While Lang Lang trainer John Jarkis only has four greyhounds in work he will head to The Meadows on Saturday with two last-start city winners at opposite ends of their careers.
Ex-Queenslander Opal Beach, a 71-start veteran, will be striving to open his Meadows account, while up-and-comer Joyful will be chasing back-to-back victories at the venue when she faces the starter for just the thirteenth time.
The speedy Opal Beach had 47 of his first 49 starts in Queensland before relocating to Victoria earlier in the year, following the trail blazed by his litter brother Lightning Beach, which Jarkis also trained.
Opal Beach has demonstrated a liking for Sandown Park, winning three times, including an upset all-the-way 29.96s success at his most recent appearance, where he returned $33.90.
After two defeats at The Meadows last month, Jarkis will be hoping its third time lucky when he exits box three in the seventh event, where he’s an $8 chance with TAB.
“He’s a little ripper, I’ll tell you that,” said Jarkis.
“His brother, Lightning Beach, ran some nice races for me and the owners decided to send Opal Beach down from Queensland too. Opal Beach has a lot more speed, while Lightning Beach had a bit more strength.
“If he can get on the pace he’s the sort of dog that can be hard to run down but he doesn’t want a strong dog sitting behind him. He’s not a come-from-behind dog.
“Some of his box draws recently haven’t really suited him and he’s had to work hard to find the front, like he did last start at Sandown.
“Opal Beach has got that early pace and if he can find the lead on Saturday I think he’ll take a bit of running down.”
Earlier in the meeting, Jarkis has the well-related Joyful, a litter sister to boom staying prospect Houdini Boy, taking aim at successive Meadows victories following a runaway 30.28s performance.
Joyful is TAB’s $2.30 favourite from box six in the third event, and after just a dozen starts Jarkis is already predicting she’ll follow her much-hyped brother down a distance path.
“Joyful hasn’t got the speed of Opal Beach so she’ll need a bit of luck and I’m looking forward to putting her over more ground,” Jarkis explained.
“They’re both each-way chances but if I had to pick one out as my best chance I’d probably say Opal Beach.”