Are Jip shines in Gosford Gold Cup heats

Londonderry trainer Kristy Sultana had a memorable evening at Gosford last night, winning two of the four heats of the Group Two Gosford Gold Cup and now has a double shot at next Friday’s $40,000 to the winner final.

Victorian Sandown Shootout winner Iva Vision started as the $3.40 favourite in heat one, with last start winners Chasing The Line and Magic Display also well supported by punters. Jewel Action began brilliantly as expected and quickly crossed the field from box seven to lead around the first turn. Talented sprinter Magic Display was hot on the heels of the leader heading into the back straight and at once stage took the lead halfway around the home turn. Jewel Action showed great determination to fight off her rival at the finish, scoring by two lengths in a speedy time of 29.70. Magic Display finished in second place and secured a much-deserved finals spot.

Heat two saw Wentworth Park specialist Zipping Willow vying for redemption after finishing third in the Group Three Christmas Gift final two weeks ago. Exiting from box four, the Jason Mackay trained speedster started at skinny odds of $1.70 with punters and their faith was greatly rewarded after an electrifying all the way display in 29.48. Notching up her 34th career win from 51 starts, the daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass clocked sizzling early sectionals of 4.36 and 16.68, and will be very hard to beat after drawing box one in next week’s final. Mark Gatt’s group winning performer Ritza Hattie ($5.00) was gallant in defeat from box seven, after suffering interference at the start, the Nowra track record holder grinded away to reduce the winning margin to two and a half lengths.

National Sprint Champion and recent Group Three Christmas Gift winner Chica Destacada was all the rage in heat three, starting at $1.70 from box five. After a moderate getaway, the Doreen Drynan-trained chaser suffered heavy interference at the first turn and almost fell, forcing her towards the tail of the field. Notable beginner Queen Esther led into the back straight, with strong finisher Zipping Tarn making good ground on the outside. Outside runner Farmer’s Gold was last away from box four and came from nowhere, squeezing between the two frontrunners up the home straight, scoring by a head at the finish over Zipping Angel ($15.70) in a sizzling time of 29.53. The Queensland chaser trained by Darren Russell, recorded his first victory since the start of November and rewarded a few brave punters with juicy odds of $34.40.

Anything Less, for in-form trainer John Finn, started as the $2.10 favourite in the final heat of the night, with solid support also shown for Are Jip ($4.30) and Silent Effective ($5.40). Rue De Kahn and Are Jip were best away at box rise, with Kristy Sultana’s chaser taking the lead halfway around the home turn, streaking away by three and a half lengths. Dean Swain’s Rue De Kahn battled on gamely to finish second and has come up with a favourable box two again in next week’s final. Are Jip notched up his 10th career win last night, in best of the night figures of 29.36 and saluted for the first time since October.

Next week’s final contains a blend of both early speed and stamina, with the first turn no place for the faint hearted. Winning connections will take home $40,000 in prizemoney and a Group Two title.

Group Two Gosford Gold Cup Box Draw – 515m

    • 1 – Zipping Willow – Jason Mackay
    • 2 – Rue De Kahn – Dean Swain
    • 3 – Farmer’s Gold – Darren Russell
    • 4 – Zipping Angel – Jason Mackay
    • 5 – Are Jip – Kristy Sultana
    • 6 – Magic Display – Evelyn Harris
    • 7 – Jewel Action – Kristy Sultana
    • 8 – Ritza Hattie – Mark Gatt

Reserves

  • 9 – Queen Esther – Noelene Holloway
  • 10 – Anything Less – John Finn

Star Recall Shines In Group One Sale Cup Final

STAR Recall has finally broken through for a deserved win at the highest level, claiming tonight’s Group One Sale Cup in terrific fashion.


Beginning brilliantly from box four, the daughter of High Earner and No Recall went straight to the lead and was never headed, holding off a late surge from Star Recall to score in 37.15 over the 650 metre trip.

The race favourite was Sweet It Is which gained a start following the scratching of Zipping Spike from box three. Darren McDonald’s champion bitch began fairly but dropped back to the tail of the field in the early stages, as per usual, and was unable to reel in the leader, finishing third.


Trained by Jeff Britton, Star Recall has been in terrific form since stepping up from the sprints, winning four of her five appearances over the middle distance.

Her victory in the Sale Cup brought her career record to 44 starts for 25 wins and 11 minor placings while she has now earned over $256,000 for connections.



The bonny black speedster has been a superb greyhound for owner Kevin Dover, having been previously placed twice at Group One level.

The former WA star ran third in the 2014 Perth Cup, while she ran second to Chica Destacada in the National Sprint Championship in August while trained by Jeff’s sister Linda.

In addition to this, Star Recall has also made the finals of both the Group One Melbourne Cup and the Group Three Mandurah Cup.



It is unsure where she will be aimed at next.

Let Them Have A Bet

Let’s give Ballarat stewards a small credit for trying to look into what they regarded as a below-par performance. There should be more of it.

But again they got it wrong. It reminds you of the time some months ago in town when they hauled in the (previous) trainer of Sweet It Is and asked for an explanation of its improved performance to win at 50/1. In fact, it had not improved at all, but just run pretty much as it had been doing at its previous several starts. The others just ran poorly. So much for their ability to assess form.

Anyway, here is what they wrote after Scintillating failed at $1.70 in a Mixed 4/5 Grade race on Wednesday night. The case is not life threatening but interesting nevertheless.

Race 5, Ballarat, 24 December.
“Scintillating which performed below marked (sic) expectations was vetted following the event. It was reported that there was no apparent injury”. (Do they mean “market”?)

The major issue here is that the market was wrong. Certainly the dog had fair form but its best recent run was over the shorter 425m trip at Bendigo in 23.95 coming out of box 4. At Ballarat the dog had box 8 and could have been expected to begin no better than several other runners. In practice it recorded 6.70 when its recent form suggested an average of 6.71 – pretty right, eh? Given the similar form of the others, there would always be a big doubt about it being able to cross before the corner. That aside, it is very doubtful Scintillate could have got down to the 25.41 recorded by the winner, Don’t Be Short, even with a clear run

So it turned out. Scintillate was stuck wide, outside three or four dogs all the way to and around the turn. Effectively, it covered nearer 500m than the actual 450m of the race. But all of that was predictable – not certain, but a major possibility in view of the nature of the track and the form of its competitors. The Watchdog said it was a $2.20 chance, I made it $5.00. In fact you could name five runners that warranted prices between $4.00 and $6.00. But, as often happens, the market just blindly followed the tips and the favourite, and forced the price down to a ridiculous level.

The winner, incidentally, Don’t Be Short from box 2, was big overs at $20 considering it has just run a smart 25.43 at Shepparton and was helped by having only average beginners either side of it. Still, none of these were champions so a range of results was possible.

Anyway, stewards should have been querying the market, not the dog, which performed more or less as expected but was unable to get the breaks it needed.

The big question we are left with is whether stewards are sufficiently competent to analyse form? Supporting evidence is weak. For example, apart from the Sweet It Is incident above, I have recently queried why they ignored poor runs over the last few months from Allen Deed and Xylia Allen, both of which have put in shockers when well supported. Xylia Allen is now off to be a mum while Allen Deed recovered top form to run a very quick heat in the Sale Cup series (final tonight). This is basically a top quality dog so its earlier poor efforts in town remain a mystery.

I do have one helpful hint for the stewards and their bosses. Rather than banning them from punting I would make it compulsory – on racing in other states, that is. They might then learn more about form and betting. The only way to do that is the hard way.

I might include GRV publicity people in that classroom, too. They called for Above All to be nominated for run of the year when it came from last (its own fault) to win a heat of the Hobart Thousand in a modest 26.16 against equally modest opposition. Having done that, how would they classify its record-breaking run in the final – 25.52? Run of the century? The millennium?

Who Is Responsible for Wagering?

Many punters will be pleased that the NSW Racing Minister has now formally endorsed the Fixed Odds betting rules put in place by Racing NSW last July (which begs the question of who actually runs racing and wagering). Conditions apply, but basically online bookies are now compelled to accept any reasonable bet.

However, so far as we know, Tabcorp is still able to play fast and loose. Its state-approved rules still include these limitations (for this purpose “TAB” means Tabcorp):

“3.1.3 Subject to Rule 3.1.4, TAB may refuse to accept any fixed price racing bet at its sole discretion and without stating reasons”.

“3.1.4 Subject to 3.1.1, TAB may set any minimum or maximum stake or payout for fixed price racing bets”.

These give the impression that they were all written by Tabcorp rather than the government. (So we ask again; who actually controls racing and wagering?) And how is “payout” defined? At face value, these rules imply that Tabcorp can pay anything it likes, regardless of the size and nature of the original wager. (A loophole that was used by Bet365 in the Brunker case about an alleged “fixed” race at Ipswich dogs).

The Minister’s announcement on December 23 made no specific mention of this although it addresses “any fixed odds wager on NSW thoroughbred races”. In that event there is a legal clash. And what about bets made in NSW on an interstate race? Online bookies are based outside NSW, but have agreed to Racing NSW conditions, not the state’s laws, while Tabcorp is legally responsible to NSW laws for what it does in that state, including taking bets on any race, anywhere.

Additionally, it seems that dogs and trots got lost in transition. Why didn’t the Minister include them?

Bravely, the NSW Minister assures us that because “some bookmakers have refused to express unqualified support” (ie to Racing NSW) he has now made regulations to enforce the new rules. How exactly would he do that for a company based in the Northern Territory where he has no jurisdiction? What a pity all states do not assign wagering powers to a single national supremo? There is plenty of legal precedent for doing that and the Productivity Commission thought it was a good idea, too.

Maybe the NSW racing department is overworked because its current website still shows the GRNSW chairman as Professor Percy Allen. Eve McGregor would not be pleased.

2015 Gosford Gold Cup Heats Preview

Four star studded heats of the Group Two Woy Woy Poultry Gosford Gold Cup will be run and won this Friday night over 515m, with thirty two greyhounds vying for a chance to qualify for next week’s $40,000 to the winner final.

Long time greyhound enthusiast Laurie Refalo from Woy Woy Poultry Supplies has again come on board as the races’ major sponsor, with an enticing amount of prizemoney up for grabs next week.

Last year’s victor Awesome Project went onto win the Group Two Harrison-Dawson Final for Victorian mentor Darren McDonald and finished third in the Group One Topgun Final back in October 2014.

Gosford Gold Cup Heat One

Group Two Sandown Shootout Winner Iva Vision (3) will make the trip down from Queensland, after two disappointing runs at his past couple of outings at Albion Park. The son of Ivan Brown, trained by Peter Young, has the ability to recapture the form that saw him clock a sizzling time of 29.27 at Sandown Park last month.

Pocket rocket chaser Magic Display (8) will be looking for her third straight victory on Friday evening, after a very impressive 29.80 performance here last week. Spearing the lids from box two, the Evelyn Harris trained chaser, has an impeccable record at Gosford of three wins and two minor placings from seven starts and should get a beautiful cart across from the wide alley.

Chasing The Line (1) is coming off the back of two sensational wins at Wentworth Park including a sizzling 29.67 performance last week. Ideally drawn near the rails, the Loren Harborne trained speedster recorded a very strong run home of 11.70 last week and will be charging home at the finish.

Gosford Gold Cup Heat Two

Sprinting sensation Zipping Willow (4) will be looking to redeem herself this week after finishing third in the Group Three Christmas Gift Final at Wentworth Park. Making her debut at Gosford on Friday, the daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass has scintillating early pace and will be looking to notch up career win number 34 from start 51.

Ritza Hattie (7) will also make her debut at the track for trainer Mark Gatt and has been consistent of late at Wentworth Park, with some solid placings in free for all company. Despite a wide box draw, this talented daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Midnight Flare has a very strong motor and will figure at the finish.

Topper Road is beautifully drawn near the rails for trainer Anthony Azzopardi and has early speed to burn. The son of Oaks Road and Uno Emi has been consistent of late at Wentworth Park, recording a solid 29.97 victory at the track two weeks ago. Another Gosford debutant, who has only been unplaced twice in his 13 start career, could run a very cheeky race and qualify for next week’s final.

Gosford Gold Cup Heat Three

Coming off the back of another Group victory for the year, Chica Destacada (5) will again need to overcome a poor box draw to get the fly over this classy field of runners. Doreen Drynan’s chaser was simply amazing in the Group Three Christmas Gift Final two weeks ago, leading all the way from box one in a flying time of 29.62. The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Eluthra was victorious in her only start at Gosford back in February, recording a blistering time of 29.46.

Queen Esther (3) has speed to burn and is a consistently brilliant beginner. The Noelene Holloway trained chaser had her last start at Gosford in June, where she recorded an outstanding victory over Evil Punk in 29.77. The daughter of Lochinvar Marlow has a love affair with this track, having recorded five wins and two minor placings from just eight starts.

Shoulders (2) is an extremely talented chaser who has a great opportunity to return to the winners circle this Friday night from box two. This beautifully bred son of Cosmic Rumble and Bit Stressed’ last win was a speedy 29.77 performance at Wentworth Park back in October. Making his debut at Gosford for trainer Anthony Azzopardi will need to step cleanly to ensure he’s competitive in this event.

Gosford Gold Cup Heat Four

In form training duo John and Melinda Finn have Anything Less (3) engaged in the least heat, who will be very well supported from box three after sizzling around Wentworth Park two weeks ago in 29.67. The son of Bekim Bale and Casey’s Angel has recorded 11 wins from 18 career starts thus far and has a huge motor when he winds up.

Rue De Kahn (2) returns to Gosford after a few starts at Wentworth Park and flew over the 515m distance at the beginning of this month in 29.74. Ideally drawn near the rails for trainer Dean Swain, the Group One National Futurity winner has two wins from three starts at this track and consistently finishes off her races strongly.

Silent Effective (5) comes into this heat after finishing second in the Goulburn Cup on Sunday. Despite a difficult box draw, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Best Percentage has a blistering personal best of 29.32 at Gosford and has won three out of four over the 515m. Trainer Darren Sultana will be hoping for some luck early on as this greyhound produces very strong finishes.

The first heat will commence at 8.38pm AEDT, with the winner and runner up from each event moving through to next week’s final.

Politics And Racing Are Not Mixing

I finally learnt that my old man knew a bit more than I gave him credit for. He reckoned that government worked best when you had two Liberal lots followed by one Labor, repeating indefinitely. He wasn’t far wrong. In recent times, both Howard and Hawke/Keating did well but they were probably there one session too long. Whitlam and his incompetent group fitted the formula, while the equally poor management of Rudd/Gillard/Rudd lasted much longer than was helpful.

But the problem for racing is that the Liberals are useful in keeping things on an even keel but not much value in bringing about needed reform. Labor, on the other hand, will often bring in reforms but is not so good at administration. However, so long as the states are half and half, it will be difficult to make changes nationally.

The Feds are not much concerned with racing, although they are now looking into the operations of overseas betting organisations which horn in on local racing. However, that will concern the legalities, not their regulation.

The states are a mixed bag, but a hungry one because racing contributes more than one dollar in every ten to their treasuries. Even so they dabble where angels fear to tread. All initially failed to grasp the nature of the betting environment when, stirred along by their respective departments, the TABs and the major gallops clubs, they tried unsuccessfully to ban online bookies and Betfair.

The WA Minister even passed a law banning betting exchanges. That did not last long after the High Court chucked it out and the Minister later lost his job.

Queensland ended up with a Minister whose competence must be seriously queried after he returned to the dark ages when he established an inbred batch of interacting boards to cover each of the three codes, with another in charge of the lot. So far, results are poor but are momentarily disguised by a big financial boost from the new agreement with Tattsbet (soon to change its name to Ubet). As in Victoria, that bonus was not earned – it just happened.

NSW may have some hope now that the new boy is also the Deputy Premier, but that has yet to be demonstrated. The Premier has indicated any change (following the parliamentary Inquiry) will be a “budget consideration”, whatever that means. Of course, past Country/National Party Ministers (for they “own” the racing office) have proven to be ineffectual, which is par for the course with that crowd.

Generally, Racing Ministers are low on the political totem pole, which means they lack the leverage to combat Treasurers and Premiers, or to introduce reforms. Victoria has been an exception since the Premier took on the job himself and made sure funds flowed freely to all codes. What will happen under Labor now is up for grabs but there is little left to hand out anyway. Racing is doing OK.

Regardless of all that, and despite some occasional urging, no state has shown signs of addressing the crazy and rapidly changing nature of the betting market. It is almost at a Rafferty’s Rules stage as tote business declines, genuine bookmakers fade away or emigrate to the Northern Territory and the uncontrollable and generally unregulated nature of the Fixed Odds sector becomes more dominant.

Equally important is that the major TAB – Tabcorp – is far more interested in expanding its overseas coverage at the cost of reducing the quality of services provided to local meetings. The racing codes, should they wish, are powerless to do much about that because they long ago gave away their influence over such “service providers”, which is what totes are supposed to be. Indeed, once upon a time they were hired by the individual clubs, usually under competitive bidding.

Missing from the equation is that none of the three racing codes possess a national body with the authority and responsibility to mount a defence or, better still, to initiate a strong campaign to control their own destinies and more effectively deal with everyone from TABs to customers. The effort is split eight ways by three codes and agreement is hard to achieve.

But how can you talk effectively to your Racing Minister when both of you know real power can come only from the weight of a national organisation? You don’t have much leverage. Somehow, racing has to re-establish its power base before things get completely out of hand.

Politics has become more about appearances than about outcomes. Let’s hope racing does not fall into the same trap.

Don’t Believe What You Read

I have been mentioning peculiarities with steward’s report for some months now, not because they are life and death issues but because they illustrate a significant lack of attention to detail and to more important matters. One example of the latter is the up and down form displayed by Allen Deed at Sandown and Ballarat recently – all of which attract no comments or questions at all. Here are two more amongst many that I have not bothered to list.

Race 10, Sandown, 18 December.

