Lightning Frank looms as a genuine contender for the Warrnambool Classic

LEADING: Allansford's Lightning Frank (yellow rug) is shaping as an early Classic favourite on the back of a flying heat victory. Picture: GRV

LEADING: Allansford's Lightning Frank (yellow rug) is shaping as an early Classic favourite on the back of a flying heat victory. Picture: GRV

DECORATED group winner Lightning Frank is looming as a genuine contender for the $75,000 group two Warrnambool Classic.

The multiple group winner smashed the field in his first heat on Tuesday, posting a blistering 24.82 second time over the 450 metre distance at Warrnambool.

The chaser stamped his credentials as one of the brightest young greyhounds in the country on return to racing, coming within just 10 seconds of Unlawful Entry’s 2016 track record.

It marked a strong comeback from a one-and-half-month spell after the Allansford-trained greyhound crashed out in last month’s group one Australian Cup.

Wright told Greyhound Racing Victoria’s website he was optimistic about his chances in the home-track series.

“He was racing at the highest level for a long time, and after the Australian Cup he pulled up feeling a bit tired – but nothing major,” Wright said.

“He has had a few trials back now and he is trialing really well.”

The group two classic is the richest greyhound race on Warrnambool’s calendar, with $75,000 to-the-winner and $148,000 on offer throughout the three-week series.

The prestigious race isn’t unfamiliar territory for Wright – who guided Born Louie to a seventh-place finish in the 2009 event.

However, Wright believed Lightning Frank was his best-ever chance to take out the event.

“Frank has a higher chance of winning a Classic I would think,” he said.

“The classic has always been a race that is hard to win. You can come up against some really good dogs in the series.

“Like any group race it would be an honour to make it through and possibly win it, but being local to the track would make it pretty special.

Lightning Frank’s career has so far yielded 16 victories, earning more than $287,000 in prizemoney after victories in the group one Temlee and Silver Chief.

Wright said while Frank was well suited to racing over the 450 metre distance, he also fancied the 500 metre trip.

While confident, Wright was wary of the expected class in that is set to make up the final classic field.

“There are a couple of really good dogs still in it,” he said.

“John Westerlo has a couple of strong runners while the dog Bewildering was the other one that broke 25 seconds the other night.

“In 450 metre races against this calibre of greyhound, you can’t give up any ground.”

The classic semi-final heats will take place next Wednesday.

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