For Woodview trainer Robert Cooke, Smooth Act’s position along the back straight at Lismore on Friday night did not waiver his confidence; he always believed.
And he was not wrong, as Smooth Act flew home from wide out to claim the Regional Final of the TAB Million Dollar Chase in a time of 29:69.
Despite a late surge in favouritism, Smooth Act faced tough opposition from seasoned performers such as Dam Slippery and Bad Neighbour and it was the dogs from the inside that showed strong early pace.
Evelyn Harris-trained Bad Neighbour, saw the best of the early running, finding the lead into the first turn and holding on into the back straight. Dam Slippery was hot on her heels, and looked to make a move heading into the top corner but far from done, Smooth Act produced a booming run into the turn for home. In blistering fashion, Smooth Act edged out Harris’ bitch by a length and left Dam Slippery in his wake.
Cooke was always confident in his dog’s ability to run home strongly and wasn’t overly concerned to see Smooth Act off the lead along the back straight.
“He went good here tonight,” said Cooke.
“He is a very strong dog and that’s the best part of his run; the finish.
“When he went down the back I just knew he’d lid from there because many others can’t run home in the times that he can. His runs home are unbelievable.”
No stranger to the Northern Rivers’ and Queensland tracks, Cooke said that despite the benefits of shorter travel times to local meetings, he will be certain to trial Smooth Act at Wentworth Park over the coming weeks.
And with the purse on offer so appealing, it will make the drive all the more worth it for the Woodview trainer, who believes his Regional Final winner is as good a traveller as any of his greyhounds.
“Queensland is a little closer but I will have to travel down and give him a trial at Wentworth Park so I will do that. “I’m not worried about travelling with him, that’s no worries. He’s a good traveller, he just lays down and he’s no dramas.
“I’ll have to get him down there for a trial because the money is too good not to trial him.”
For the remainder of the series, Cooke will be putting the old adage “you’ve got to be in it to win it” to the test.
“It’s going to be hard to win but you’ve got to give him every chance to win.”
From Friday night’s race at Lismore, the four greyhounds progressing to the Semi Finals at Wentworth Park on October 11 are: Smooth Act (8 – Robert Cooke), Bad Neighbour (5 – Evelyn Harris), Dam Slippery (4 – Brett Hazelgrove) and Infrared Lad (2 – Joanne Price).
That leaves only 12 available qualifying spots for the Semi Finals from the remainder of the TAB Million Dollar Chase Regional Finals, with places up for grabs at Wagga and The Gardens (Saturday) and Goulburn (Sunday).