“Dyna Fatbob (2) and Bunga Bunga (1) collided soon after the start.  Dr. Des (1), Dyna Fatbob (2) and Bunga Bunga (3) collided soon after the start. Polly Bale (6) crossed to the rail soon after the start checking Rumero Reason (5).  Strange Wish (4) crossed to the rail soon after the start checking Bunga Bunga (3) and Dyna Fatbob (2)”.

In fact, Rumero Reason jumped awkwardly – Polly Bale had nothing to do with that. Strange Wish also had nothing to do with Dyna Fatbob and Bunga Bunga. As the first sentence above states, the latter two did their own colliding, largely because Bunga Bunga wanted to get to the rail..

Race 7, The Meadows, 17 December.

It was interesting that stewards belatedly reviewed the film for this race and then issued an updated report which found that experienced racer Morningside eased in the final run to the post, which is fair enough. At the same time they might have reviewed another comment.

“Our Shiraz (4) crossed to the rail soon after the start checking An That (2) and Dyna Inca (3)”.

In fact, while Our Shiraz may have brushed Dyna Inca on the way to the turn, the impact was minor and it had no effect whatever on An That.

Too Tired?

On a related matter, the danger of stayers backing up too quickly is a no-brainer although authorities have taken no action since I have brought up the subject over the last few months. However, the point was emphasised just the other day when the connections of Tears Sam volunteered the information that perhaps its poor run at Sandown on December 18 was a reaction to its slashing performance on December 14, when it bolted in at good odds, recording 41.91. No doubt, but tell that to the punters who backed it in to $1.40!

Meantime, just as an example, I took a close look at the four 460m races at Geelong last Friday. Do you know that 13 of the 32 runners had raced during the previous six days, some only four days earlier. How is it possible for fans to judge how they will back up? Some do but some don’t.

What You May Have Missed

Greyhounds Australasia Details National Welfare Strategy

Greyhounds Australasia has released initial details on the National Welfare Strategy to be implemented from 1 July 2015. The strategy focuses heavily on the breeding side of the sport, with several restrictions to be introduced including:

  • All broodbitches are to be registered with the controlling bodies as a “breeding female” before they whelp their first litter
  • Broodbitches over eights years of age won’t be allowed to continue to whelp litters, unless a veterinary certificate detailing their health and fitness is provided to authorities
  • Creation of a National Breeding Review Panel who will be responsible for deciding is a brood bitch who has whelped three litters is allowed to continue for a fourth or any subsequent litters that may follow
  • Individual brood bitches will only be able to whelp two litters at a time, during an 18-month period.

These changes will aim to combat unnecessary breeding with bitches that haven’t produced any successful chasers within their first three mating’s, improving welfare of brood bitches and ultimately reduce the number of greyhounds that never make the race track.

Greyhounds Australasia is currently calling for feedback on their proposed changes and this should spark great debate amongst participants in the coming months.

Compression Suits Approved In Victoria

The popularity of the compression suit for greyhounds has grown in leaps and bounds of late, with Greyhound Racing Victoria approving the use of the suits made famous by champion horse Black Caviar.

Introduced as an approved mechanism from 1 December this year, trainers can use the suits whilst their greyhounds are in the race kennels and can reapply them after the event, provided the greyhound has left the kennel block area.

Social media has been flooded with pictures of custom made suits for an array of trainers, illustrating another positive initiate of greyhound racing welfare.

New Cannington Bunny Cam

Cannington greyhound track introduced a fun concept at their weekly trial session last week, with a GoPro attached to the lure and the launch of bunny cam.

The short-term aim of this concept is to give participants a new and unique insight into the racing patterns of greyhounds, with plans to upload race footage after the completion of each meeting and the possibly of bunny cam footage being broadcast live in the future.

Worth A Second Look:

23-year-old Victorian trainer Bethany Dapiran claimed her first career group victory at Wentworth Park, after Zipping Rory sizzled over the 720m journey in a time of 42.08. Dapiran’s father Peter finished second in the Group Three Summer Cup Final with Zipping Maggie, giving the training duo and renowned owner’s Martin and Fiona Hallinan a sensational quinella.

How They Play With Your Money

A reader has queried the source of my comment about Tabcorp altering Fixed Odds bets while the race is under way. I must confess I can’t find the reference at the moment but the issue came up during a blog discussion about punters’ FO bets being accepted or rejected. Several contributors were complaining about getting the amount of their bet halved and about slow processing of their “application”. Of course, this is why your FO bet at a TAB outlet often takes quite a while to accept, usually holding up customers waiting their turn behind. That occurs even for small bets because they have been placed in a clearing queue for the operator to process.

You see these complaints regularly and my policy is generally to make a mental note and leave it at that until more confirmation is available. However, in this case a “value” customer of Tabcorp’s also offered a copy of an email he got back from the operator which specifically advised him they knew the race had already started by the time they reduced his bet (the dog actually lost anyway).

When you place this is an environment where Tabcorp’s manual instructs staff to consider each bet for acceptance, reduction or rejection (we have a verbatim copy of those instructions) it gives you the obvious impression that the company is dedicated to making a profit on every race, no matter what. That climate or culture, call it what you will, is consistent with the above email advice to the customer. There is no question of making a “book” and taking their chances against the betting public. Add to that Tabcorp’s practice of offering FO prices or books of around 130% and you can then see the age-old principle of each party having a chance of a win is looking very thin. Those odds, please note, are not covered by the tote’s legal obligation to average a 16% deduction over the course of a year. It can get away with pretty much anything it likes to do.

There is another example of this sort of behaviour available in Tabcorp’s everyday practice of encouraging Mystery bets which include a boxed Trifecta. Not only do these attract high takeouts of 21% in NSW (25% when hosting international pools) but they are also guaranteed losers before the race starts. This occurs because the Tabcorp computer which assigns the three starters to each bet takes runners from each price bracket – short, medium and long – and each of those is, by definition, at a much different price. Yet the boxed bet assumes that each have the same chance. You are therefore investing as much on the favourite winning as you are on a 10/1 shot, which is mathematical madness.

When one of the favoured runners runs a place (it does not have to win) the dividend will be much smaller than the odds demand. In the much less likely event that the favourite misses a place, that dividend will be higher than justified by the true odds. Good luck as to which side of the coin you fall on.

I should add that tipsters are also prone to suggest boxed bets to unwary customers. That includes the Watchdog which recommended five such bets in the 12-race meeting at Sandown last Thursday night. Only one of those succeeded, paying a very modest $42, even though a $5.20 dog won the race.

Tabcorp, of course, has a tote monopoly in its markets, so excess profits from FO and Mystery bets serve to put some icing on the cake. It is also why the vast majority of gamblers will lose money over a period

It is little wonder that many folk are calling for better regulation of Australia’s betting market, starting with a national betting pool.

A Distance Too Far

Sometimes I wonder about my fellow punters. The betting shock of the week had to be at Horsham last Tuesday. It wasn’t so much the result as the price.

The evidence was already there. My earlier comments about 425m dogs (ie Bendigo) being a different batch to 450m dogs (ie Ballarat) were no better illustrated than when a short course flier, El Grand Seal, got caught near the post in its Ballarat Cup heat and then again in the Consolation on Cup final night. Sure, he has won at 450m and even 460m but not when heavy hitters are in the offing. Still, he has put up some good fights but by far his best career run has been a 23.50 at Bendigo. That’s his peak. After that, it all gets harder.

But nothing could prepare me for the trainer putting him in a 480m event at Horsham. This is not just a tough trip in one-turn racing terms, it also finds out many good city winners. They cannot handle the long home straight. There is no tougher sprint in the country. Yet here I found El Grand Seal sitting up in box 1 in a short field of solid if not spectacular dogs. Several were well capable of running 27.20 to 27.30.

Never mind all that. The Watchdog priced him at $1.30 while the market settled for $1.60 in both NSW and Victoria. Amazing, absolutely amazing. Not that it would be impossible for it to win but it had to be a huge task. And so it turned out. In the race, Hekatia Bale led the favourite out of the boxes but both got run down by the strong finishing Quick Kisses in an average sort of time of 27.37. El Grand Seal did his thing but even his top class mentor, Jeff Britton, must have been hoping against hope over this distance.

El Grand Seal had won only three of its last eleven starts and all those wins were over 425m or less. So, was the short price due to the Watchdog’s leadership (as often happens) or general pressure from punters on the day? Probably a bit of both but the whole process was very sheep-like.

Looking back over the weekend beforehand I found seven dogs started at odds-on at the three major tracks. Four won, including Zipping Willow and Winsome Mission which were no-brainers. However, an even dollar on each of the seven would have given you back $6.10 for your $7.00 investment. Taking odds-on is a mug’s game. The TAB takes out enough already without going down that road.

Happily, I took three Quinellas at Horsham and the winning combination paid $36.90 in NSW, mainly because El Grand Seal ran only 3rd. If only I could do this every week.

Meantime, distance is undoubtedly the greatest single leveller in greyhound racing. Add a false favourite and you are in business.

Chica Destacada Seeing Red In John Stollery Christmas Gift Final

Group One National Sprint Champion Chica Destacada has a great opportunity to notch up her second group victory for the year on Saturday night, after coming up with box one in the Group Three $25,000 John Stollery Christmas Gift Final.

On the back of a 29.77 best of the night performance last week in her heat, the Melbourne Cup runner up is flying at present, having recorded a sizzling 29.22 in her semi-final win at Sandown Park three weeks ago.

Trainer Doreen Dryan’s daughter Kerry is optimistic of her chances this week, provided she can begin cleanly from the inside draw.

“Mum was actually a little disappointed with box one. She was hoping for something out a bit wider.

“Zipping Willow is the greyhound to beat and she is so quick early, Chica will have to begin very well to match it with her.”

Chica Destacada became a household name amongst greyhound racing enthusiasts, after an all way the way display in the Group One National Sprint Championship in Perth, where she clocked a brilliant time of 30.27 over the 530m journey. The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Eluthra returned home after being invited to participate in the Group One Sportingbet Megastar Final finishing fifth, then made the trip down south to Victoria and produced an outstanding effort to place second behind Dyna Villa in the Group One Melbourne Cup Final.

“We’re lucky she loves Wentworth Park and although she missed the start a bit last week, running second in the Melbourne Cup was really good for her.

“I gave her a post to post at Wentworth Park before this series, just to remind her that she’s back home.”

The 26kg pocket rocket’s Wentworth Park record speaks for itself, having won eight of her sixteen starts with four minor placings, and an electrifying personal best time of 29.49. Last Saturday’s victory took her overall career statistics to thirteen wins from thirty three starts and nine minor placings, with a prize money total of $271,355.

Chica Destacada is no stranger to success from box one, having four starts from the inside alley for two wins and a minor placing, and will only have to step cleanly to give the rest of the field a very talented greyhound to chase.

Background To The Sir John Dillon Memorial

The 2014 final of the Sir John Dillon Memorial, to be run at Sandown Park, will only be the third time in what will be its 37th running that the race has been run over the middle distance of 595 metres. It will also be the first time the final has been held in December. Better known as a distance event, it actually started its life over the sprint trip at Sandown Park and is one of the few major races in Australian history to have featured two greyhounds who have made the final three times.

Inaugural running

The first Sir John Dillon Memorial was run on 24 August 1978 over 513 metres at Sandown Park and fell to Darville’s Flyer who overcame box five to defeat Nelson’s Mate and Tangaloa, running the trip in 30.24.

Distances

From its inception in 1978 until 1980 it was run over 513 metres. Between 1981 and 1985 it was converted into a distance race, run over 718 metres. From 1986 until 1995 it was conducted over 716 metres. Between 1996 and 2011 it was held over 715 metres. Since 2012 it has reverted to the shorter 595 metres middle distance.

When Is The Race Run

Although the first final was conducted in August, the race was then run in September from 1979 to 1986. Between 1987 and 1991 it was again run in August. July was the final date from 1992 to 1996, and then in 1997 it was back to September, until 2005. From 2006 to 2011 the final was run in October, while the two previous events over the 595 metres trip in 2012 and 2013 were in November.

Dual Winners

This is one of those rare open-class events which has yet to witness a dual winner.

Reserve Winners

None I’m aware of.

Biggest Winning Margins

Of the finals for which I have full details, Texas Gold holds the record with a nine and a half lengths win in 2005, followed by Miss Brook (2006) by eight lengths and Modern Express (1991) seven and a half lengths.

Closest Winning Margins

Again, of those finals for which I have full information, the closest is the 2008 event which Tasmanian stayer Fallen Zorro won by a nose. Arvo’s Junior (2003) and Dashing Man (2013) won by half a head while Pharaoh’s Mask (1986), Rich Return (1993) and Hypa Din (1994) took the race by a head.

Most Successful Trainer/s

I don’t know all the winning trainers over the years, but no one has dominated down through the years. George Arvanitis won the race in successive years with Arvo’s Junior (2003) and Arvo’s Athena (2004).

Dual Finalists

Nelson’s Mate (second 1978, unplaced 1979), Lone Voice (Won 1981, unplaced 1982 & 1983), Bold Trease (second 1986, Won 1987, fifth 1989), Blazing Bub (Won 1988, fourth 1989), Carmella’s Charm (eighth 1998, third 1989), Dorak (second 1989, fourth 1990), Village Stomper (second 1991, fourth 1992), Hanson Blaze (Won 1992, third 1993), Hypa Din (Won 1994, sixth 1995), Malawi Fawn (eighth 1995, third 1996), Nowhere To Go (seventh 1997, fifth 1998), Rocky (third 2005 & 2006), Mid City Mandy (sixth 2005, second 2006), Springvale Jinx (fourth 2005, sixth 2006), and Miss Brook (Won 2006, fourth 2007).

Some Beaten Stars

Tangaloa (third 1978), Mile Post (unplaced 1978), Striding Ahead (unplaced 1980), Leader’s Jester (unplaced 1980), Bianca Lee (second 1981), Flat Flyer (second 1982), Quick Pulse (dead-heat second 1983), National Star (third 1985), High Intensity (fifth 1988), Saltwater Sid (fourth 1993), Keon Star (fourth 1995), Ringside Fire (second 1997), Paradise Street (fourth 1998), Questions (eighth 2000), Tip Top Tears (second 2001), Flashing Floods (third 2007), Jarvis Bale (third 2009), Bobby Boucheau (second 2011), He Knows Uno (third 2012).

Titbits

As mentioned at the outset, this race has the rare distinction of having had two greyhounds make the final on three occasions each. The first was Lone Voice, who took out the inaugural running over the staying distance, in 1981. Lone Voice then made the 1982 and 1983 finals but was unplaced in both.

The great Bold Trease, perhaps no surprisingly, made three finals, in 1986, 1987 and 1989. He was beaten a head in 1986 by the mighty Pharaoh’s Mask, took out the 1987 version and was fifth in 1989.

The race is also quite unique in that it has seen two dead-heats in the placings. The first was in 1983 when Linton’s First and Quick Pulse dead-heated for second behind Madam Cecie, while the second occasion saw Valley Cowgirl and Heady Freddie share the second and third prize money after being beaten just a neck by Osti’s Joker in 2000.

Sir John Dillon Memorial Honour Roll

1978 Darville’s Flyer

1979 Traduce

1980 Blue Brew

1981 Lone Voice

1982 Supplier

1983 Madam Cecie

1984 Sheila’s Teresa

1985 Caddie’s Champ

1986 Pharaoh’s Mask

1987 Bold Trease

1988 Blazing Bub

1989 Rules

1990 La Dancer

1991 Modern Express

1992 Hanson Blaze

1993 Rich Return

1994 Hypa Din

1995 Joint Mission1

1996 Shirlabella

1997 Red Mystique

1998 John Beam

1999 Paparazzi

2000 Osti’s Joker

2001 Bentley Babe

2002 Westend Prince

2003 Arvo’s Junior

2004 Arvo’s Athena

2005 Texas Gold

2006 Miss Brook

2007 Kulu Magic

2008 Fallen Zorro

2009 Amity Bale

2010 So Seductive

2011 Bling It On

2012 Shelly Shelby

2013 Dashing Man

Tabs Are A Mixed Blessing

There is no doubt that Tabcorp and its forerunner in NSW, TAB Ltd, has revolutionised the way betting is conducted. It has just passed its 50th birthday with a record of expanding the market and increasing the range and quality of its products. More bet types, faster service. Buying up SKY and radio stations helped.

However, I won’t be sending them a birthday card. While I appreciated its first 45 years, recent times have revealed some cracks in the foundation and displayed lots of greed. For an organisation formed to “provide a service to punters” it is now hell bent on screwing what it can out of the system, almost regardless of the needs of the racing codes. Those codes now exist to provide ammunition for the betting operators, rather than the other way round.

The latest innovation, if it can be called that, is the co-mingling of Australian pools with the huge Hong Kong gallops pools. Tabcorp had covered Hong Kong previously but big punters can now bet into those pools without fear of affecting the odds. That’s nice for them but irrelevant for 99% of local gamblers. And gamblers they will be, as few would have much idea of the intricacies of racing there, much less the form of the runners.

Like all its other overseas deals in Europe, America, Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand this expansion is designed simply to raise the total volume of cash passing through the till. Tabcorp and its shareholders take their full cut from every one of those dollars. Local codes obtain a tiny dribble of commission but the majority of that is not new money at all. It simply replaces what would otherwise be earned on local races. In turn, the worst affected is the code with the most races – greyhounds.

The further outcome is that local pools are in continual decline, making them less and less attractive to serious punters. In an overcrowded program, a fixed number of investors now spread their money over more races, including (for gamblers) the overseas events. Keen though they are, there is no evidence that there is any increase in the number of Australian gamblers, and their wallets are still the same size. Anyway, would you rush down to the TAB to have a punt on Swedish trots?

Indeed, the cumulative effect is that the proportion of gamblers to genuine punters is continuing to rise.

That trend is being re-inforced by Fixed Odds betting, a relative new product where operators are generally unregulated and offer rip-off odds to uneducated gamblers while cancelling the accounts of knowledgeable punters who manage to win too often.

Indeed, we have had recent evidence that Tabcorp operators manipulate Fixed Odds bets after the race has started. But it is a double whammy. Those same Fixed Odds bets – now around 25% of total betting – have to be deducted from what would otherwise be more usable tote pools, thereby making them even less attractive. And so the cycle continues.

