The Group 2 Lion Quality Products Warragul Cup heats will be run on Sunday evening with the first heat starting at 7:14pm. The race has attracted some big names including Black Magic Opal, Paw Licking, Banjo Boy and Farmor Las Vegas.
The heats will be run over the 460 metre distance and all eyes will be on the clock with the likes of Black Magic Opal and Paw Licking running around. The current track record for the 460 metre distance is 25.51 and is held by El Grand Senor.
Heat One (Race 5 at 7:14pm)
The two dogs drawn closest to the fence look to be the main dangers in this heat. Transcend Time (1) has won five of his last eight races. He hasn’t been to Warragul before under race conditions but he has performed well at Bulli, another big one turn track. He has had five wins from six starts out of box one. Drawn next to him is Whata Good Size (2) who has had one start at the track and distance for a win in 26.23. He has a good record from box two and is a reliable beginner. Silver Chief winner Ollie Bale (5) comes to Warragul off a last start eighth at Wentworth Park in the Paws of Thunder heats. He doesn’t generally begin well, so will need some luck from the draw. Black Foo (6) is only a young dog, but has had a great start to his career, winning seven from 13. He also has a perfect record at the track, recording three wins from three starts. His best time is 26.02. He can be risky at box rise and this is his first go at wearing the green rug. Ozzie Bullet (7) has been racing over middle distance events recently so it will be interesting to see how he goes stepping back to a sprint. He hasn’t factored too well from outside boxes in his 22 start career. Werynski (8) has a great record from the outside box and has won at the track in 25.96, but that was back in November 2012. Risk of Damage (4) and Sundae Smasher (3) have both won at the track but may struggle against the inside division.
Heat Two (Race 6 at 7:32pm)
Black Magic Opal (4) is the obvious standout in this field. He will need to be on his toes though and jump well as Check My Swagger (6) is drawn on his outside. Black Magic Opal missed the start at Wentworth Park in the Paws of Thunder heats and didn’t run a place. However, he is returning to a track where he has won in a blistering 25.59 and box five is vacant so he may just get an interference free run. If he leads or is near the leader, this race will be his. Check My Swagger is an excellent beginner with two wins at Warragul and a best of 25.82. He has won from box six so isn’t without a chance. Crump (7) is the interesting runner in the field. He has recorded 25.58 at Warragul, but he is hit and miss at box rise. At his best, he could challenge here. Empire Allen (8), Vapourash (3) Mepunga Armagh (2) and Tyra Giselle (1) make up the rest of the field. All, except Vapourash, have won at Warragul, but may find this a little tough.
Heat Three (Race 7 at 7:49pm)
This race will be an exhibition of early speed. Stagger (6) and Paw Licking (7) possess great early toe, so it will be a tight run into the turn if these two get away well. Stagger has won a ‘staggering’ 56 races and has won nine times at Warragul, with a personal best time of 25.59. He’s won five of his last seven as well. Paw Licking is the recent Hobart 1000 winner, where he defeated Black Magic Opal and broke the track record. He hasn’t started since that run so is fresh for this. He has won here in a flying 25.55. If Stagger and Paw Licking bring each other undone, Walk Hard (3) looks a good chance. He has won twice at Warragul including a fast 25.56. Mepunga Fearon (1) is having his first start at the track and may put in a forward showing. He can begin when he wants to and is drawn away from the speed outside, which might result in him getting a clear run. Prue Bale (2), Speed Series (4) and Majestic Lee (8) will need to improve on recent form in order to be in contention.
Heat Four (Race 8 at 8:07pm)
Cranbourne Cup winner Banjo Boy (7) has drawn an outside box in this heat. He has trialled very fast at the track and has won in 25.51. If he begins like he did in the Cranbourne Cup, he will be hard to beat. Farmor Las Vegas (8) placed in the Hobart 1000 and ran fourth last week in the Paws of Thunder heats. He hasn’t been beginning well of late and has a box he has never won from. The speedy Nic Nat Nui (6) has been racing in good form with three wins from his last four starts, including a speedy win at Sale over the 440 distance. It is his first start here. Evie’s Entity (4) last started at Warragul on the 7th of December 2013, and ran a flying 25.55 to win. She loves Warragul, having won four from six at the track and distance, and is definitely a chance. Izack Bale (2) and Whodat Knockin’ (3) are both having their first start at the track. Cee Ronaldo (1) has won at Warragul but will need luck to feature as he is slow early. Coolan Blue (5) has failed to record a win after three attempts at the track.
Heat Five (Race 9 at 8:28pm)
This is a tough heat with plenty of chances. Top Innings (4) comes to Warragul off a third placing in the Silver Chief. He is a reliable beginner with a 26.10 win to his credit. He should give a good account of himself here. Noaki Spitfire (5) has made a number of Group finals recently and he has the ability to begin and lead. Once in front he can be hard to get past, but he is yet to win at Warragul from three attempts. Spud Regis (2) has drawn well in box two and has been consistent of late and needs to lead to be a chance. Awesome Grunt (1) has won three from three at Warragul and is a last start Sandown winner in 29.23. He has recorded 26.02 at Warragul. Crawf’s Bread (3) is another dog that has been in consistent form. This is his first start at the track. Cointreau Cap (6) has just recently arrived in the kennels of Darren McDonald. Prior to this move, he had done all his racing in Tasmania. He has won 19 races from 41 starts and won three of his last five. Black and Cool (7) and Premier Event (8) are the outside runners, with Black and Cool winning twice at Warragul, while Premier Event is having his first start at the track.
Heat Six (Race 10 at 8:44pm)
Deadly Vane (8) is a recent Silver Chief finalist and a very speedy dog. He will need to utilise that speed from box eight. Dark Warrior (2) is very well boxed in box two and presents the main danger in the race. He has won at the track in 25.85 and should get some room to move early. Hailstorm Billy (5) gets back in his runs and runs home strongly. His success will depend on how much interference he suffers early and how quickly he can close the gap on the leaders. Dundee Toro (1) has won eight from 17 starts and has recorded a best of 26.24 from three starts at the track. He is a place chance. Dyna Beth (4) is very inconsistent at box rise but if she happens to lead, which she is capable of doing on occasion, her chances can’t be discounted. Musquin Bale (7) is returning from a long six month spell, while Superstar Magic (3) and Shaw is Cool (6) are facing a big rise in class.
The heat winners and the two fastest seconds will go through to next Friday’s final, which is worth $43,750.00