Local champions Come On George and Evie's Best were tipped to stage an exciting duel at Gunnedah's TAB meeting on Sunday - the first fixture at the track in 10 months - and they lived up to racegoers' hopes with "George'' prevailing in a thriller.
Before the 431m H & M Aircon Stakes, course broadcaster Daniel Rush could hardly conceal his anticipation declaring the event a match "between Come On George, the King of Gunnedah, and Evie's Best, the Queen.''
Evie's Best jumped in front from box four but was headed by Come On George, exiting box seven, rounding the first bend.
Evie's Best rallied and zipped inside Come On George to hit the front turning for home, but the latter came again in the straight to win by three-quarters of a length in 24.89sec, best time of the day.
The Jamie Bush-trained Come On George, whelped in October, 2014, has now had 56 starts for 28 wins and nine placings.
Evie's Best, trained by former Sydneysider Bill Marmara, turns four next month, with her tally now standing at 90 races for 37 wins and 35 placings.
Jamie Bush said: "Before the race I was confident of winning because Come On George's most recent trial had been a beauty.
"But he certainly made me hold my breath throughout race.
"I'm convinced this dog knows where the winning post is!''
Bill Marmara added: "Jamie Bush and I each live within a couple of kilometres of the Gunnedah course.
"It was a terrific race but Jamie's dog Come On George was just a bit too good for Evie's Best.''
Daniel Rush, whose vivid description of the race is worth a listen, lives at Tamworth but makes the eight hours round trip to be course broadcaster at each weekly Dubbo meeting.
"I work 50 hours a week as a delivery driver for a company supplying the mining industry, but also call the dogs at Dubbo, Tamworth and Gunnedah as well as filling in at picnic horse race fixtures and many non-TAB race meetings,'' Rush said.
"On local radio before Sunday's race I said the Gunnedah event could be reminiscent of the famous duel between thoroughbred champions Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star in the 1986 Cox Plate and that's how it transpired.''
Evie's Best's trainer Bill Marmara said: "I have six greyhounds in training but have another nine youngsters coming through.
"While Evie's Best is still my number one performer, her half sister Come On Duchess has as much ability if she can regain her best form.
"Before the Coonamble carnival last October, Come On Duchess was clocking record times in trials but she escaped from my property and was hit by a car.
"She recovered but missed the Coonamble carnival before winning at her first start at Moree on November 10.
"Since then though she has been disappointing so I can only hope she comes good once more.''
Sunday's Gunnedah meeting saw resumption of racing on the famous track, once home to the legendary performer of the late 1940s, Chief Havoc, following refurbishments made possible through a state government grant.
FERNANDO Blaster (pictured) is clearly fastest qualifier for Saturday night's Group 1 Ladbrokes National Derby final so spare a thought for Queensland trainer Warren Nicholls, whose bitch Common Ground had to be scratched from last Friday night's Derby female equivalent, the National Futurity.
Common Ground defeated Fernando Blaster by five lengths at Albion Park on January 10 and toppled him by a length and a half at the same track a week later.
Nicholls even went to the trouble of driving from Queensland to Sydney to trial Common Ground at Wentworth Park before the Futurity heats.
But his dream was destroyed when his greyhound caught a toe in a wire fence a couple of days before her Sydney race, and had to be scratched.
"She sprung (dislocated) the toe in one of those freak accidents and will be sidelined for around four months,'' a shattered Nicholls said.
NOWRA celebrated 43 years' racing on Monday with the 630m Anniversary Cup, taken out by crack provincial long-distance performer White Sox Ethics.
The Peter Mantach-trained White Sox Ethics, the Dapto 729m record holder, ran down Mark Bell's consistent Miss Wing Wong to snare the $3000 winner's cheque.