It’s no good blaming Tabcorp or the online bookies for this mess. They are simply optimising their positions under the rules in place, which are very light indeed. No, the problem is that governments have tightly regulated some sectors of the industry and let the others run willy nilly.

But how can you regulate what happens in one state and not in another? Money will flow to the area where the best offer is available, which is the price of having fast communications over the phone and internet. The only answer is that all state and territory governments have to join forces to create a national betting market and allocate its “owner” (the chief regulator) the power to regulate all betting in the interests of the public.

In fact, this was effectively the conclusion of the Productivity Commission in its report on problem gambling when it favoured national agreement on the level of commissions and deductions. Nothing came from that, of course, but the solution is sitting there anyway.

Building Tracks – Here’s How To Start

Australian sports technology company, Catapult Sports, just listed on the stock exchange, is the latest to announce successful international sales to “allow sports scientists and coaches to measure player movement and fatigue during matches and training”. (The Australian, 10 December).

The company already services college sports in the USA as well as half the NFL teams and one third of NBA teams. It now has its eye on horse racing, aiming particularly to improve media coverage. “There is so much going on with the video vision and you don’t have (the necessary) clarity”, according to CEO Shaun Holthouse.

This has some similarities with the Tasmanian proposal to attach GPS markers to runners in local thoroughbred events, mainly to assess sectional times.

That sort of technology could be a great help in providing greyhound track designers with the hard data needed to ensure more trouble free racing.

Cash To Spare

When listing some issues with recent tasks undertaken by NSW authorities we forgot to mention Goulbourn. The “C” class operation there got a kick along a couple of years ago with a big capital contribution from the authority to re-build its track and modernise other facilities.

Unfortunately the track designer must have left his glasses behind. Inside dogs at the main 457m start have to turn to the right at the jump and then straighten up (a bit like Dapto 520m). Having negotiated that part, they then run into a jumbly approach to the turn and a flat turn into the straight (Bulli style). Runners have been seen tiptoeing along the grassy edge in the home straight. All this for several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

2014 Group One Hobart Thousand Heats Preview

The Apple Isle’s most prestigious series, the Group One Hobart Thousand, kicks off this Thursday night at Hobart with eight heats of the time honoured feature. Each heat victor will go through to the $75,000 to the winner final which will be held the following Thursday on December 18.

The Hobart Thousand is the oldest feature race in Australia and was first run back in 1935 as the Hobart Cup at the old TCA grounds. It was first run as the Hobart Thousand in 1939 before reverting back to the the Hobart Cup in 1942 for two years. The race was not held in 1944 or 1945 due to the war but recommenced in 1946 as the Hobart Thousand and has remained under that name to this day.

The Tassie race has been won by some stars of the sport including Rookie Rebel (1958), Ophir Doll (1961-62), Benjamin John (1969), Black Aztec (1981), Brother Fox (1985) and Dyna Tron (2011).

Last year’s race saw one turn king Paw Licking defeat recent Melbourne Cup winner Black Magic Opal in track record time.

Lets have a look at the heats of this year’s race.

Heat One – 7:58pm

The first lot of Victorian raiders step out in the first heat, looking to dominate yet another feature race series.

Hekate Belle (1) is a classy bitch but she can be hard to catch as she does tend to be hit and miss at the start. Box one should be a big advantage for her and she boasts a great record from the cherry with six starts for three wins and two minor placings. As a recent 29.29 winner at Sandown, she is definitely one to keep an eye out for from the inside.

Scenic Shot (3) will start very close to favourite in the opener. She comes into the series  as a last start winner at Warrnambool where she clocked a BON 25.42. The Victorian city winner will be aiming to emulate the feats of her father, Dyna Tron, which won the race in 2011, while her trainer, Michelle Mallia-Magri, took out the 2012 running with Blackalls Boss.

Señor Slamma (8) is the best local shot in the heat and is one of the most consistent sprinters in Tasmania at present. The well named son of El Grand Señor and Tequila Mall has only been beaten once in his past 11 starts and he has run 25.88 over the track and distance. He only has one win from six starts wearing pink but he is a quality dog and should be right in contention for a berth in the final.

Heat Two – 8:19pm

The second heat will see just seven runners face the starter. 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Dyna Villa (4) is one of the most promising chasers in the country but he will have to contend with an awkward draw in box four. He comes into the race following his last start in a heat of the Ballarat Cup where he finished third behind the eventual series winner Luca Neveelk. He has trialled in 25.92 in preparation for this assignment so despite the poor draw he is right in the race if he can get some clear galloping room early.

Top Secret (2) is another Victorian which has won 11 races from 41 career starts. He has been racing a little below his best at his last few runs, albeit against top company,  but if he can find his feet he is a great shot.

Wynburn Wizard (6) is a local chaser capable of breaking the 26 second barrier which puts him right into calculations. The box won’t help but he is a very consistent boy as a winner of nine from 22 and he will only need a little bit of luck to feature in the finish.

The remainder of the field are pretty even. Pipstar (8) could provide a bit of value, she has won four at the track with a best time of 26.05 and she wont mind being drawn out wide in the pink.

Heat Three – 8:41pm

Size Does Matter (3) is a recent edition to the Rodney Ransley kennel in Tassie, transferring from Brooke Ennis late last month. Ennis still owns the son of Bekim Bale and Size It Up and will be hoping that he can go better than his Tasmanian debut where he finished fifth behind Señor Slamma. He has only won once from four attempts from box three. Looking at his box statistics, it is interesting to note that he has won eight of his 14 races from box one, which he has drawn 11 times during his 33 start career.

Blurred Lines (4) is capable of putting some slick times on the board but he can be hard to catch. He has been racing some great dogs lately so his form is probably better than it reads, but he still has a tough task ahead from box four.

Brunys Venture (7) looks to be a very promising youngster, but this will be his biggest test to date from box seven. He has run BON times at Hobart, Devonport and Launceston throughout his career and has won two of his last three over the track and distance. Definitely the leading local hope in this heat.

Heat Four – 9:05pm

Quartz Bale (2) has been dominant in his limited starts back home in WA, winning nine of 11 racetrack appearances to date.  The 38 kilogram light fawn dog is in the hands of Paul Stuart and has had a look at the track last Saturday, running 25.98 on trial morning. Being such a big boy, it does take him a while to find top gear, but he does have plenty of upside and will only need a bit of luck in running to go close to winning.

Ride The Rails (5) bounced back to his best form with a dazzling 29.23 Sandown victory last week. Now trained by Kelly Bravo, the son of Cosmic Chief and Pearl Napoleon has the potential to blow this field away if he brings his best on Thursday night.

Punk Pirate (3) heads to Hobart from Victoria as a winner of five of his past seven starts. He had no luck in his heat of the Ballarat Cup, finishing seventh behind Blue Giant. He is more than capable of reversing that result and going close here.

That Was Then (6) is a track specialist which has won eight races at Hobart while Get It Right (7) and Night Tremors (8) have had just 16 and 13 starts respectively. Both have strong strike rates and look like they can make the step up in class.

Heat Five – 9:25pm

Tasmanian champ Buckle Up Wes (1) is a dual Group One winner which will be looking to score his first success at the elite level in his home state. He put in an average run last start at Hobart but he is the class runner of the race and he is undoubtably the one to beat. He loves the track, as a winner of eight from 14 with a best of 25.77. He would probably be better boxed a few off the rails but he still has a fantastic record from the red with four wins from five starts.

Hellyeah Bolt (5) hasn’t been racing at his best recently but he has a 25.76 personal best here and is too good to leave out when on song, despite having to overcome box five.

Waymore’s Blues (6) looked like being an outstanding sprinter earlier in his career but he has been a little disappointing. I still maintain that he is capable of winning a group race, just not sure he is going well enough for this to be the one.

Punk Panther (2) is a more than handy sprinter but this will be a big test for him.

Heat Six – 9:45pm

Some great youngsters engaged in this heat including Kicking Rocks (7) from the Darren McDonald kennel. Despite winning nine from 21, I don’t think people realise how fast this bloke actually is. Earlier this year he broke his maiden in at The Gardens in an airborne 29.30, a time usually reserved for Group class greyhounds. He should be right in this race after trialling in 26.09 on a slow track.

Big Ticket (3) looks like being the real deal too and the Victorian pup will be having his first race start at Hobart  after a 25.96 trial last Thursday. He loves the inside so should be suited in box three.

Axis Bale (6) has only had nine starts but has shown promise. He will have to overcome box six but he does look to be very talented.

Heat Seven – 10:08pm

Above All (4) hasn’t had a start since finishing fourth in the Group One Melbourne Cup last month but the former Kiwi has run 25.84 in a trial to prepare for his Hobart debut. A winner of six races from just 10 starts, it is a testament of his class that he has been able to mix it with the best Australia has to offer so successfully with such  little experience. He will be a short favourite.

Good Odd Demons (1) is a little below his best and doesn’t have a great record at Hobart, but he has his favourite draw from which he has recorded five wins from seven starts.

Winsome Tommy (8) has won two at the track and doesn’t mind being boxed out wide, but he will probably need to improve on his 26.32 pb to win the race.

Heat Eight – 10:28pm

White Spyro (5) is back to her best and has had one start at Hobart for a 26.26 win last month. You would expect her to improve on that time with a look at the track.

National Time (6) has been mixing his form but is right up to this class. He has won six races from box six so, although it is not ideal, he should be able to overcome the poor draw.

Buckle Up Fletch (7) is a younger half brother to Tassie champ Buckle Up Wes and he looks to have his fair share of ability. He doesn’t mind being off the track so I can’t see box seven posing any issues.

Walk Hard (3) is yet to win in his two starts since returning from a spell but he is a very fast animal on the bunny. He made the final of the Hobart Thousand two years ago, it would be an incredible achievement to contest the 2014 edition too.

AGRA Rankings Fail To Inform

Are the AGRA national ratings useful, or even true reflections of ability? Figures to the end of November are just out and that order will be pretty close to the final 2014 count.

They allocate points from first to eighth for all Group races – supervising Group racing is AGRA’s main purpose in life – but are otherwise unrestricted or unqualified.

Consequently, a Melbourne Cup winner and a maiden final winner get the same credit, just so long as they are Group races, meaning they pay a certain minimum amount of prize money.  Running last in the Ipswich Maiden series still gains the dog a point. Other fields vary wildly in standards because the Group classifications are not earned but bought by the club responsible for allocating the cash.

They are also limited to what happens in a single calendar year, so performances for dogs which straddle two different years may not be represented accurately. Luck will also play a part, as when a prominent dog is off the scene with injury for a short while and misses a big race or two. Even more luck is needed in drawing a suitable box in each Group race. A string of 1s and 2s may well distort outcomes just as much as a succession of middle boxes.

Another measure – that of prize money – is equally problematical over time as inflation, changed priorities by clubs and the rise and fall of champion dogs all influence the figures. Being on top does not necessarily mean best.

Back to the actual AGRA rankings; please consider these oddities.

While Sweet It Is is fair enough in the #1 spot, what about Dyna Willow as the 9th best dog in the country? It did have a short winning patch earlier in the year, but against moderate opposition and in times which were just fair. It has done little since.

Queenslander Are Ate, a fair but not always consistent performer and not really top grade, gets the 20th place while the brilliant multi-winner Zipping Willow wallows in 53rd spot. Even sillier is that Zipping Willow shares that ranking with Gradence, an honest and consistent dog which runs a lot of placings and not much else.

Going down further, Queens Esther and Space Star share the 74th spot. The former has a few handy sprint wins at Wentworth Park, but has no great depth to its career. On the other hand, Space Star has busted two track records and done well against top level stayers at different times – including running hot times at Wentworth Park.

In other words, AGRA rankings are a misleading measure of the quality of the dogs. Something better is needed.

Neil Brown, Howard Ashton and the rest of the AGRA group have the right idea but need go no further than the gallops to see how better to do this job. Thoroughbred’s formal rankings are based on the quality, not the quantity, of performances. Here is their official guide.

“The ratings are compiled under the auspices of The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) by racing officials & handicappers representing the five continents who compile the ranking order by agreeing on the rating for each horse. The ratings are based on the performance of horses in elite races held during the designated period which takes in account the quality of opposition and achievements of each horse. Throughout the year the Longines Rankings are published at regular intervals and the consolidated annual rankings are released in January. The annual rankings denote the champions in the various distance categories for example sprint or mile, surface either turf or dirt/artificial and also the fillies & mares category”.

That may or may not be more detail than greyhounds need but the principle is indisputable. You want to know which one was the best, not just the one that was in the right place at the right time.

The other benefit of the thoroughbred-style rankings is that whatever position the horse earns will stay with it forever, making is easier to compare one generation with another. It also influences major clubs in organising fields for their peak events.

These sorts of guidelines would also help normalise AGRA’s breeding rankings – probably even more so than the racing stats. Restricting a sire or dam’s position to a single year makes little sense when performances of their progeny stretch over several years. In today’s annualised system a flash in the pan can come out on top in any one year.

As an aside, while Sweet It Is may well deserve top spot on any measure (primarily because it has run near record times at two tracks – Wentworth Park and Cannington), the uncertainty of racing is well illustrated by the fact that its supporters will never end up making a profit. As regularly advised here, its hit rate and the way it races mean that it is never better than an even money chance. Taking odds-on is a sure way to the poorhouse, as backers found out last Saturday in the Summer Cup at Wentworth Park. It started at $1.50 in NSW and $1.30 in Victoria and ran 6th. That was not bad luck, just bad odds.

No Stopping Victorian Stewards

At the Laurels heats at Sandown, 7 December.

Race 3

“Ousai Bale crossed to the rail approaching the first turn, checking Reiko Bale, Photon Jewel, Footluce Diva, Oakvale Flyer and Fratelli Fresh”.

What a huge effort – one dog checking five others! The problem is it never happened. Ousai Bale did go across to the rail but never touched these other dogs, which were well clear of it from the start.

Race 8

“Call Me Hank crossed to the rail soon after the start, checking Cool Mikado”.

That never happened either. Never touched.

Why do they bother?

Questions could also be asked of Racing Radio (NSW version). It failed to broadcast some or all of that Sandown Laurels meeting on Sunday afternoon. There appeared to be time available as they waffled on about other stuff and ran plenty of ads. The trots – a declining code and ranking well behind greyhounds – got plenty of coverage, though. On top of that, the station persists with AM frequencies in some areas, which is deadly in times of lightning and thunderstorm conditions, or at night.

Chica Destacada Takes Time Honours In Christmas Gift Heats

On a wet Wentworth Park circuit last night, four sensational heats of the Group Three John Stollery Christmas Gift were conducted over 520 metres.

Rue De Kahn started as the $2.20 favourite in heat one after returning to the winner’s circle at Gosford last week, clocking an impressive time of 29.74. Exiting from box one, the Dean Swain trained chaser got away well, however had to settle for second place with Zipping Angel simply brilliant from box three. Effectively leading all the way in a solid time of 29.95, the daughter of Dyna Lachlan and Agent Gibbs scored by three and a half lengths at the finish, with the performance assured to please astute trainer Jason Mackay. Zipping Angel recorded her seventh career win last night from start number twenty, and is another regally bred prodigy of illustrious owners Martin and Fiona Hallinan.

All eyes were on the undisputed queen of Wentworth Park Zipping Willow in heat two, heavily supported by punters at just $1.30. The daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass was looking to secure win number twenty at the track and did so in style, stepping brilliantly from box one and recorded a fast time of 29.78.

Notching up her thirty third-career win from just forty-nine starts, Zipping Willow gave her owner’s Martin and Fiona Hallinan and trainer Jason Mackay a successful running double. Anthony Azzopardi’s Zipping Tank was gallant in defeat, after suffering several checks heading into the first turn, finishing eight and three quarter lengths behind the winner. The son of Azzopardi’s Group One winning chaser Smooth Fancy and Navigator Miss has a genuine chance in next week’s final after coming up with a favourable box three draw.

Group One National Sprint Champion Chica Destacada was attempting to overcome a difficult box five draw in heat three last night, with punters confident in her ability, starting at short odds of $2.80. Jumping brilliant from the middle alley, the Doreen Drynan trained greyhound gapped her rivals by seven and a quarter lengths in a best of the night performance of 29.77. The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Eluthra recorded her first victory at Wentworth Park, since taking out the NSW Sprint Championship Final back in August. Notching up career win number thirteen, her trainer will undoubtedly be ecstatic after coming up with box one for next week’s final. Outsider Peter’s Pick made up a stack of ground from box six and is deserved of his place in the final for trainer John Callaughan.

The fourth and final heat saw a few greyhounds well supported by punters, with Neville Brown’s King Cobber made the $3.10 favourite over Group One Vic Peters winner Bessy Boo, who started at $3.70. Craig Chappelow’s Jumble was best away from box five, with Jodie Lord’s Cawbourne Kayono taking full advantage of a beautiful rails run, to position himself nicely behind the early leader. Heading for home, Cawbourne Kayono again stuck to the rails and pulled away at the finish to salute by two lengths in a time of 30.09. Jumble was brave in defeat and held on for second, with box greyhounds defying the odds and securing a spot in next week’s final.

Group Three John Stollery Christmas Gift Final – $25,000 to the winner

1 – Chica Destacada – Doreen Drynan
2 – Peter’s Pick – John Callaughan
3 – Zipping Angel – Jason Mackay
4 – Jumble – Craig Chappelow
5 – Rue De Kahn – Dean Swain
6 – Zipping Willow – Jason Mackay
7 – Zipping Tank – Anthony Azzopardi
8 – Cawbourne Kayono – Jodie Lord
Reserves
9 – Cawbourne Cobra – Jodie Lord
10 – To A Tee – Harry Sarkis

Zelemar Fever Inquiry Adjourned

Report:

RWWA Stewards yesterday inquired into the report from the ChemCentre in Perth, that the presence of 5β– androstane-3α, 17β–diol (metabolite of Testosterone), at a concentration of greater than 10ng/ml, had been detected in the following samples obtained from ZELEMAR FEVER:

A post race urine sample after winning Race 5, the Tabtouch W.A. Sprint Championship Final at Cannington on 16 August 2014.

