Irinka Riley's in the chase in greyhounds' million-dollar race

IN THE CHASE: Irinka Riley, owned and trained by Forbes' Raymond Smith, will race in this Saturday's million-dollar race. Picture: IRINKA KENNELS FACEBOOK
IN THE CHASE: Irinka Riley, owned and trained by Forbes' Raymond Smith, will race in this Saturday's million-dollar race. Picture: IRINKA KENNELS FACEBOOK

There are just eight greyhounds left in the running for $1 million this Saturday, and Forbes' Irinka Riley is one of them.

The Raymond Smith owned and trained fawn dog chased down Zipping Maserati in last Friday's semi to earn a place in greyhound racing's richest final.

The win makes six at Wentworth Park for Riley and boy, would this Saturday's TAB Million Dollar Chase be a nice one to add to make it seven.

Smith isn't overstating his chances, he'd rate Riley as "a long shot", but he's happy to be in the mix.

"We're very excited to be there," he said, and yes, anything can happen.

The Smith kennels are certainly no strangers to big races with Jungle Deuce qualifying for the $750,000 TAB Phoenix late last year and Feral Franky racing in the Paws of Thunder.

Irinka Riley is another out of the Feral's family bloodlines. Smith trained his mother Zagati, and snapped Riley up as a pup to train him right here in Forbes.

"He's a good, honest little dog," Smith says. "His mother was very talented."

Maree Smith adds that Riley's a character - a good looking dog, "and he knows it".

He turned three this week, and is probably in his racing prime.

Across his career, Irinka Riley has had 13 wins and another 18 placings from 47 starts, often in the shadow of his kennel mate Jungle Deuce who's currently recovering from injury.

Preparation wise, they're not overdoing it this week.

Irinka Riley had a win at Temora at the start of last week and backed up for victory in Friday night's semi-final, so he's spending this week at home.

"We'll just keep letting him tick away at home, up our straight," Smith said.

Miss Ezmae from the kennel also qualified for Friday's semi-finals but didn't make the main eight. She's a second reserve for the Consolation.

In his semi-final, Irinka Riley jumped from Box 7. While he's capable of early speed it was Zipping Maserati who got away early and Irinka Riley pursued him to the end, getting his head in front by the finishing post.

Saturday's favourite is She's A Pearl, who won her semi-final in 29.3 seconds from box four. She's drawn box four for the final as well.