Tonight’s Roy Maidment Memorial Heats

The next feature group greyhound race of the year gets underway tonight as Sandown hosts two heats for the Roy Maidment Memorial (715m) in anticipation of next week’s $25 000 final.

Six quality dogs were set to contest each event after only 12 nominations were registered, but two scratchings in heat one have led to only four dogs jumping.

Despite the small number of starters, the first heat will still be a hotly contested affair as all four runners are coming off consistently good form, none placing outside of fourth in their last five starts.

Next Top Model has been established as the odds-on favourite starting from box five and has great early pace. If she gets away well she will be hard to catch.

If there is a dog speedy enough to chase down Next Top Model, then it is second-favourite Forty Twenty. The John Heard trained stayer has secured the coveted rails alley and has a vacant box beside him to make the path even clearer.

The other two heat one runners are Republican in box four and Guacamole jumping on the far outside in box eight.

The second heat has a star-studded field of six, including the clear favourite Drill ‘Em. Despite placing fourth in his past two starts, the Bold Trease Carnival Cup winner has the best time over this distance, a sharp 42.08 and will start from box five tonight.

Trained by Graeme Bate, Jarvis Bale is another fancied runner, the National Distance Champion jumping from box eight.

Also keep an eye on Smokin’ Ichiban in box seven, the young dog having shown promising stamina and speed when winning last start over the same distance and track in a Grade 5 event last week.

The Maidment Memorial heats are listed as race three at 7:44pm (VIC time) and four at 8:09pm (VIC time) at the meeting’s sensational 11-event programme.