A post race urine sample after placing third in Race 8 the Tabtouch National Sprint Championship Final at Cannington on 23 August 2014.

These findings of both ChemCentre reports have been verified by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW.

Evidence was taken from Trainer of ZELEMAR FEVER, Ms Linda Britton, RWWA Investigator Mr Geoff Johnson, RWWA Racing Industry Veterinarian Dr Judith Medd and ChemCentre Analyst Mr James White.

In view of the voluminous evidence presented to the inquiry through the course of the day’s hearing, the matter was adjourned at 5.20pm to afford Ms Britton and her counsel the opportunity to consider and make any submissions with regard to evidence presented, prior to the Stewards determining whether charges under the RWWA Rules of Racing apply.

ARG Opinion:

With the threshold for testosterone being lowered in recent years, the greyhound industry has seen an abundance of positive swabs as trainers continue to try and keep their bitches from coming on season. It is a very delicate balance between managing to keep them off and returning a positive swab, but the racing bodies around Australia have proven to be brutal in enforcing the new rules.

In November, GRV disqualified John Barbara for an Androstane positive for 9 months (with 6 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 occurred during the 12 month period) with other trainers disqualified recently also including Graham James, Kevin Wright, Gregory Couldridge and Tony Vass.

While mostly they were all only disqualified for a few months, it would have a serious effect on racing in WA if the state’s leading lady was sent out.

It is interesting to note that in September, Racing Queensland issued a $2,500 fine to trainer Jan Warner for an Androstane positive rather than a disqualification.

Only time will tell if Britton will escape with just a fine like Warner or whether she will face time on the sidelines.

Christmas To Come Early At Wentworth Park This Saturday Night

As we approach the festive season, New South Wales’ premier track Wentworth Park will host their annual Group Three John Stollery Christmas Gift Series, with $25,000 to be presented to winning connections next week.

Last year’s final went to Greyhound of the Year winner Double Twist, who produced a sensational come from behind victory, which was also voted the 2013 Run of the Year.

Four competitive heats will be run and won on Saturday night, with the winner and runner up moving through to next week’s final.

Heat One:

Group One Vic Peters winner Lucy Lobster returns to Wentworth Park after a short stint in Melbourne and will exit from box seven for talented trainer Charlie Lamb. The daughter of Brett Lee and One Tree Hill exploded away from box five in the final a month ago, scoring by half a length in a time of 29.85. The tricky box draw won’t be of concern to connections, with her sizzling early split of 5.31, one of the fastest recorded in recent times.

Rue De Kahn returned to her winning ways at Gosford on Tuesday after a month spell, recording a sizzling time of 29.74 over 515 metres and is ideally drawn for trainer Dean Swain in box one. The daughter of Where’s Pedro and Shelbourne Dawn has notched up four wins from eighteen starts at Wentworth Park, including a flying personal best of 29.64.

Zipping Angel was brave in defeat last Saturday night at Richmond in a flying time of 30.55 over the 535 metre distance, beaten on the line by talented sprinter Addison Road. The Jason Mackay trained chaser has a brilliant chance to go one better this week with a favourable box three draw, and recorded a fast personal best time of 29.73 at this track back in August.

Heat Two:

Zipping Willow continues to uphold her status as the queen of Wentworth Park, winning four of her past five outings at the track in sub-30 time. The daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass is another successful offspring of the famous Hallinan bloodlines, with her electrifying early speed surely to give trainer Jason Mackay plenty of confidence from box one.

Smokem Jimmy has an excellent Wentworth Park career record of two wins from three starts and clocked a sensational personal best time of 29.62 back in October. Exiting from box three, the son of Bekim Bale and Skates was gallant in defeat last Saturday at The Meadows in 30.27 and should be competitive in this affair.

Army Surplus has been very consistent of late, winning at Wentworth Park two weeks ago in a flying time of 29.61, before stepping up to the 600m at Gosford, leading all the way in 35.19. Box eight will prove testing for the Adam Wade trained chaser, however the son of El Grand Senor and Wacky Car Races has five wins from seventeen starts at the track and knows how to produce gutsy come from behind performances.

Heat Three:

Group One Melbourne Cup runner up Chica Destacada returns to Wentworth Park after a successful stint in Victoria and has a sizzling personal best at the track of 29.49. Despite exiting from the middle alley, trainer Doreen Drynan will have plenty of faith in her chaser, whose box manners have been superb of late. The daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Eluthra has seven wins from fifteen starts at the track and is the reigning National Sprint Champion.

Ritza Hattie produced a sensational return to form last week, finishing second behind superstar sprinter Zipping Willow in a fast time of 29.56. The Mark Gatt trained daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Midnight Flare took plenty of ground off the winner, beaten just three quarters of a length and will only need some luck from box seven to figure heavily at the finish.

Queen Esther returned to the winner’s circle at her last start, saluting by three quarters of a length against FFA class in a time of 30.12. The daughter of Lochinvar Marlow and Fascinate Marina has been well below her best in recent times, with her reversal in form certain to give trainer Noelene Holloway plenty of confidence heading into Saturday night’s heat.

Heat Four:

Neville Brown’s King Cobber has a flying personal best of 29.60 at Wentworth Park and has recorded six wins from twenty-one starts at this track. The son of Swift Fancy and Dana Lou Lou comes into this heat off the back of a solid 29.92 win at Nowra and should get a nice run to the first turn with a lack of early speed in the race.

Despite Bessy Boo having failed to notch up a win since October, the Christine Proctor trained chaser always figures at the finish and will only need some room to move from the seven alley. The daughter of Bekim Bale and My Black Bess has nine wins from thirty three attempts at Wentworth Park, including a fast personal best time of 29.71.

Our Lady Di will exit from box eight for trainer Brian Tame and possess genuine early pace that should give her a lovely cart across from the wide alley. The daughter of Magic Sprite and Kinda Cocomama has two wins from fourteen starts at this track and should improve on her personal best time of 30.02 with a clear run.

The first heat will jump at 8.08pm EDST.

When Will Racing Bosses Address The Facts?

As thousands of our readers would know, this column has been campaigning for some time about the unwise practice of forcing so-called stayers to back up in week to week 700m-plus races. The problem being that at least nine out of ten of them cannot do it – they are physically and physiologically incapable of reproducing their best.

The sub-text here is that the nation is no longer producing enough well-bred stayers. In turn, that is a reaction to the increasing concentration on sprinters – or sprinting sires – which can hopefully bring in a quicker return on the owner’s investment.

The sub-sub-text is that all this is the reason for the widespread increase in sub-400m races on TAB programs. Cannington had three 297m races at its Saturday meeting last week. Wentworth Park has been slipping 280m races into its Friday meetings. Albion Park actually built a new start for 331m races, as did Angle Park for 388m races. 300m-400m races now dominate most provincial meetings. All these are new trends.

Despite all the evidence, the industry is ignoring the massive shift in breeding patterns, except that it has been offering bonus prize money for provincial distance races (which generally means 650m or so) in the hope that the dogs will welcome a boost to their bank accounts by running further. But it is not working. Fields are hard to fill and, in the main, they are getting only those dogs that are not much good over shorter trips.

More importantly, clubs/authorities (cross out one) are still doing the wrong thing. Just last Saturday we saw The Meadows run the final of a Grade 5 heat/final series over 725m with seven days between the two runs. Here are the differences in times between those two runs.

1. +0.19 Big Kat 2nd

2. +0.35

3. +0.44 Julie Bale 3rd

4. -.09

5. +1.33

6. +0.37

7. +0.36

8. +0.18 Starc Ist

That was not the only distance race on the program. Another ordinary Grade 5 race over 725m followed. Of those eight starters, only one had a break of more than seven days prior to the distance race (Global Lad – 9 days). Four other starters had breaks of only four days. Here are the difference between Saturday’s times and those run in their previous race (corrected for a change in distance as appropriate).

1. +0.21 Reap the Benefit 2nd

2. +0.45

3. +0.29

4. +0.39

5. +0.22

6. +0.06 Global Lad 3rd

7. -0.13 Heaps of Ability 1st

8. -0.04

Before you get too excited about that win note that Heaps of Ability ran 43.25, which is pretty pedestrian. It ran past a bunch of tiring leaders on the home turn.

In other words, following short breaks, there is a heavily defined pattern of running poor and/or worse times the second time around. Previous checks reported in this column have shown comparable results.

Wentworth Park also ran two heats of a heat/final distance series on Saturday night and with similar results to those at The Meadows – barring the amazing win by Sweet It Is. Amongst the placegetters were Zipping Maggie, Zipping Rory and Dusty Moonshine, each of which ran worse time than the week or race before, and much worse than their best. Next week will see the final of that series, where the only interest will be on Sweet It Is’ winning margin (providing it does not run into too many backsides).

What, then, is the point of scheduling heats and finals seven days apart? Of the 32 dogs listed above only one, Sweet It Is, is capable of turning on two good runs. Or, 3% can do it, 97% cannot.

Of those four races, three favourites – Reap The Benefit $2.10, Julie Bale $2.30 and Zipping Maggie $2.10 – all failed, while Sweet It Is won at $1.30, so punters would not have been impressed. Again, what is the point?

Most racing schedules are organised a long way ahead, particularly for major events. But many are not and can easily be changed.

We already have a few welfare rules preventing quick backups, more which address high temperatures as well as frequent enforced outages for injury or illness, so why not expand those a little to stop this senseless practice with distance dogs?

There is a dual or triple challenge here because all three levels of racing are involved in one way or another – national, state and club – whether for rule changes or week to week management.

Postscript:

Trainer Darren McDonald seems to have done a good job in encouraging Sweet It Is to leave the boxes more quickly these days. But I would take issue with him when he claims she is better off from outside boxes. I suggest the more correct claim would be that she either (a) does not like being crowded or (b) does not handle getting through a field very well, or (c) both. Perhaps this may have been the result of an incident as a pup?

Whatever it is, she has developed an Elektra-like habit of jumping well then easing back when she does not have clear air. At Wenty on Saturday none of that happened. She jumped well and was out free as a bird behind the leader and well clear of other dogs. Hence the lightning 41.55 time after a neat 16.30 sectional! Next week with a full field in the final may be different. That’s why you should never take anything less than even money about her.

From the inside three boxes, Sweet It Is has won 6 of 16 attempts, or 37%. From the outside three boxes she has won 8 of 23, or 35%. It’s the running that matters, not the box.

In passing, note that her six-dog race on Saturday at Wenty attracted a miserable $9,157 on the Win tote. You might have expected double that figure. Also related to 720m races at Wenty, why are we still offered 16 sec-plus sectional times when a timer is available at around the 5 sec mark – as evidenced in results published for 280m races which use the same boxes? The shorter time is much more relevant to a dog’s beginning ability.

Stewards Report, The Meadows, Race 8

“Radinka Bale crossed to the rail approaching the first turn, causing Skinny Vinnie and Buckle Up Mason to collide”.

No it didn’t. The other two made their way directly to the turn without hindrance, and well behind Radinka Bale.

Greyhound Tips & Betting Preview November 26 2014

It should be a terrific night of racing with eight heats of the Group Two Ballarat Cup and semi finals of the GRV VBIS Maiden series. Lets see if we can find a couple of winners…

Race No. 4Grv Vbis Maiden S/f4 (gobis)7:57 PM (VIC time)
Maiden Semi Final event over 450 metres at Ballarat Of $2,890 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,325 2nd: $375 3rd: $190 GOBIS: $1,000.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1BLOSS’S BLITZEN [5]12125.44(5)A Mills (Tooradin)
2LEKTRA KHAN [M]853NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
3CHARLESTON [5]125.52(1)J Borg (Maryborough)
4TOP END TORQUE [M]1152NBTG Rumble (Bunkers Hill)
5VAN NOSTRUM [M]83432NBTH Halas (Cranbourne)
6COOLAN BOY [M]43NBTR Redenbach (Cranbourne)
7MINE CRAFT [M]563NBTJ Britton (Anakie)
8KAITOKE DIAMOND [M]632NBTB Iredale (Pearcedale)
9NOOK AND CRANNY [M]Res.4NBTR Harrowfield (Colac)
10SCHUMACHER [M]Res.54NBTJ Shaw (Anakie)

Top End Torque (4) has scored two solid quali wins here over 390m and last week he looked impressive when stepping up to the 450m journey. He was a tad slow to begin but he then showed a terrific turn of speed and he was far from disgraced when beaten by less than four lengths in a blistering 25.08. If he can turn in a similar effort tonight he will take a power of beating.

Bloss’s Blitzen (1) has the good draw and he was never headed in his smart 25.44 heat win, from the red he should be in a prominent position for the entire trip.

Charleston (3) is in good hands and he too was a top heat winner, he will need some luck in the early stages but he should be suited by having a slow beginner drawn underneath.

Coolan Boy (6) rounds out the winning hopes, he appears to be improving with every run and he appears suited to a wide draw.

Top Four: 4 – 1 – 3 – 6

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Top End Torque with Sportingbet

Exacta: 1,4/1,3,4,6 ($6 for 100%)

Quinella: 4 to rove with 1,3,6 ($3 for 100%)

Trifecta: 4/1,3,6/Field ($18 for 100%)

Race No. 5Mega Merch Ballarat Cup Ht18:17 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 450 metres at Ballarat Of $7,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,500 3rd: $750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1MAGIC DIVA (NSW)[1]2112224.96(5)D Fisher (Lara)
2KING SURFA (NSW)[3]1211225.37(3)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
3TOP SECRET [5]22178NBTK Bravo (Lovely Banks)
4GEMSTAR (NSW)[5]17714NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
5VEYRON BALE (NSW)[4]52354NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
6ULTIMA BALE (NSW)[3]1314125.22(6)S Collins (Lara)
7PUNK PANTHER [3]1142725.12(1)M Mallia-magri (Avalon)
8LONESOME PIRATE [4]4161225.49(5)A Mcdonald (Reservoir)
9MEPUNGA MOSS [4]Res.12745NBTJ Britton (Anakie)
10GRANVILLE’S CALL [5]Res.3512625.35(4)J Dunstan (Breakwater)

Ultima Bale (6) is the real deal and with the explosive speed in boxes one, two and three he should get every chance to get a nice sit early and then run over the top of them late. He has solid box manners but his best asset is his dazzling turn of foot once they clear the mat. Back in October he really caught the eye with a brilliant 25.22 victory and with the improvement he has showed since then I can easily see him going sub 25 seconds with a clear run.

Magic Diva (1) has the good draw and she has broken 25 seconds here previously, she is a little below that form at present but her early speed means she is still a chance.

King Surfa (2) is an obvious danger, he is reliable early and he should match motors with Magic Diva for most of the journey.

Veyron Bale (5) is the smokey, he has a heap of talent and he should be able to pick off some of them late in the race.

Top Four: 6 – 1 – 2 – 5

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Ultima Bale with Sportingbet

Exacta: 1,2,6/1,2,5,6 ($9 for 100%)

Quinella: 6 to rove with 1,2,5 ($3 for 100%)

Trifecta: 1,2,6/1,2,5,6/1,2,3,5,6,7 ($36 for 100%)

Trifecta: 6/1,2,5/Field ($18 for 100%)

Best Value:
Race 11: National Time

Dyna Who?

The Melbourne Cup needs follow-up. As one of the industry’s two big events (with the Golden Easter Egg), did we get the maximum benefit from it?

A fine night, great crowd, the biggest prize money in the world, good betting turnover and favourites won both the big races. What more could you ask for?

In Victoria, not so much. The state has lots of interactive community programs and the Herald Sun and Racing Radio give greyhound racing a good run. That’s why it provided two thirds of the betting action.

Elsewhere, a bit mixed. NSW did OK but it was nothing spectacular considering it has the country’s biggest population and some local dogs were involved. Apart from WA (whose figures are counted in Victoria’s) the others generated no starters. Betting or any other interest was so-so. Tattsbet is a poor cousin these days and no doubt many would prefer a tote with bigger pools – a national one perhaps.

What about next week, and the week after? Will the interest be maintained? Is there a platform to build on? How will the industry’s three main support sectors carry on – a tiny handful of professional punters, a declining number of serious weekly punters (including trainers and other participants), and a great swathe of mug gamblers, many of whom would barely know what race was on as they walked in off the street.

History suggests there will be a rapid return to normal, average, everyday goings on for two major reasons.

First, the public will not remember the names of the champions, or their breeders, owners and trainers. Post-race discussions will be minimal. Record books will not be consulted. Media will quickly lose interest. As it stands, two national dailies cannot spell the word “greyhound” – The Age and The Australian – while the Sydney Morning Herald pays lip service only to NSW events and none at all for interstate races. The tabloids cover racing because of readers’ interest in the gallops and because the TABs pay them to do it. TV is completely out of the picture.

The second factor is that greyhound racing advertises little and anything it does do is fragmented and aimed at the already converted – e.g. occasional SKY reminders of upcoming meetings. It is a national sport with no national image, no tag line, no slogan. Except, of course, when something nasty happens like the disgracefully biased rubbish run by ABC’s 7:30 Report. One step forward, two steps back.

To compete in today’s demanding world, those things have to change. The industry’s image must be created by itself, not by people with an eye for the main chance. Here are two obvious suggestions, one easily fixed, the other requiring industry bosses to take a step back and adopt a statesmanlike approach.

First, the title of the Melbourne Cup (dogs) has to change. It is ridiculous to continue in opposition to the only event in the country which attracts nationwide attention – the Melbourne Cup (horses). The gallops have had the title for well over a century so whatever we invest in that name will return no more than 50 cents on the dollar, especially as they are both run in the same month.

Second, the warring states have to get together and invest in a key unit which has the responsibility of developing marketing programs and promoting the sport all across the country. It would join independent panels which are badly needed to service two other needs – Track Design and Breeding trends – each of which require expertise which is patently not available in individual states or, if it is, that expertise is not being utilised.

