six years ago, the eighth spot in both grand finals was filled by greyhounds from NSW and Victoria on a rotational basis.

NSW would get two finalists one year, Victoria two the next year and that rotated without any other state being considered.

I thought there should be a fairer system and did some lobbying.

Brisbane Greyhound Racing Committee chairman Michael Byrne agreed to push the barrow with AGRA to look at a different method of selection, a method which was fairer to all.

Some years Queensland produces a superstar like Bogie Leigh, Western Australia a Miata and Tasmania a Buckle Up Wes.

Greyhounds of that calibre were disadvantaged under the previous selection system.

AGRA, which is the combined body of metropolitan race clubs, agreed to change the rule and introduced the "wild card" method of selection.

The highest AGRA ranked greyhound at the time of nominations for the Nationals becomes the wild card, and if that greyhound qualifies for the grand final via its state final, the next highest ranked performer gains the wild card entry.

This year, top Victorian stayer Sweet It Is has gained the wild card entry into tomorrow week's National Distance Championship grand final at Cannington in Perth. And she deserves it.

The wild card for the National Sprint Championship has turned into a bit of a saga.

Buckle Up Wes was number one and he won the Tasmanian state final last Monday night.

Flash Reality was number two and he won the Queensland final for Tony Brett at Albion Park last week.

Western Australia's Zelemar Fever is number three.

If Zelemar Fever, trained by Linda Britton, runs first or second in tomorrow night's WA state final, it's straight through to the grand final. Then Bessy Boo from NSW gets the wild card entry.

But if Zelemar Fever runs third to eighth tomorrow, that will be enough to go through as the wild card and Bessy Boo will miss out.

Western Australia, being the host state this year, gets two finalists and could end up with three.


Auction countdown

IT'S only nine days until the Rosewood and District Community Bank-sponsored Magical Puppy Auction at the Ipswich Showgrounds.

There are 149 pups in the catalogue.

The most represented sire is Magic Sprite with 24 pups, followed by 17 by Fear Zafonic.

Magic Sprite stands in NSW at the Carruthers family's Journey Park Stud for a fee of $2750.

Fear Zafonic's fee is $1500 at the Apap family's A - Team property at Gatton.

One way of assessing whether you're getting value buying a pup by either of those sires, or any sire for that matter, is to consider the service fee. As an example, you will probably be able to buy a pup at the Ipswich auction on Sunday week by Magic Sprite for around $2000. And some Fear Zafonics will probably be sold for around his stud fee.

The sale is on Sunday, August 24, from 10am.


Charity bet

THE Tattsbet charity bet dead heated for third last week for a small return.

For this week, I'm going for race six tomorrow night at the Showgrounds. It's dog seven Captain Barker, trained by Peter May, with a bet of $50 each way.

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