This is arguably one of the better Easter Egg final fields of recent times. Yes, it’s missing the likes of Jagger Swagger, Renegade Chief, Spud Regis, El Brooklyn, Billy The Sid, Imry Bale, and Peter Rocket, but between them the eight finalists have been collectively unplaced at just five of their last 40 starts. Sheikha, with two unplaced runs from her last five outings, is the ‘worst’. Yet Sheikha is also the winner of the Paws of Thunder.
With a final field of six females and only two males, Grigorieva Bale and General Destini -both of whom happen to represent Victoria- it looks as though the male dominance in the Egg is set to be broken, at least for 2013.
In the 20 Egg finals run on loam, males have registered 14 victories. The only females to snare the race on loam have been Mancunian Girlin 1994, the great Tenthill Doll (1996), Queensland star Bogie Leigh (2004), Paua To Burn (2005), Edie Beauchamp (2006), and Dana Beatrice (2009).
Punch One Out certainly did that, obliterating the track record with her 29.27 effort, slicing Noble Pedro’s previous mark by a whopping 16/100ths for trainer Jason Mackay.
For the first time an Egg final has two finalists who have winning sequences of five or more: Sometimes Speedy, with victories at her last eight starts, and Cracker Jack Lil with wins at her past seven.
The only greyhound to have ever contested an Egg final with a winning sequence as better than either of these was Brett Lee. Back in 2001 Brett Lee went into the final having scored at his previous 11 starts. From box eight he cruised to victory to make it 12 on end and take his prize money to an astounding $344,000 in a mere 29 starts, an incredible $11,862 per start. He had scored 25 wins and three seconds and was unbeaten in three starts at Wentworth Park.
Sometimes Speedy, with five starts for five wins at Wentworth Park for trainer Jason Mackay, will be attempting to the emulate the feat of the brilliant Victorian sprinter Slater, who annexed the 2007 Egg, and make it six starts for six wins at Wentworth Park in the process.
Slater became the first greyhound to take an undefeated Wentworth Park record of three or more wins into the final (in Slater’s case it was five out of five) and emerge victorious, scoring by five and a half lengths.
Hot Irish becomes the first dual finalist since High Earner in 2010 and 2011. On the loam surface, Star Title (second in 1993 and fifth in 1994), Malawi Law (won in 1995 and eighth in 1996), Tenthill Doll (won in 1996 and sixth in 1997), Golden Milo (sixth in 1998 and seventh in 1999), and High Earner (eighth in 2010 and sixth in 2011) are the only five dual finalists.
The West Australian, only the second from that state to compete in the event (the first being Joanne Monelli in 2009), Hot Irish will be easily the most experienced runner, having contested 72 races and scored an impressive 39 victories.
Almost unique among the major Goup sprint races, the box draw for the Egg doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference. Of the 20 run on loam, box one has produced three winners; box two, two; box three, two; box four, three; box five, two; box six, two; box seven, two wins; and box eight leads the way with four wins.
Basically, if your fancy draws well or seemingly poorly, it makes little difference. Indeed, the last six winners have exited six different alleys.