The current national organisation, Greyhounds Australasia, is a miserable failure in these areas, partly because its self-appointed job description does not include them, and partly because its members prefer to go back home and do their own thing, whatever that may be.

This subject came up in a compelling article by Andrew Baxter, chief of a PR company (see The Australian 21 Nov, “Sports marketers need to break the formula and get us excited again“) where he called on sport organisers to “invest in quality campaigns to promote their sports”.

Baxter points out that “It’s one thing to have a great product, and another thing to promote it” and warns that “many of these organisations have fallen into the trap of hoping that the sport’s content and newsworthiness will promote itself at little cost”. Not today, it won’t.

As it stands, the greyhound industry is seeing no growth in the dog population, more empty boxes than ever before and is reliant on the future patronage of mug gamblers who have little or no idea what they are trying their hand at. We still have a product that is fairly well bred and expertly trained but from there on we rely on a “she’ll be right” approach to delivering the end package.

Occasional help from governments is there only because they recognise the source of their tax incomes. Surely, it is better and more reliable to re-build the product ourselves, starting with a lot of help from the wider Australian population.

Group Two Ballarat Cup Heats Preview

The Group Two Ballarat Cup series kicks off tomorrow night with eight fantastic heats ensuring a terrific night of racing at the Morshead Park facility. First run in 1960, last year’s race saw an epic battle between one turn champs Paw Licking and Ronan Izmir down the straight with the latter ultimately victorious.

Ahead of tomorrow night’s action, lets have a quick look at the key players in each qualifier. To have a bet on any of the runners in the heats, open an account with Sportingbet for up to $700 in bonus bets.


Heat One – 8:17pm (VIC time)



King Surfa (2) is a litter brother to boom youngster Over Limit and this fellow seems to have plenty of ability himself. Trained by Darren McDonald, he has recorded victories in nine of his 17 career starts including a last start 30.10 triumph at The Meadows. He generally has great early zip and from box two he should be up there early.

Magic Diva (1) is drawn to perfection and will aiming to prevent King Surfa from finding the rails in the early stages. Magic Diva was the winner of this year’s Warrnambool Classic, she relishes box one with five wins and three minors from nine starts and she has enough pace to hold the lead.

Ultima Bale (6) is unbeaten from two starts over the track and distance but can’t afford to do anything wrong from the draw, while Punk Panther (7) boasts a quick 25.12 personal best.

Heat Two – 8:41pm (VIC time)



What a race this will be! Melbourne Cup hero Dyna Villa (3) will jump from box three off the back of his sensational success last Friday at Sandown. He has been stepping much better in his last few starts and appears to be maturing into a serious race dog. The regally bred youngster has had one start here for a third but expect to see a big improvement.

The obvious danger is drawn directly on his outside and that is Luca Neveelk (4). The blue speedster shows blistering early dash and is suited perfectly by the drop in distance on his last start appearance in The Melbourne Cup. He has never seen the track, but that shouldn’t worry him; he went into the heats of both the Melbourne and Geelong Cups without a trial and made both finals, taking out the latter.

Maximum Lil (1) is a last start 30.03 winner at The Meadows from the same draw so she can’t be ruled out, while Shameless Bandit (2) shows tremendous early dash but this is a definite rise in both class and distance.

Heat Three – 8:58pm (VIC time)

Some highly promising youngsters will take part in the third heat with Secret Spell (1) likely to start as favourite. A winner of seven from nine, the daughter of Batrim Bale and Wicked Witch clocked a flying 29.26 at Sandown two starts ago before finishing at the tail of the field in a heat of the Melbourne Cup.She has good early speed and looks the real deal.

Tiggerlong Await (7) faces a big step up in class but has won six from nine around the Victorian provincial circuits and has won one from one over the track and distance.

Ollie Bale (6) mixes his form but could easily feature if he brings his best on the night. The middle alley won’t help, but he is a Group One winner and should never be discounted.

Darcy’s Entity (3) has only missed a place in one of his 12 career starts thus far and he also shows pace once he hits the ground.

Sisco Rage (4) is a classy chaser but this is a big drop in distance from his recent starts.

Heat Four – 9:18pm (VIC time)



The fourth heat will see the return of Walk Hard (4) which has not been seen since September. He possesses freakish ability, having broken the track record at Warragul in January in a heat of the Cup which he won a week later. Box four won’t be much help as he takes a few strides to find top gear but being fresh might help him begin a little bit better. He doesn’t have much speed drawn around him, so that should help too.

Take Charge (1) should be able to go close to leading from the ideal draw while Allen Deed (5) is one of the fastest dogs in the country but will need everything to go his way from box five.

Heat Five – 9:41pm (VIC time)

Hekate Belle (2) is hit and miss at the beginning but if she gets the start right she should blow them away. The inside draw should help, despite the fact that her record from the two is only ordinary. She seems to do her best racing from odd numbers, whether this is a coincidence or the fact that she may need the extra time in the boxes to settle, I’m not sure, but she is definitely the one to beat. Two starts ago she scored a fast 29.29 win at Sandown over Chica Destacada before finishing third behind Star Recall in a Melbourne Cup heat. That is terrific form coming into this race and makes her hard to go past.

Mepunga Armagh (5) has done plenty of travelling lately and has performed solidly at the elite level. His form doesn’t look fantastic but when you consider the calibre of dogs he has been racing he comes right into calculations for this race.

Caustic Bale (4) has only had nine starts but has two BOD performances to his name at Geelong. He isn’t quick early, but with a clear passage he will make his presence felt.

Agent Jack (8) has a 29.27 win at Sandown to his name but he is another that doesn’t always begin well, while Hawk Alone (1) hasn’t won since June but is always thereabouts.

Heat Six – 9:58pm (VIC time)



The speed should come from the inside pair Dyna Nico (1) and Bills Back (2) which are both blessed with blistering early toe.

Bills Back has won his last three starts, all in best of day times, at Horsham, Warrnambool and Geelong and he has won 12 from 19 overall. He has run 25.64 in the past at the track and I think he can improve on that with a favourable draw.

Dyna Nico led but was run down at her last start at Sandown by Awesome Project. The step down to 450 metres should suit and if she can find the front she will go close to winning.

Marcus Joe (7) and Crackerjak Dak (8) have the class edge but neither can afford to give the inside pair too much of a start. Deadly Boy (4) and Quarrel Bale (3) both have claims and have recorded slick times throughout their careers but both are tardy early.

Heat Seven – 10:20pm (VIC time)

National Time (6) is a litter brother to Magic Diva which lines up in heat one and, like her, he is capable of some sizzling early sectionals. He has had a horror run with boxes throughout his 57 start career but has still managed 18 wins and 16 minor placings including six victories and one second wearing green. If he can reproduce his 25.16 performance here from three runs back he is clearly the one to beat.

Musquin Bale (1) mixes his distances but he can still sprint well, winning in 29.29 at Sandown last month. The inside draw should help.

Fleetwood Storm (7) is facing his biggest test to date but he looks to have a fair bit of ability. He can show pace and he should get a nice run into the race on the outside of National Time.

Nockabout Aussie (4) bounced back to his best with a 29.40 win at Sandown last Friday but he still didn’t step well on that occasion and, in a shorter race like this with plenty of early speed, I am prepared to risk him.

Heat Eight – 10:37pm (VIC time)

Blurred Lines (2) has been mixing it well against the top class and is better than his recent starts suggest. His last two runs have resulted in a seventh and eighth at Sandown but those performances were in a Prelude and heat of the Melbourne Cup respectively. In October he went straight to the front in a heat of the Adelaide Cup and returned the following week to run a terrific second behind Allen Deed in the final. He mixes his box manners but should get a good run from the two.

Innocent Til (6) is a superb greyhound and he will give this field a shake if he is at his best, but he hasn’t been seen since August which raises some concerns. Nonetheless, he is in astute hands with Jason Thompson who wouldn’t have him in unless he thought he was capable of winning. The son of Premier Fantasy and Proven Polly has won three from five over the trip and has a fast 25.11 to his name. Despite the awkward draw he must be respected.

El Grand Seal (1) is drawn to lead and should do so for most of the trip. She could pinch the race if she gets close to her 25.24 personal best.

Dyna Yemin (8) is unproven from out wide but he has been racing against some of the state’s best dogs in recent starts and can’t be left out.

The winner of each heat will progress through to next Wednesday’s $60,000 to the winner final.

The Best Track Winning Sequences

My esteemed colleague Bruce Teague, commenting on Dyna Villa’s sensational Melbourne Cup victory, noted how this took that greyhound’s record to eight successive victories at Sandown Park. An unbeaten record, and certainly an incredibly successful sequence.

Bruce asked the question, ‘Could there be any other dog which has done that at any one track? Miata, of course, at Cannington, but any others?’

That question shows yet again how poor our overall record keeping in the sport has been, at least in terms of finding out information via a centralized agency or a repository of knowledge and information.

As far as my own collection of information is concerned –and it is far from complete- I can let Bruce, and others who might be interested, know that Dyna Villa’s efforts arguably pale into insignificance alongside a number of other performances down through the years. Of course, very few of the following have culminated with a victory in the most prestigious/richest race in the country.

To the best of my knowledge, the best winning sequence on a single track belongs to Queensland sprinter Minnie Flyer who put together an amazing run of 30 in a row at Mackay between 1994 and 1995, with 29 of them over 310 metres and one over 431 metres.

Next on the list are Station Master, who won 21 successive races at Cairns in the 1980s, and Sophocles, who notched 21 straight at Mount Isa in the late 1980s.

Naturally enough, city-class circuits don’t see numbers like the above, but nonetheless, there are plenty of examples of long sequences.

The best I’m aware of belongs to Paradise Street who won his first 14 consecutive starts over 700 metres at Cannington between 1998 and 1999. That number was equalled by Miata in 2012-2013 over the 715 metres trip at Cannington.

Back in 1974, Queensland’s first champion, Top Simbi, won 13 on end over 558 metres at the Gabba, a feat later equalled down south in Victoria in 1980 when Striding Ahead won 13 straight over 511 metres at Olympic Park.

Champion stayer Arvo’s Junior won his first 13 starts over 715 metres at Sandown Park in 2003, thereby matching Striding Ahead’s Victorian city track record. So, Dyna Villa has a little way to go just yet.

Other notable achievements in sequences include Smooth Keith, who won 12 on end over 457 metres at Harold Park in 1977; the great Tenthill Doll who holds the Wentworth Park 520 metres record sequence, with 11 on end over 520 metres between 1995 and 1996.

Over the 720 metres distance at Wentworth Park, the record stands to the credit of Pearl Larricki, who won her first 10 on end between 2000 and 2001.

There are greyhounds who have remained undefeated on some courses, having put together decent sequences. Among these are Tempix, who was unbeaten in 10 starts over 424 metres at Warragul between 1978 and 1979; National Lee, who won nine on end over 732 metres at Harold Park, Roanokee, who was unbeaten in eight starts over 457 metres at Toowoomba; and Prince Of Tigers, undefeated in eight starts at Mandurah.

Finally, it was only two years ago, but how quickly we forget: the fabulously brief career of Fabregas, the 2012 National Sprint Championship winner, who is the equal of Dyna Villa, having raced eight times over 515 metres at Sandown, for eight wins.

2014 Group One Melbourne Cup Final Preview

The eagerly anticipated Group One Melbourne Cup is scheduled to jump at 9:24pm (VIC time) tonight at Sandown Park.

A whopping prize-money pool of $600,000 is available for place-getters. The winner receives $420,000, the runner up will receive $120,000 and third grabs hold of $60,000 – not too shabby for a 29 second run.

The Melbourne Cup was first conducted at Sandown Park in 1956. The race has come a long way since. In this year’s edition a number of story lines thread their way into the race.

If Keybow wins, he will break the Australian prize-money record and will make his trainer, Darren McDonald the first trainer to win four Melbourne Cups. If Above All wins he will become just the second greyhound from New Zealand to take out the great event. That feat was last achieved 40 years ago.

Recent winners of the Melbourne Cup include Black Magic Opal, Got A Moment, Dyna Tron, El Grand Senor, Lord Ducal, Surgeon, Betty’s Angel and Closing Argument.

We will soon know who the 2014 winner is. Here is a look at the form of each of the finalists;

Box 1
Race Odds
$3.10
Heat Replay
 
Keybow
Trainer
Darren McDonald
Owner
Kelvin Lean
Prizemoney
$343,635
Last 10 Starts
2414153611
35 Months   Black   Dog   by   Take The Kitty - Key Exit
Start Risky Running Rail Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $9,818 Rating 95
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
35 16 7 3
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
46% 74%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
8 3 1 2
       
Box 1 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
2 1 1 0
Kelvin Lean (Owner): “It is a good draw, it’s unbelievable. I think in these big races you have got to be on the inside and there is so much speed in this race that the inside is definitely the place to be.”

Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.36 29.36 5.05 5.11
Box 2
Race Odds
$4.80
Heat Replay
 
Chica Destacada
Trainer
Doreen Drynan
Owner
Dee and Pee Syndicate
Prizemoney
$145,655
Last 10 Starts
6311156821
29 Months   Black   Bitch   by   Cosmic Rumble - Eluthra
Start Good Running Middle Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $4,699 Rating 91
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
31 12 5 3
       
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
39% 65%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
2 1 1 0
       
Box 2 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
3 1 1 0
Doreen Drynan (Trainer): “It is the same box that she won the National Sprint from but she seems to go better when she is drawn out on the track a little bit. She seems to be able to pace up a lot quicker because she is inclined to step a bit to the right when she comes out of the boxes.”
Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.22 29.22 5.02 5.02
Box 3
Race Odds
$5.50
Heat Replay
 
Above All
Trainer
Robert Britton
Owner
Alison Lee
Prizemoney
$29,510
Last 10 Starts
1F14212111
27 Months   Black   Dog   by   Magic Sprite - Kara Janx
Start Risky Running Rail Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $2,951 Rating 94
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
10 6 2 0
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
60% 80%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
6 3 2 0
Box 3 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 1 0 0
Robert Britton (Trainer): “He doesn’t have the early pace that others have in this field. What he has shown me is that he is fearless in taking gaps, so hopefully he can get a soft early run into the first turn and take any gap that may be presented to him.”
Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.33 29.38 5.11 5.11
Box 4
Race Odds
$8.50
Heat Replay
 
Awesome Project
Trainer
Darren McDonald
Owner
Bradley Canty
Prizemoney
$297,690
Last 10 Starts
1711163131

43 Months

  Black   Dog   by   Collision - Honour Phase
Start Risky Running Rail Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $5,412 Rating 94
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
55 28 7 8
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
51% 78%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
13 8 3 2
Box 4 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
9 5 0 0
Bradley Canty (Owner): The draw is not good for him with the six, seven and eight all going to be crashing across from out wide with pace. He has speared the lids and come out running a couple of times like when he won the Harrison- Dawson and in a heat of the Brisbane Cup he came up two in front, but I think whatever dog leads that race will probably win.
Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.35 29.39 5.00 5.12
Box 5
Race Odds
$34.00
Heat Replay
 
Cosmic Wise
Trainer
Jeff Britton
Owner
Brona Lane Racing Syndicate
Prizemoney
$110,645
Last 10 Starts
4131115311
38 Months   Black   Bitch   by   Cosmic Chief - Wise Penny
Start Good Running Rail Finish

Strong

Prizemoney Rating $1,875 Rating 91
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
34% 64%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
19 6 2 1
Box 5 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
7 2 0 0

Justin Wright (Owner): “Box one helped her last week and I would imagine the track was a bit quicker than it normally is but we were still chuffed with how she went. It will be very different this week and I don’t think she has the pace to beat the other seven to the first corner. There is going to be a lot of early speed and she is a mad railer, she will look for the rails straight out of the boxes. I reckon her only hope is if she misses it a little bit and then goes straight to rail and if there is a little bit of trouble on the corner that she can rail up underneath. It is going to be tough but you have got to be in it to win it. She will give 100% and whatever happens, happens.”

Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.40 29.40 5.07 5.07
Box 6
Race Odds
$9.00
Heat Replay
 
Star Recall
Trainer
Jeffrey Britton
Owner
Kevin Dover
Prizemoney
$158,305
Last 10 Starts
1221111881
30 Months   Black   Bitch   by   High Earner - No Recall
Start Good Running Middle Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $4,166 Rating 95
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
38 21 7 4
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
55% 84%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
2 1 0 0
Box 6 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
7 4 2 1
Kevin Dover (Owner): “Hopefully she can ping the lids and get up with them near the lead going into the first turn. She is not a mad railer, she holds her line to the first turn, so that should help her too.”
Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.34 29.34 5.05 5.05
Box 7
Race Odds
$16.00
Heat Replay
 
Luca Neveelk
Trainer
Gerald Kleeven
Owner
Paul Kleeven
Prizemoney
$128,865
Last 10 Starts
1113111131
29 Months   Blue   Dog   by   Talk’s Cheap - It’s A Neveelk
Start Excellent Running Rail Finish Good
Prizemoney Rating $4,772 Rating 97
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
27 22 0 3
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
81% 93%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 1 0 0
Box 7 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
4 3 0 0

Gerald Kleeven (Trainer): “I reckon he can get across and I like him out there. It depends on what the pink (Dyna Villa) does but he (Luca Neveelk) is a pretty big dog so the pink shouldn’t push him out of the way. He just needs clear room in the first one or two strides and then he has got that massive early pace. Whatever gets out in front will win, there is no two ways about it, because you have got seven other dogs with equal ability behind you and they usually all look to go to the rails and they will be in a bunch. If you are lucky enough to get to the front I’d imagine you would be laughing.”

Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.42 29.42 5.00 5.00
Box 8
Race Odds
$6.50
Heat Replay
 
Dyna Villa
Trainer
Jenny Hunt
Owner
Brendan Wheeler
Prizemoney
$46,635
Last 10 Starts
4333181311
25 Months   Black   Dog   by   Collision - Roxio Bale
Start Good Running Middle Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $2,220 Rating 92
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
21 13 2 4
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
62% 86%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
7 7 0 0
Box 8 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
3 3 0 0
ARG Comment: Dyna Villa is unbeaten at the track and unbeaten from the box. He showed tremendous pace last week from box six to defeat My Bro Fabio by 1 1/4 lengths. He recorded his best time in the process. A repeat of the pace from last week will see him contesting the lead in the early stages. He has to be considered a big chance based on his form.
Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.21 29.21 5.00 5.00
1st Res
Race Odds
$26.00
Heart Replay
 
Cawbourne Whip
Trainer
Anthony Azzopardi
Owner
Jodie Lord
Prizemoney
$83,305
Last 10 Starts
1124634432
34 Months   Black & White   Bitch   by   Dyna Lachlan - American Spot
Start Moderate Running Rail Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $2,136 Rating 88
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
39 16 5 4
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
41% 64%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
3 0 1 2
Box 7 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
5 0 1 1
ARG Comment: Does not have the pace to match some of the speedsters in the final and will be well and truly at double figure odds if she gains a start.
Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
NBT 29.29

5.10

5.10
2nd Res
Race Odds
$4.60
Heat Replay
 
My Bro Fabio
Trainer
Brooke Ennis
Owner
Michelle Jones
Prizemoney
$202,075
Last 10 Starts
2111151112
31 Months   Black   Dog   by   Turanza Bale - Flamenco
Start Risky Running Rail Finish Strong
Prizemoney Rating $4,811 Rating 100
Career Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
42 21 9 3
Strike Rates
Win % Place %
50% 79%
Track & Dist.
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
13 5 2 3
Box 5 Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
7 2 3 0
ARG Comment: Will rocket right into contention if he gets a start. Although he is tardy at box-rise at times, he is a freakishly fast dog that is capable of anything.
Best Sandown Park Times
Best Last Sect. Best Sect. Last
29.09 29.29 5.15 5.24

Keybow (1) is currently the favourite from the prized rails alley. He just needs an ounce of luck early to stamp his authority on the race but there will be plenty of others in the field looking to challenge him.

Dyna Villa (8) is boxed out wide and possesses the best record of any dog in the race as he is unbeaten at the track and unbeaten from the draw. He is the fastest qualifier going into the final after stopping the clock at 29.21 in last week’s heats. His sections across the board were great and he will prove hard to beat if he repeats last week’s efforts.

Luca Neveelk (7) will be challenging for the lead early. He needs to be in front at the first turn to be any chance.

Awesome Project (4) has a mile of ability and seems to be flying under the radar a little due to the focus on his kennel mate. He came out last week to lead all the way and he is more than capable of doing that from box four.

Chica Destacada (2) was impressive last week and she is drawn to go well again. Her trainer has indicated that she may step right out of the boxes but she has the form from the box, winning the National Sprint earlier this year from the same draw.

The Kiwi’s will all be cheering for Above All (3). While he will need some luck in the early stages, he has made the final and certainly has a big future ahead of him as he has come into the race with just 10 starts under his belt.

Cosmic Wise (5) and Star Recall (6) both have Western Australian connections and will be aiming to give the West something to cheer for. The draws are not great for either chaser but, as with all the other chasers in this final, they are in with a chance.

It should be a great race so be sure to tune in or get trackside.

Above All, It’s All A Dream

Rangiora couple Alison Lee and Merv O’Brien have arrived in Melbourne to watch their 28 month old pride and joy, Above All, take his place in the final of the Group One Melbourne Cup at Sandown on Friday night.

Their excitement is palpable as they describe how they feel about getting a dog they have bred into the final of one of Australia’s biggest races.

“Amazing isn’t it.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s a dog we bred ourselves and it is just amazing really, it is kind of like a dream, actually it is a dream. When we first got into greyhounds it was a dream when we first came over to Australia to race a dog. To believe that this (Melbourne Cup) is actually happening, is amazing,” Lee said.

Above All’s mother Kara Janx was bred by Lee and O’Brien and was whelped in 2007. She faced the starter 34 times for seven wins and eight placings. She won all her races at Addington over the 520m distance.

Others in Above All’s litter include About Town, Eckles, Minnie Bannister and Neddy Seagoon. Not including Above All, the rest of the litter have won 14 races between them across the ditch in New Zealand.

Above All came to Australia with just two starts under his belt. His first start resulted in a win over 295m at Addington in June of this year. That win was then followed by a fall at his next start at the same track. He then popped up in Robert Britton’s kennels in and had his first start in Australia in September at Sandown, winning first-up in 29.33. He has gone on to record another three wins at Sandown (including the heat win last week) and one at The Meadows. That brings his career tally to six wins from 10 starts.

Robert Britton trained Clone Your Own for Lee and O’Brien so they had no hesitation sending Above All over.

Clone Your Own was a success winning a number of races in Victora and taking out the Group Two Harrison-Dawson in 2013. His mother, Elie Saab, is a litter sister to Kara Janx.

“It was a real easy decision to send the dog over, they are such nice people, really great and he is a lovely guy. So there were no second thoughts about sending him to Robbie,” Lee said.

Lee and O’Brien take their breeding choices seriously and plenty of thought was given to choosing Magic Sprite as a sire.

“I’m a great believer in the Waroo Lass line through National Lass and I just try and cram as much of that as I can if I’m in a position to. At the time I bought the straw, Magic Sprite was $880 and it’s a gamble you take on an unproven sire but you have to do what you think is best for the bitch and not what’s best for Merv and Ali. The selection comes first. We are in it for breeding we aren’t in it for our own personal “I like that dog”. You have to do what is best for her (Kara Janx) and I believed Magic Sprite was for her.

“Clone Your Own’s mum, we mated her to Magic Sprite as well because Kara Janx and Elie Saab are litter sisters and unfortunately she missed and she’s had big big litters previously. This was going to be her last litter. So the next one I was looking at was Oaks Road. It’s what suits our girls and that’s all that counts, that’s the most important thing,” O’Brien told ARG.

It has been 40 years since Kwik Metal, a chaser from New Zealand, won the Melbourne Cup. Above All will be looking to create history again on Friday night and it would be great to see it happen for his dedicated owners.

Rapid Journey’s Great Melbourne Cup Feat

It was the race that broke the ‘hoodoo’ for one of the greatest greyhounds to have ever raced over the sprint courses in Australia. The 1998 Melbourne Cup series and the Topgun, which in those days took place after the cup final, were the targets set by owner-trainer Jane Carruthers for her all-conquering champion Rapid Journey.

The sensational sprinter had recorded a stellar year with victories at Group One level in the Adelaide Cup, Golden Easter Egg, Perth Cup, and National Sprint Championship. Campaigning all over the country, Rapid Journey also won the Queensland Cup (Group Two), WA Interstate Challenge (Group Three), Penrith Cup, Jockey’s And Trainer’s Cup, Lismore Cup, and Orange Cup as well as running second in the Coca Cola Cup (Group Two), third in the Winter Stake (Group Two) and Bert Bryant Memorial, and fourth in the Premier’s Cup. The champion had set track records over 520 metres at Wentworth Park and 555 metres at Beenleigh and equalled the 530 metres time standard at Cannington.

If Rapid Journey (Amerigo Man x Miss Courtney) had a nemesis then its name was Victoria. He had not won in three starts in the southern state, failures that were a marked counterpoint to his incredible successes elsewhere.

So it was that on 19 November, Rapid Journey drew perfectly in box one for his heat of the Melbourne Cup and finally laid the hoodoo to rest with an easy victory, blitzing his field in 29.92, the fastest of the run-offs.

When the box draw was announced, the NSW champ came up with the six marble. With the Graeme Bate-trained pair of Shelton Bale (box 1) and Cerin Bale (box 4) as well as Star Of Mine (box 2) all boasting faster first sectionals than Rapid Journey, the general view was the NSW star was going to have his work cut out to be anywhere near the lead in the run to the first bend.

Rapid Journey had staged a remarkable last-to-first victory in the National Sprint Championship final in Perth, while coming from box six, but the Melbourne Cup field looked just that much stronger.

As it happened, come final night 26 November, Rapid Journey simply blew his rivals away, rocketing out of the boxes as if he was well aware of what was required and leading all the way to down Billy Cruise and Cerin Bale by three lengths and recording a fast 29.91 to collect the $100,000 first prize money.

The Melbourne Cup victory meant Rapid Journey had contested five Group One races in 1998 for five victories, a feat that has never been repeated. He had also raced five times in his career out of box six for five wins.

Box six was not successful again in a Melbourne Cup final until 2007, when Shanlyn Prince took the event and it had not won the race since Legendary Kid in 1986.

Two weeks later, Rapid Journey contested his last race, the Topgun. From box one he defeated champion West Australian sprinter Reggemite in what was then a Group Two event. The $70,000 from the win took his overall prize money to an amazing $530,995, making him the first Australian greyhound to pass half a million dollars. It meant he finished 1998 having raced 30 times for 23 wins, three seconds, two thirds and two fourths.

The Breeding Behind A Melbourne Cup Finalist

Let’s face it, we would all love to have a greyhound running in the Group One Melbourne Cup final on Friday night at Sandown. So what does it take to get a finalist into the coveted race?

A look behind the scenes at the breeding of each of the finalists reveals some interesting facts which may go some way to telling us what the right recipe is for getting a Group One finalist.

Keybow

Keybow is a 30.5kg male chaser by Take The Kitty and Key Exit. Key Exit was trained by Ken Cheetham and recorded seven wins from 22 starts. The wins were at places like Wentworth Park, Gosford, The Gardens and Maitland.

Key Exit is by Over Flo and Atlanta Belle. Atlanta Belle hails from the highly successful Matic-bred line. Her dam is Georgia Belle, who is found in the breeding of stud dog Hurricane Luke and other chasers such as Brother Knows (2006 Group 1 Derby winner), Persian Belle and Ironstein (2006 WA National Sprint Champion).

So, although Keybow is out of a moderately performed bitch, his dam-line has a good history of success.

Chica Destacada

It is really no surprise that Chica Destacada is a very hand chaser. The 26.5kg Cosmic Rumble bitch has the Group-performed Eluthra as her mother. Eluthra (Most Awesome – Buena Sarah) made the final of the Group One National Futurity in 2008. She was also the winner of the 2007 Group Two Wentworth Park Potential Stakes.

Eluthra’s previous litter to El Galo produced El Caballo, a finalist in the 2012 Group One Easter Egg and Ella Bonita, a finalist in the Group Three Ladies Bracelet.

Above All

The 32kg Kiwi-bred chaser has an Australian dad (Magic Sprite) and a mother that raced in New Zealand. Kara Janx had seven wins from 34 starts and is by Fashion Thief and More Than This. Fashion Thief is an Australian bred dog who qualified fastest for the Group One National Derby in 2004 and now stands in New Zealand. More Than This was a well-performed New Zealander, finishing third in the Auckland Oaks.

More Than This also features in the breeding of Clone Your Own. Clone Your Own, who is also owned by Above All’s connections, came to Australia to race under the tutelage of Robert Britton. He was highly successful, with the crowning glory a victory in the Group 2 Harrison-Dawson.

Awesome Project

Awesome Project’s dam, Honour Phase, was unraced but this mere fact has not stopped the 30kg Collision dog from being a success on the racetrack.

However, you don’t have to scratch the surface too much to see why his dam has been a success. Honour Phase is by Big Daddy a Cool and Hunter Tylo. Hunter Tylo is the mother of Group winner Oh Behave. Oh Behave has produced Group finalists such as Will You Behave and Maddison Dee.

So although it is a risk breeding from an unraced performer, Awesome Project proves that it can be done with success.

Cosmic Wise

Cosmic Wise is a strongly built 29kg bitch by Cosmic Chief and Wise Penny.

Wise Penny did much of her racing in Western Australia, winning nine from 48. Her worth as a brood lies in the fact that she is by Bombastic Shiraz and Awesome Berger. Awesome Berger is from a prolific line that has produced Group chasers the ilk of Bit Chili, Tifi, Did I Entertain, Double Twist, Smart Betsy, Smart Valentino and even Paua To Burn.

Star Recall

The 27kg Western Australian chaser Star Recall is by High Earner and No Recall. No Recall had 13 wins from 43 starts with the majority of those wins at Cannington. No Recall’s mother, Bradshaw Girl, was a very versatile chaser, winning from 410m through to 725m.

The mother of Bradshaw Girl, Glamourette, also features in the breeding of Cool Effort who won the Group 2 Shoot Out in 2007 and the Group 2 Geelong Cup.

Luca Neveelk

Luca Neveelk has had a flying start to his career. The blue 36kg chaser is by Talks’s Cheap and It’s A Neveelk. It’s A Neveelk won nine from 59 before being retired to the breeding barn. She is by Nitro Neveelk and Bigbad Leesa.

Bigbad Leesa did not do much on the track, having just the one start for no return. Bigbad Leesa is by Brett Lee and Lara Flynn and that is where we start to understand the success behind this line. Lara Flynn out of Mystery Bird, the 2002 Australian brood-bitch of the year and dam of Group 1 Easter Egg winner Cyrus The Virus. Mystery Bird is out of Dollar Bird, the matron of another Easter Egg winner, Stately Bird.

Dyna Villa

On the face if it, Dyna Villa is by Collision and Roxio Bale but when you dig down you find out that Dyna Villa is related to none other than the recently retired superstar Xylia Allen.

Roxio Bale is the sister of Xylia Allen’s mum, Tayah Bale (Droopy’s Vieri and Francesca Bale). Roxio Bale raced largely in South Australia, racking up 17 wins.

Roxio Bale has produced a Group performer in her previous litter to Meticulous. Allen Makoto finished second in the Group Two Silver Chief in 2013 and was a finalist in the 2013 Group Three SA Derby.

In conclusion, there’s a nice spread of sires in this year’s final with just Collison featuring twice. Clearly, a large amount of success for these chasers stems from the success of those in their dam-line. What the analysis of the breeding does show is that while having a well performed bitch feature in the first few generations is very handy, it isn’t always necessary as moderately performed chasers can also throw a Melbourne Cup finalist. In saying that though, the analysis demonstrates that it helps if these moderately performed chasers hail from successful dam-lines.

The Big One

Friday’s Melbourne Cup favourite Keybow is priced at $2.00 to $2.40 depending on where you look, mostly due to its box draw on the rails. On the night, the shorter of those is more likely due to the weight of visitors’ money.

Well, I suppose it can win the race but it would need to jump at least with them, and probably hold its position going around the corner. That is quite possible but there is no guarantee that will happen.

Luca Neveelk, Chica Destacada and Star Recall are more likely to be in front of Keybow in the run to the first turn, not certain, but likely. Had Keybow drawn the 8, as in its heat, it would be a better bet as it would then be free to motor up and try to run around them, as it did in its heat.

The most likely outcome is that Chica Destacada will work up inside Luca Neveelk and lead around the turn. The latter will be no help to Star Recall, boxed just inside it. Chica then offers terrific each way value at $7.00/$2.00 on Fixed Odds.

Remember only Chica and Dyna Villa have been able to get down to the 29.20 area, the others are all 29.30-plus dogs, including Keybow, and Chica tends to hang on to any lead it gets. Anyway, Dyna Villa faces a big task in trying to get around the several dogs in front of it.

It’s true that Chica has run a bit quicker from middle boxes but it still won the National Sprint Championship after leading from box 2.

But how will the Bold Trease final be run? That’s harder to know as they are backing up only seven days after their heat runs. Zipping Maggie and Space Star have proved risky in those circumstances, while Sweet It Is and Blinkers On (carrying an incorrect apostrophe) will be coming through the field. The other four are in a class below. The only sure thing I can find is that Sweet It Is will run 1st, 2nd or 3rd so at even money it is hardly a great bet.

Some Meadows History 

A reader’s comments on times for The Meadows 725m trip prompted us to have a closer look at what has been happening there. We mentioned that the average time run in the last 200 races was 42.94, as compared with Nellie Noodles’ record of 42.03. Of course, that average would have been influenced by some low-grade races won in slow times.

However, the time in question was a 42.58 run by Dyna Willow, which I somewhat harshly described as “ordinary”, partly because it occurred in the middle of a pretty poor part of its career and partly because it had been capable of a bit better. The point was that it was generally off its game during that period, perhaps due to injuries, perhaps due to extensive long distance racing.

Anyway, there is more.

Since 2005, we have uncovered 92 wins which bettered that 42.58 mark. These comprised 24% of the 511 races run. They involved 66 different dogs, so many were multi-winners, the most recent Amity Flame.  Here is a summary.

Year Number Better Best Run Greyhound

2005

5

42.34

Malfoy

2006

22

42.28

Sergeant Major

2007

10

42.09

Sky Hazzard

2008

8

42.28

Mantra Lad

2009

11

42.23

Oodles Rocks

2010

7

42.03

Nellie Noodles

2011

10

42.29

Bobby Boucheau

2012

6

42.34

Thrilling Brat

2013

10

42.31

Major League

2014

2

42.46

Zipping Rory (10 months only)

Miata’s best at the track was 42.37 in February 2012. Xylia Allen’s best occurred in July 2014 when it ran 42.47.

In passing, note that, on average, dogs will get around Sandown 715m 0.74 sec quicker than The Meadows 725m. Wentworth Park 720m is 0.45 sec quicker. Sandown is therefore the fastest tack at 17.1 m/sec, followed by Wentworth Park at 16.9 m/sec and The Meadows 16.8 m/sec. That’s all fairly logical as The Meadows has more sweeping turns, which tend to reduce speeds.

Note

Much care is needed in checking times at this track due to the significant number of handicap races being run. GRV formguides routinely show incorrected times, not just on formlines but also in the “Best” box. These are designated “H” but no actual handicaps are included.  A check of GRV individual dogs’ records will show these details but, once again, the times printed are not corrected for those handicaps, nor are the actual handicaps transferred to the formguide file.  Similarly, sectional times are misleading. The same problem occurs for many Horsham 570m races.

This deserves an editorial comment. That sort of failure to advise customers correctly about fundamental information is an illustration of a far too common attitude of racing authorities in punching out material which they personally think is fine, rather than first finding out what customers need. Fortunately, that practice is uncommon in Victoria but it is par for the course in NSW where the new Ozchase system covering three quarters of the nation is, in practical terms, unusable. For example, meeting results cannot be downloaded or even printed out. All you can do is look at them on screen, one race at a time.

