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Grantley’s speedster Sound and firing

Having a ball: : Ball boy and girl, Sam McComb, Sophie Farish and Hope Backx. Picture: Gary Sissons

Mt Eliza juniors roll into Aus Open THREE talented juniors from the Mount Eliza Tennis Club will finally get their chance to assist the world’s best tennis players at the Australian Open on Monday 14 January. Having spent the past nine months undertaking rigorous training and testing, Sam McComb, Hope Backx and Sophie Farish will step out onto the court alongside some of sporting’s greats. It’ll be Sophie’s second time assisting as a ballkid at the Australian Open, while 14-yearolds Sam and Hope will be having their first go at the trade. It’s no mean feat to make it through to the final group of 312 ballkids, with the three juniors being selected out of a starting group of more than 3,500 other juniors who began training in May last year. As well as being ballkids for the Australian Open, the juniors will also help out at qualify-

ing events, junior events and wheelchair tennis competitions in preparation for the main event. Mount Eliza Tennis Club coach David Laird said it’s great to see some of their own talent land such a huge achievement. “It’s always good to see the ones who are really keen, go out and try to get in,” Laird said. “It’s a massive commitment with what they’re doing as they’re there all day but even the tryout process is a big effort. Just to be selected is a massive accomplishment in itself. “I’m sure just witnessing and seeing the professionalism of the players will be good for their own development.” The first couple of days at the Australian Open will determine what courts the ballkids will be allocated to for the remaining days. Of the 312 juniors, 48 will also get chosen to stay on as a ballkid during the finals – an honour which they’ll all be striving for.

MORNINGTON-based racehorse trainer Rod Grantley has his speedy mare Waterford Sound flying this preparation having claimed three of her past four starts in country Victoria. The eight-year-old mare made it back-toback victories at her home track, Mornington, on Thursday 27 December and her trainer Rod Grantley has put the success down to the mare thriving with the addition of beach work. “She’s a lovely mare to train,” Grantley said. “We spent a lot of time down at the beach in Dromana with her and I think that is what has helped her through everything and has really helped with her joints. “Last year we didn’t get to go to the beach much at all but this time around she’s been spending pretty much all week down there and she likes to be nice and fresh so as long as we keep that up with her and keep her recovering as best we can, she just keeps coming out and putting in.” Waterford Sound narrowly scored the victory last start at Mornington and defeated a small yet in-form field which included two last-start winners in Raven’s Blaze and Blues Your Ball. Apprentice jockey Georgina Cartwright again piloted the mare and continued to build upon their formidable partnership. Cartwright has

taken the reins of the mare at three of her past four runs and has finished no worse than second place, with two wins now to their name. “She really clicks with the horse,” Grantley said of Cartwright. “[Waterford Sound] fly’s the gates for her and just runs and settles and she just finds another gear for her so it’s working really well.” Cartwright was also full of enthusiasm following the victory. “Rod’s done a great job with her. She’s just been flying this prep,” Cartwright said. “Obviously it helps that I had a couple of rides on her before and got to know her pretty well so it’s good to get another win with her. “Rod was a little bit worried about the wide gate but she jumped really well and got across really easily. She got a nice run throughout and she’s just such a tough mare.” Following her victory, Grantley said it had earnt the mare her chance in town and would be eyeing off a race at Flemington over 1100m on Saturday 12 January. “It’ll be her first time going to town so it’ll be interesting to see how she measures up,” he said. Grantley said he believes the Flemington straight won’t be a worry for his in-form mare.

GO girl: Waterford Sound continues her flying run for trainer Rod Grantley at Mornington on Thursday 27 December. Picture: Supplied

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