RICKY Ponting will have a runner in the rich National Sprint Championship in Melbourne next week - but his greyhound won't be representing Tasmania.
The Ponting-owned Rumbling Rick won the West Australian final on Saturday night to qualify for the $75,000-to-the-winner national final at The Meadows on Saturday week.
Rumbling Rick began his career in Tasmania - winning seven races - before being sent to Perth trainer Linda Britton in April.
``He came over for the Mandurah Derby and City Derby but got kennel cough and had to miss the first race,'' Britton told the Australian Racing Greyhound website.
``We then had to rush him to get him ready for the City Derby and he didn't go as well as we hoped.
``Since then, every time he's gone out he's improved.''
Rumbling Rick finished only third in his heat of the WA series and was first reserve for the final.
But he got a start when another of Britton's dogs was injured and had to be scratched.
Rumbling Rick went into box six, jumped brilliantly and led virtually all the way.
Britton said that Ponting was elated with the win.
``He is away but I got a message straight after the race,'' the trainer said. ``He is very excited.
``He loves the dogs and has a big passion for them. I think it's good for racing as a lot of people will be watching the final because of who owns the dog. Not that Ricky likes the attention.''
Tasmania's finalist will be outstanding bitch She's All Class, who made it 11 wins in a row when she beat Buckle Up Wes and Tiny Tilly in the state final at Mowbray on Monday night.
She's All Class is trained at Longford by David Crosswell, the only Tasmanian to have prepared a national final winner. He was successful with Busy Vintage at Harold Park in 1984.
Bell Haven, rated the third best stayer in Australia, was surprisingly beaten in the state final of the National Distance Championship, with Lashing Jill, trained at Mangalore by Alan Anderson, a comfortable winner in a four-dog field.
However, there is still an outside chance that Bell Haven will receive a wild card to run in the national final, depending on results in Victoria.