We were better off 30 years ago when you could photocopy pages in a daily newspaper on the following morning.

Sadly, economic limitations have beaten us there, too, as deadlines and delivery barriers have stopped that happening as well. (There was a time when I subscribed to four daily newspapers for this purpose. I also had to spend two full mornings each week travelling to town and back just to obtain NSW and Victorian hard copy formguides. Today all that could be done in two or three minutes each day, providing someone made the stuff available. Such is progress!).

This Week In Racing History

November

19

A crowd estimated at 16,000 attended Harold Park in 1949, creating a new record for attendance at a greyhound meeting in Australia. They saw a dead-heat in one event and Pretty Secret equal the 800 yards (732 metres) track record of 43.7 in scoring her seventh win in 12 starts at the Glebe circuit.

Mixed Blessings won the 1979 final of the Olympic Park Distance Championship (732 metres) from Irish Haste and Midnight Hour. It was the first time the race, inaugurated in 1967, had been held in November. It was also the last time the event was run until 1984. The race is now known as the AWM Distance Title.

Toban Leah took out the 1994 City of Ipswich Gold Cup, run over 512 metres, defeating Diamond Rell and Lookout Max for trainer Dave Brett.

20

Nulla’s Idol caused a boilover when she downed champion stayer He’s Some Boy by two lengths in the final of the 1972 Spring Cup, run over 732 metres at Olympic Park.

High Climax won the 1975 Queensland Derby, run over 558 metres at the Gabba, scoring by five lengths from Cruisaway.

21

A greyhound track at Alfred Oval in Young opened in 1953 with sprint distances over 550 yards (503 metres).

Former Victorian stayer Sonic Wave established a track record 42.09 for the 720 metres trip on the new grass circuit at Wentworth Park when she won the 1987 Summer Cup. This was the first time the historic race had been run at Wentworth Park since the closure of Harold Park.

South Australian staying star Gem Supreme took out the 1992 Summer Cup (720 metres, Wentworth Park), defeating National Digger by half a head. This was the first Summer Cup contested on the new loam surface.

22

Reena’s Raider downed Alarmist Belle by six lengths to win the 1972 Farrell’s Dog Food Trophy, run over 617 metres at Bulli. Reena’s Raider, a greyhound which would often race two or three times a week, earned $750 for connections.

The 2003 running of the 520-metre Bull N Barley Cup at Wentworth Park saw All Display overcome box six to score by almost nine lengths and earn $8,000 for connections.

23

The inaugural Queensland Derby was run over 558 metres at the Gabba in 1972 and saw the Reg Smith trained Dixie’s First score by seven lengths from Native Glen and Soval.

National Lass made it four starts for four wins over 732 metres at Harold Park when she led all the way from box four to take out the 1985 Summer Cup at Harold Park, downing Statistician by four lengths in a fast 42.83.

Donovan Bailey set a new race record time of 42.96 in downing the Victorian pair Happy Reuben and Ebony Park Lass in the 1996 Summer Cup final at Wentworth Park.

A fire destroyed much of the steward’s accommodation and ground staff facilities at the Cannington track in 2001.

24

Champion stayer Pharaoh’s Mask set a new track record time of 43.09 for 732 metres at Olympic Park in 1986.

Exiting box seven, Hua took out the 1988 Melbourne Cup by two lengths from Disco Dishlicka and Indiana, running a new track record time of 30.01 for the 511 metres trip.

25

The Sandown greyhound track had its official opening in 1952. The Lightwood Road circuit had the largest turn of any course in the country.

Some Secret won the 2005 Paws of Thunder (520 metres, Wentworth Park) by just over five lengths, running 30.05 to equal the race record set the previous year by Stately Bird.

Thursday, 20 November 2014


Greyhound Box Draw For Hobart – Thursday, 20 November 2014

Race No. 1Brighton Veterinary Services Div…7:38 PM
JUV event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $2,010 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,410 2nd: $400 3rd: $200.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1EXPLOSIVE GASX361NBTKeith Nichols
2BRAD HILL BILLY252426.86Allan Clark
3POSH FIRE44326.54Anthony Bullock
4IMA MAYZEE-NBTBrendan Pursell
5AEROHOUND767127.27Anthony Bullock
6SWEET BEE BEE2626.73Rodney Bragg
7LOOPY LUCY42NBTButch Deverell
8TAYMEL MISCHIEF6345NBTIngrid Watkins
9BUCKLE UP SHARKY445526.69Gary Johnson
10JAKE KEEPING454726.88Susan Gittus
Race No. 2Best Friends Pet Resort Division…7:58 PM
JUV event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $2,010 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,410 2nd: $400 3rd: $200.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1GLAMOUR GAS312326.53Rodney Ransley
2PRINCE SOLO853327.21Ian Callinan
3BUCKLE UP SCOOT634826.79Gary Johnson
4NORDIC KNIGHT517727.35Paul Hili
5MY SIDE7126.94Rodney Bragg
6CHINA POWER873426.60Leon Brazendale
7POSH BOSS4NBTAnthony Bullock
8SIMPSONS BAY625126.53Anthony Bullock
9NEILINA6853NBTLeigh Alexander
10PREPOSSESSING484426.98Patrick Pearce
Race No. 3Wynfel Corgis Division38:22 PM
JUV event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $2,010 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,410 2nd: $400 3rd: $200.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1KNOX AND RATTLES83727.32Shane Stennings
2HELLO AY JAY-NBTMargaret Rossendell
3MACEY’S QUEEN6735NBTGary Johnson
4SENOR SCOOBY6351NBTButch Deverell
5WHODAT BINGLE3NBTGraeme Moate
6IZON MABEL-NBTBrendan Pursell
7PELICAN KEEPING141226.61Susan Gittus
8RAZ SIMPSON223426.44Anthony Bullock
9TRICKY JOMA768626.94Joan Nichols
10GROOVER GROOVER367727.29Leon Brazendale
Race No. 4Xten Construction Division18:41 PM
4/5 event over 340 metres at Hobart Of $2,030 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,420 2nd: $405 3rd: $205.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1LOVING LUCY157819.68Anthony Bullock
2JULIA FLY’S212419.72Anthony Bullock
3HURRICANE NELL834220.01Rachael Moate
4COCONUT GIRL732120.14Alison Walker
5GO MINNIE GO714120.37Patrick Pearce
6KENNY’S CRUISE2214NBTKenneth Mayne
7SCRUBBY NICHOLS311119.77Shane Whitney
8PRINCESS GEMINI213319.74Steven Hutt
9NOOEE’S LAD4273NBTButch Deverell
10DASHING DAN362519.50Patrick Pearce
Race No. 5Pet Meat Mart Division19:05 PM
4/5 event over 599 metres at Hobart Of $2,030 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,420 2nd: $405 3rd: $205.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1BAILEY’S COMET5258NBTButch Deverell
2PEDRO’S VINEYARD312334.78Allan Anderson
3HURRICANE SHELL831134.70Rachael Moate
4ALVIN BENZ564634.60Brian Crawford
5WYNBURN BLAZE142634.72Anthony Bullock
6MAURIE BABA253234.54Loretta Mcshane
7PINTO PRONTO723534.43Steven O’brien
8IT’S CRUNCH TIME473535.06Graeme Moate
9LOU JAMES3384NBTMargaret Rossendell
10PART TIME PETE355634.70Gary Johnson
Race No. 6Canine Breeding Solutions Divisi…9:25 PM
4 event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $2,080 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,455 2nd: $415 3rd: $210.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1CUT ‘EM DOWN386326.37Allan Anderson
2GEMSTONE JACK853226.25Anthony Bullock
3SALEGREYS CHATTA234226.52Andrea Mcconnon
4IMPRESSIVE LILY875426.60Leon Brazendale
5HELLYEAH EVAN342526.53Anthony Bullock
6MINNIE MOGUL772226.11Paul Hili
7OHANA256126.20Gary Johnson
8CHICKA SCOTT637326.10Richard Hall
9DIXIE LANE111726.26Paul Donaldson
10TAN TIKI136426.36Andrea Mcconnon
Race No. 7Welsh Corgi Club Of Tasmania Div…9:45 PM
INV event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $2,360 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,655 2nd: $470 3rd: $235.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1SHANLYN VAPOUR737426.24Graeme Moate
2HANNAH BODEN141826.33Gayelene Townsend
3JANDA212226.32Margaret Rossendell
4GREAT TAYLORS835626.24Anthony Bullock
5GOOD ODDS DEMON883526.35Shane Whitney
6KING NITRO562626.23Steven Hutt
7CLASS BARBIE232426.23Keith Nichols
8THAT WAS THEN316826.00Gayelene Townsend
9RED FANG522726.44Gary Johnson
10PROVEN FANTASY236226.21Paul Hili
Race No. 8Clarence Joint Therapy Division110:09 PM
5 event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $2,010 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,410 2nd: $400 3rd: $200.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1LASHING PHIL184726.52Allan Anderson
2RUNNING MONEY336526.41Ralph Townsend
3KILTY’S FLYER478226.60Brendon Browning
4THERMAL EXPANSE564226.64Kevin Mcconnon
5WHAT IT SHRINKS674226.67Anthony Bullock
6KHAL DROGO183426.38Alison Walker
7BRUTAL FORCE562626.33Shane Whitney
8PIONEER MOGUL618426.26Richard Hall
9CODE BLACK372726.36Butch Deverell
10DASHING ROMAN7427NBTPaul Hili
Race No. 9Dogtainers Hobart Division110:31 PM
M event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $1,650 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,155 2nd: $330 3rd: $165.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1BEEMO364226.59Susan Gittus
2SHOTGUN ANNIE274626.61Katrina Gregory
3SIR RIOLI343326.52Ralph Townsend
4CLASSIC INNINGS736228.70Gayelene Townsend
5MYRTLE’S TURTLE6NBTBrian Crawford
6BRONELLY MAGIC5255NBTAnthony Bullock
7PRINCE NITRO876726.39Steven Hutt
8BANK DETAILS726626.76Gayelene Townsend
9MAD JESS758126.83Thomas Johnson
10SEABROOKE345826.56Susan Gittus
Race No. 10Welsh Corgi National 2015 Divisi…10:50 PM
5 event over 461 metres at Hobart Of $2,010 Prizemoney.
1st: $1,410 2nd: $400 3rd: $200.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1NIGHT KEEPER654126.75Steven Hutt
2WYNBURN CHARM624326.45Anthony Bullock
3GLADIS GRICE243326.30Margaret Rossendell
4CAPTAIN LANE574726.58Brian Crawford
5LOCH ROMAN1811NBTPaul Hili
6ALL TERRIFIC874226.51Allan Anderson
7ROSE FERN413326.72Rachael Moate
8GOLDEN SAGE534226.41Butch Deverell
9SPEED OF RHINO365626.66Gary Johnson
10BIT HOT RUSTY255526.17Shane Whitney

Doreen Hoping For An Outstanding Night

Chica Destacada, whose name means ‘Outstanding Girl’ in Spanish, gave veteran trainer Doreen Drynan her first taste of glory at Group One level when she brilliantly claimed the National Sprint Championship at Cannington in August.

This Friday Chica Destacada will be aiming to add to that triumph when she exits box two, the same box which she used to score success in the National Sprint Championship, in the Group One Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park.

The NSW trained speedster was a phenomenal winner of her heat last Thursday. Exploding from box six, the bonny black bitch was too strong for the Anthony Azzopardi trained Cawbourne Whip, winning by just over one length in an airborne 29.22.

Drynan said she was expecting her kennel star to go well in the race, having run a great second in a Melbourne Cup Prelude the week prior, but was shocked to see her perform so dominantly.

“She didn’t trial too bad and then it was a good run when she raced there the week before, but it was a bit of a surprise that she got up for us on Thursday night. It was a very pleasant surprise though, I can tell you that!”, Doreen laughed.

Chica Destacada has been a wonderful performer for Drynan winning 12 of her 31 career starts, including seven triumphs at Wentworth Park, while she also made the final of the Group One Topgun at The Meadows last month.

Since finishing at the tail of the field in that event, Doreen has entrusted leading Victorian trainer Darren McDonald with looking after her pride and joy.

“I left her down there with Darren after the Topgun so she could have a trial at Sandown and a look at the track”, Doreen explained.

“He has done a top job with her. The advantage of sending her to Darren as well is that we more or less do the same thing in regards to the working of the greyhounds and feeding them, so there wasn’t a great deal of change for her as far as that is concerned.”

Doreen also expressed concerns that travelling around the country was starting to take its toll on Chica Destacada, providing another reason to leave her in the care of McDonald for the past few weeks.

“She has done a bit of traveling lately and I think that effects them.

“The Melbourne Cup is the biggest race in the entire greyhound industry so you have got to give her every chance you can to perform well.”

However, Doreen, who bred the daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Eluthra with her daughter Kerry, feels that she is not as well boxed in the two as some may think.

“It is the same box that she won the National Sprint from but she seems to go better when she is drawn out on the track a little bit.

“She seems to be able to pace up a lot quicker because she is inclined to step a bit to the right when she comes out of the boxes.”

As for who she rates as the biggest danger, Doreen concedes that it may be one of two that Darren McDonald has in the race himself.

“I think Keybow (Box 1) is going to be the hardest to beat because all the speed is drawn on the outside. With that being said it is hard to say and a lot of it is having luck into the run to the first turn.”

Doreen waited 48 years for her first Group One win but she may very well get her second within the space of three months if Chica Destacada puts her best paws forward on Friday.

At this stage, the thought of winning the sport’s highest honour still feels like a surreal concept for Drynan, who is already thankful for the excitement ‘Chica’ has given her.

“She has given us a lot of thrills and the biggest thrill is the fact that we bred her too, it makes it even more special.

“If I happened to win the Melbourne Cup I just hope I don’t have a heart attack! It would be the greatest thrill ever, I have been in greyhounds for that long.

“It was an absolutely great thrill when she won the National Sprint final at Cannington but to win the Melbourne Cup as well would just be awesome, I can’t even imagine what it would be like.”

Kleeven Hoping For A Birthday Bonanza

After training greyhounds for more than four decades, Gerry Kleevan has a one in eight chance of taking out the nation’s most coveted trophy, the Group One Melbourne Cup, at Sandown Park this Friday night.

Kleeven puts the polish on lid pinger Luca Neveelk, a winner of 22 races from just 27 starts, including this year’s Group Two Geelong Cup. The blue chaser was impressive in his heat performance last Thursday, in a race which saw him debut at Sandown, holding off a late challenge from Dream It to score in a fast 29.42.

Although tiring in the home straight, Kleeven feels that Luca Neveelk can only get stronger, with his heat win just his second start over 500 metres. At his first attempt over the 500, Luca Neveelk tired to finish third in the Group Three Silver Bullet at The Meadows behind Keybow, a fellow contender for the Melbourne Cup.

“I’ve kept him over the 400-460 metres because there has been good short course races on for him, like the Geelong Cup, so there was never a reason to go over the 500”, Kleeven explained.

“His brothers can run 500 quite easily so I can’t see why he shouldn’t. The Melbourne Cup and the Silver Bullet probably came on a bit too quick for me, but he has acquitted himself well so it doesn’t really matter. I think he will be a lot better for the heat run.

“I would be very surprised if he doesn’t get stronger. If you look at his early sections he is up there with the best of them and on Thursday it was only in the last ten yards that he got a bit tired.”

Luca Neveelk’s best trait is undoubtedly his blistering early speed. Despite being drawn out in box seven in Friday’s $420,000 to the winner feature, Kleeven thinks that he has enough early toe to put himself right into calculations.

“I reckon he can get across and I like him out there. It depends on what the pink (Dyna Villa) does but he (Luca Neveelk) is a pretty big dog so the pink shouldn’t push him out of the way. He just needs clear room in the first one or two strides and then he has got that massive early pace.

“Whatever gets out in front will win, there is no two ways about it, because you have got seven other dogs with equal ability behind you and they usually all look to go to the rails and they will be in a bunch. If you are lucky enough to get to the front I’d imagine you would be laughing.”

Kleeven says that Luca Neveelk, which ran a slick 5.00 to the first mark, still missed the kick a fraction in his heat. He knows that his charge will definitely have to be in front at the first turn this week to be in with a winning shot.

“On Thursday he didn’t begin as well as he normally does, probably because it was his first time there, but once he hit the ground away he went. It will be a different story on Friday night because he is running against seven others that are as good, if not better, than him.

“It’ll all come down to the start, if he can get in a good position up in the lead he will have the show.”

Gerry and his wife Rose bred Luca Neveelk, a son of Talk’s Cheap, from their handy racer It’s A Neveelk. Gerry said it is a huge thrill to have bred the dog himself and rates him as the best that he has trained.

“I’ve been in dogs for 40 odd years and I have always bred my own dogs. We have had a fair bit of success, we had Nitro Neveelk who made the final of the National Sprint in Victoria, and we have been very blessed with some of our dogs.

“It is a great feeling to breed them yourself because you have got to wait 18 months to find out if they are any good, we have been very lucky in that sense.

“I always thought Nitro Neveelk was the best. Classic Neveelk was another real good dog, but I think this bloke is a bit better.

“He is an ultimate professional and a joy to handle. His brothers are completely different, they jump around and carry on, but he doesn’t, he knows what he has to do and when the race is over he knows he has done the job.”

Knowing that Luca Neveelk always goes out and does his best, Gerry says that he never feels nervous handling his star sprinter.

“He is the first dog that I have never been nervous with. Other dogs you wonder what they are going to do but with him I am as calm as a cucumber, it’s a great feeling.”

It would be a terrific birthday present for Gerry and Rose if their blue powerhouse were to land the cash in the final.

It was Rose’s birthday last Thursday, the night Luca Neveelk won his heat and earned himself a ticket into the Melbourne Cup final, and it will be Gerry’s birthday this Friday, the night that their dynamic greyhound chases nearly half a million dollars in prize money.

Win, lose or draw, being a part of the prestigious event is present enough for the Kleevens who are feeling thankful for the amazing journey that Luca Neveelk has already taken them on.

