Huge numbers of local hopes to contest Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial Series at Dawson Park

CONTENDER: Hippo Clan has already proven himself a winning sprinter and he will line up in one of the seven Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial heats on Friday night. Photo: ANDREW FISHER
CONTENDER: Hippo Clan has already proven himself a winning sprinter and he will line up in one of the seven Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial heats on Friday night. Photo: ANDREW FISHER

It’s arguably the most special and meaningful race to win at Dawson Park and seven talent-loaded heats of the Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial Series will be run on Friday night.

The series, for dogs who have won no more than three races prior to the heats, will conclude with the $5,000 final a week later.

Lesley Ann Leonard passed away close to three decades ago following a motorcycle accident and the race quickly became a mainstay on the local calendar.

“It’s one of the races the local community really want to win,” Dubbo Greyhound Racing Club president Shayne Stiff said of the 400m event.

A huge number of local hopes will race in the heats and Stiff said the series is shaping as one too tight to call.

“It’s really good. Everyone has got a chance and there’s a couple of smokies in there too,” he said.

“But we had a stack of nominations and there’s 11 full races (on Friday night) and it’s not like that everywhere. We’ve got two in a six-dog race at The Meadows.”

Charmaine Roberts has eight dogs set to line up across the heats while Cowra’s Rodney McDonald will also be well represented, his dog Hippo Clan coming off some fine results and a feature win at his home track last weekend.

Myrniong Smello showed glimpses of talent at Coonamble and will line up in the first heat for Wellington’s Bradley O’Neil while the second heat features the talented Over Watch going from box three.

Nangar Dream, Give Us Double and the in-form Hoppy Keeping are other notable contenders set to race for a spot in the final.

It’s not only the heats which are set to entertain punters.

The Mayor Ben Shields Stakes (318m) will feature a number of talented runners with track record holder Karinya Connie, trained by John Portelli, taking on Roberts’ pair Rodney Keeping and Baracca Keeping while the Graeme Smith-trained pair of Queen Taro and Tony Taro have also been in strong form.

The most in-form dog set to feature will line up in the M&F Hallinan Rearing Stakes (318m).

Ground Swell, trained at Gunnedah by Allan Syphers, heads into the event on a run of five straight wins.

“The numbers are strong, the racing is really good and the club has never been in a better financial position,” Stiff said.

“These Friday meetings are sensational.”

Racing starts at 6.48pm on Friday.