“It would be absolutely colossal to win it but it is just a really nice feeling, for the dog and the breed, to be in it.

“Hopefully he can get a bit of luck and be good enough to do it. If not, so be it.

“It wont be the end of the world. He has given us a terrific ride along the way, it has just been unbelievable.”

Sandown Park Greyhounds Tips & Betting Preview November 13th 2014

Huge night of greyhound racing tonight at Sandown with heats of the Melbourne Cup and Bold Trease taking place. Be sure to check out our free bets page for our list of exclusive bonus bets!

Best Bet:
Race 11: Marcus Joe

Best Value:
Race 3: Double Rinse

Quaddie:
Leg 1: 1,2,3,6,8 – Leg 2: 8 – Leg 3: 2,3 – Leg 4: 1,5,6,7,8 – $50 for 100%

Race No. 1Tab Melbourne Cup Ht17:04 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 515 metres at Sandown park Of $17,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $12,000 2nd: $3,500 3rd: $1,750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1HUMPHREY BALE (NSW)[4]7441429.48(1)A Dailly (Anakie)
2KISS ME KETUT [2]7581129.46(6)D Burnett (Marcus Hill)
3CREATIVE KARISMA [3]1115329.34(3)K Podmore (Wagga Wagga)
4OAKVALE DESTINY (SA)[3]3132229.67(7)J Britton (Anakie)
5ABOVE ALL (NZ)[4]2121129.33(3)R Britton (Lara)
6TOP SECRET [4]1221729.72(3)K Bravo (Lovely Banks)
7CAMPASPE WILL [5]1646729.44(8)N Walls (Melton)
8LUCY LOBSTER (NSW)[5]31111FSHC Lamb (Swan Bay)
9BALLERINO [5]Res.41161NBTJ Borg (Maryborough)
10WESTON EAST (NSW)[4]Res.2121429.36(2)A Langton (Anakie)

Tough race to kick off the cup heats but I think Campaspe Will can get the job done from his favourable wide draw. He was desperately unlucky here last time and if he can step like he did last week he should be able to settle in a winning position. Kiss Me Ketut has returned to form in recent weeks and he is aiming for a hat trick of wins. If he pings the lids he should give them something to catch. Oakvale Destiny ran a bottler in the Shootout here last week and if she finds the rail early she should be able to make some sort of impact. Above All is a flying machine and is obviously going to be well supported but he is poorly drawn tonight and a big risk.

Top Four: 7 – 2 – 4 – 6

Suggested Bets:

Boxed Quinella: 2,4,6,7 ($6 for 100%)

Exacta: 2,4,7/2,4,6,7 ($9 for 100%)

Trifecta: 7/2,4,6/Field ($18 for 100%)

Trifecta: 2,4,7/2,4,6,7/2,3,4,5,6,7 ($36 for 100%)

Race No. 2Tab Melbourne Cup Ht27:25 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 515 metres at Sandown park Of $17,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $12,000 2nd: $3,500 3rd: $1,750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1HOSTILE (QLD)[2]5322129.28(8)D Beasley (Footscray West)
2ALL STRUNG OUT [5]3326229.90(5)G Rounds (Devon Meadows)
3AWESOME PROJECT (NSW)[1]1631329.35(4)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
4DYNA YEMEN (NSW)[3]1263129.35(3)A Dailly (Anakie)
5RITZA HATTIE (NSW)[4]1321529.37(2)M Gatt (Thirlmere)
6MEPUNGA ARMAGH [2]3721129.34(1)J Britton (Anakie)
7WIND WHISTLER [5]6453329.49(8)A Langton (Anakie)
8SECRET SPELL [4]1211129.26(8)K Bravo (Lovely Banks)
9ZIPPING WESTON (NSW)[5]Res.62611NBTA Azzopardi (Londonderry)
10AZZA AZZA AZZA [4]Res.1241629.37(3)W Vassallo (Devon Meadows)

Another tough race but it’s hard to look past the well drawn Hostile. Last week he stepped cleanly and reeled off ridiculous sectionals before posting a 29.28 victory. From the red he should have enough speed to hold them out and if he does it should be all over. Ritza Hattie is all class and she can ping the lids in her races. She has a sizzling 29.37 PB here and if she happens to find the bunny early she will give a great sight. Dyna Yemen is the real deal and he looked ultra impressive when posting a commanding 29.35 win here last week. If he can get away on terms he should be in the mix at the business end. Awesome Project is always a chance in this type of company and he must be respected, whilst the exciting Secret Spell will be short odds but I think she is a risk from the wide draw.

Top Four: 1 – 5 – 4 – 3

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Hostile

Exacta: 1,4,5/1,3,4,5 ($9 for 100%)

Quinella: 1 to rove with 3,4,5 ($3 for 100%)

Trifecta: 1/3,4,5/Field ($18 for 100%)

Race No. 3Solo Bold Trease Ht17:43 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 715 metres at Sandown park Of $11,750 Prizemoney.
1st: $8,000 2nd: $2,500 3rd: $1,250.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1MIMICKING (NSW)[5]5235342.15(8)R Britton (Lara)
2REAP THE BENEFIT [5]21225NBTM Chilcott (Heathcote)
3MEPUNGA TIARA [3]7664641.95(8)J Britton (Anakie)
4COULTA ROCK [5]34125FSTDD Curtain (Longwarry)
5DOUBLE RINSE (NSW)[5]35242NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
6BIG KAT [4]2137242.13(3)C Schlensog (Anakie)
7SHALL SHE ROCK [2]1313341.90(5)D Crawford (Pearcedale)
8GALLOPING ROCKY [5]4234442.54(4)R Conway (Bunyip)
9HEAPS OF ABILITY [5]Res.2518641.69(7)C Schlensog (Anakie)
10DU PLESSIS (NSW)[5]Res.76417NBTA Dailly (Anakie)

Double Rinse turned in a monster performance when placed behind Blinker’s On last time out at The Meadows and a repeat of that effort would see her just about lead all the way tonight. She is yet to feature in her three tries here but she has improve a lot of late and I expect a big performance tonight. Shall She Rock has the class edge and she has won three of seven here, she normally begins well and if she finds the bunny early she will prove extremely hard to reel in. Big Kat is never far away in these types of races and her effort behind Shall She Rock here three runs back was far from disgraceful. Mepunga Tiara rounds out the chances, she is much better than her recent efforts indicate and she should be suited by the rise in distance.

Top Four: 5 – 7 – 6 – 3

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Double Rinse

Quinella: 5 to rove with 3,6,7 ($3 for 100%)

Exacta: 5,7/3,5,6,7 ($6 for 100%)

Trifecta: 5/3,6,7/Field ($18 for 100%)

Trifecta: 5,7/5,7/Field ($12 for 100%)

Race No. 4Solo Bold Trease Ht28:08 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 715 metres at Sandown park Of $11,750 Prizemoney.
1st: $8,000 2nd: $2,500 3rd: $1,250.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1FLYING TWIST [3]1124441.80(6)A Dailly (Anakie)
2SWEET IT IS [1]2211141.46(3)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
3BAILEY ROSE (NSW)[5]23262NBTE Lieshout (Drouin West)
4MANILA EXPRESS [5]12141FSHC Abbott (Edenhope)
5JUST DUCAL [4]1615542.03(1)J Roberts (Devon Meadows)
6SPACE STAR (NSW)[5]31532FSHR Britton (Lara)
7LOVE AFFAIR (NSW)[5]73337NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
8PUMPED UP ZARR (NSW)[4]1651142.60(8)N Staines (Yass)
9HEAPS OF ABILITY [5]Res.2518641.69(7)C Schlensog (Anakie)
10DU PLESSIS (NSW)[5]Res.76417NBTA Dailly (Anakie)

Space Star has recently joined the powerful Robert Britton kennel and this superstar in the making should make a good impression in his Sandown Park debut. He is suitably drawn out wide and he is armed with a dazzling turn of foot soon after box rise. He has won 11 of 19 starts to date and in most of those wins he has run the hands off the clock. Sweet It Is has the class edge and she set the track alight with a 41.46 win here last time, she is going to give Space Star a bit of a head start but she is too good to dismiss. Flying Twist has the good draw and she should land on the bunny early, she races much better when in the lead so she should give a nice sight at odds. Bailey Rose could be the value, she has been placed in five of seven here and she could be a nice place bet again.

Top Four: 6 – 2 – 1 – 3

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Space Star

Exacta: 2,6/1,2,3,6 ($6 for 100%)

Trifecta: 6/1,2,3/Field ($18 for 100%)

Trifecta: 2,6/2,6/Field ($12 for 100%)

Race No. 5Tab Melbourne Cup Ht38:31 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 515 metres at Sandown park Of $17,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $12,000 2nd: $3,500 3rd: $1,750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1BANJO BOY [1]2331129.34(8)K Virtue (Tooradin)
2CAWBOURNE WHIP (NSW)[5]63443NBTA Azzopardi (Londonderry)
3CLASH OF KINGS (QLD)[5]21325NBTS Whyte (Bunyip)
4WARRIOR KING (NSW)[4]5727129.25(1)B Ennis (Lara)
5BUCKLE UP MASON (TAS)[2]3236529.26(5)J Hunt (Lara)
6CHICA DESTACADA (NSW)[5]15682NBTD Drynan (Llandilo)
7KERRIGAN BALE (NSW)[4]4125129.48(7)A Dailly (Anakie)
8MEPUNGA HAYLEY [2]2545729.29(5)J Britton (Anakie)
9DYNA NICO (NSW)[4]Res.1235229.62(1)A Dailly (Anakie)
10CORNELIUS FUDGE [5]Res.8452629.30(8)L Cockerell (Buckley)

Very open affair and I’m going with the well drawn Mepunga Hayley. Her recent form isn’t flashy but she hasn’t experienced a lot of luck in recent times and from the pink she should get a clear run early and clear shot at them as they head into the first turn. S he has an enormous engine and if she gets through the first bend she will take a power of beating. Clash Of Kings should have beaten Above All here two runs back and he is well placed near the inside. His box manners aren’t great but he does muster pace at a rate of knots, if he is given a clear run in the first 30m he should settle in the top two early and he will give a great sight. Banjo Boy has been under an injury cloud of late but if he is sound he is obviously a great chance, he will need to lead to win but from the red he should get every chance. Cawbourne Whip is the value, she stormed home here last week and she will be much better for that run.

Top Four: 8 – 3 – 1 – 2

Suggested Bets:

Win bets on Mepunga Hayley and Clash Of Kings

Boxed Quinella: 1,2,3,8 ($6 for 100%)

Exacta: 1,3,8/1,2,3,8 ($9 for 100%)

Race No. 6Tab Melbourne Cup Ht48:52 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 515 metres at Sandown park Of $17,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $12,000 2nd: $3,500 3rd: $1,750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1TAKE CHARGE [3]6261229.52(2)S Mckenna (Napoleons)
2BLURRED LINES [3]2122829.68(8)K Bravo (Lovely Banks)
3CRACKERJACK DAK [1]8261129.43(6)A Dailly (Anakie)
4OAKVALE FLYER (SA)[3]1443229.48(7)J Britton (Anakie)
5CRAWF’S BREAD [1]8221729.37(5)D Crawford (Pearcedale)
6IVA VISION (QLD)[3]1121129.27(3)P Young (Morayfield)
7GORHAM BALE (NSW)[4]1143329.42(5)S Collins (Lara)
8KEYBOW (NSW)[4]1536129.36(2)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
9BECKENBAUER (SA)[4]Res.3111429.51(3)D Pattinson (Pearcedale)
10HAILSTORM BILLY (NSW)[5]Res.6374329.35(2)A Langton (Anakie)

Keybow returned to his best at The Meadows last time when posting a blistering 29.72 win and a similar effort tonight will see him win again. He can sometimes be a little slow to begin but with a slow beginner drawn directly underneath he should be afforded a clearer run into the first bend even if he does miss away. Iva Vision captured the Shootout here last week and he should prove hard to hold out again, he is poorly drawn tonight but he is going too well at present and he is capable of overcoming some difficulties in running. Take Charge is drawn to hold them out at the first bend and he caught the eye with a speedy 30.00 Meadows win two runs back, his last 30m is always a struggle but if he holds them out early he should set up a nice lead mid race. Crackerjack Dak is back in form and he has won five of six here, he must cross and lead to win so maybe place claims look best tonight.

Top Four: 8 – 6 – 1 – 3

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Keybow

Exacta: 1,6,8/1,3,6,8 ($9 for 100%)

Quinella: 8 to rove with 1,3,6 ($3 for 100%)

Trifecta: 8/1,3,6/Field ($18 for 100%)

Race No. 7Tab Melbourne Cup Ht59:12 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 515 metres at Sandown park Of $17,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $12,000 2nd: $3,500 3rd: $1,750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1PELOTON BALE (NSW)[3]4327229.68(2)J Hunt (Lara)
2STAR RECALL (WA)[5]11188NBTJ Britton (Anakie)
3ALLEN DEED (NSW)[3]6215429.31(8)A Dailly (Anakie)
4TIGGERLONG AMIGO (NSW)[5]1822429.52(4)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
5HEKATE BELLE [3]6161129.29(1)K Bravo (Lovely Banks)
6OSCURA (QLD)[3]1312429.52(3)B Ennis (Lara)
7NOCKABOUT AUSSIE [5]1345629.81(3)P Akathiotis (Reservoir)
8WE ARE GEELONG [3]1147529.62(2)M Karamatic (Lara)
9DYNA ALCHEMIST (NSW)[4]Res.2145529.44(1)S Collins (Lara)
10VEYRON BALE (NSW)[5]Res.3523529.57(3)A Dailly (Anakie)

Star Recall was never out of trouble here last week and she should show immense improvement. Prior to coming to Victoria she had posted two sub 30 second wins at Cannington and if she can reproduce that form she should be running around the 29.10 mark on the bunny here. Allen Deed is a freak and he should have won the Shootout last week, if he can get through the first bend tonight he will prove extremely hard to hold out. Peloton Bale has the good draw and he should get all the breaks as they head into the first bend, if the two favourites happen to make some mistakes he should be there to pounce. Oscura and Nockabout Aussie are the two run on dogs in the event, they are great place prospects and it could be worth anchoring them for third and fourth in the exotics.

Top Four: 2 – 3 – 1 – 7

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Star Recall

Trifecta: 2,3/2,3/Field ($12 for 100%)

Exacta: 2,3/1,2,3,7 ($6 for 100%)

Quinella: 2 to rove with 1,3,7 ($3 for 100%)

Race No. 8Tab Melbourne Cup Ht69:35 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 515 metres at Sandown park Of $17,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $12,000 2nd: $3,500 3rd: $1,750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1BESSY BOO (NSW)[5]43132FSHC Proctor (Londonderry)
2SHOULDERS (NSW)[5]86218NBTA Azzopardi (Londonderry)
3TEXAS TITAN (SA)[5]1422829.57(7)J Britton (Anakie)
4SUMMER WAGES [5]2147229.50(2)W Bickerton (Cranbourne South)
5SUPERFONIC (QLD)[4]8131329.40(4)S Whyte (Bunyip)
6DYNA VILLA (NSW)[2]1813129.46(2)J Hunt (Lara)
7MY BRO FABIO (NSW)[1]1511129.09(8)B Ennis (Lara)
8LAMIA BALE (NSW)[5]2572229.54(2)S Collins (Lara)
9PAPPA GALLO [5]Res.3243129.45(5)M Cortese (Hampton Park)
10ALLEN ERYK (NSW)[3]Res.P742729.43(3)A Dailly (Anakie)

My Bro Fabio is flying and with any sort of luck he should win. His two efforts to win at The Meadows over 600m of late have been massive and prior to that he turned in a strong effort to win here in 29.23. He is capable of just about anything and as long as he gets through the first turn he will prove very hard to hold out. Dyna Villa is unbeaten here in six tries and if he steps cleanly he should give the favourite something to catch. Lamia Bale has been racing well here of late and she deserves a change of luck, it’s a tough ask from the pink draw but she may give a sight at odds. Bessy Boo is a gun NSW speedster and he will improve on his steady trial effort here last week, if he goes around at silly odds he might be worth an each way ticket.

Top Four: 7 – 6 – 8 – 1

Suggested Bets:

Trifecta: 7/1,6,8/Field ($18 for 100%)

Exacta: 6,7,8/1,6,7,8 ($9 for 100%)

Quinella: 7 to rove with 1,6,8 ($3 for 100%)

Race No. 9Solo Bold Trease Ht39:55 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 715 metres at Sandown park Of $11,750 Prizemoney.
1st: $8,000 2nd: $2,500 3rd: $1,250.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1LADY TOY [3]2655342.19(5)N Gost (Little River)
2ZIPPING MAGGIE (NSW)[3]4326441.85(2)P Dapiran (Northwood)
3DYNA KAYLA (NSW)[4]1421742.11(6)A Dailly (Anakie)
4IMA FAIRYTALE [4]2261541.98(3)S Cachia (Anakie)
5SISCO RAGE [5]1111441.96(1)J Galea (Lara)
6BEKS [5]32524NBTP Bouchier (Dennington)
7JULIE BALE (NSW)[4]3351242.31(6)S Collins (Lara)
8ACOLA ROSEBUD (NSW)[5]44611FSTDT Noy (New Gisborne)
9HEAPS OF ABILITY [5]Res.2518641.69(7)C Schlensog (Anakie)
10DU PLESSIS (NSW)[5]Res.76417NBTA Dailly (Anakie)

Zipping Maggie has been a little unlucky but also disappointing of late but she looks suited in this event. She normally begins well and with a good getaway tonight she should be able to lead from go to whoa. Dyna Kayla is resuming from a short spell and she trialled well here recently over 515m. Being fresh, she should be able to settle in the top two early and she should be thereabouts at the end. Lady Toy is a strong finisher and she is never far away over this journey, from the red she should settle a little closer than normal and a big performance is expected. Sisco Rage is airborne and he should put some pressure on early, his last 50m is a worry but he is still a strong chance.

Top Four: 2 – 3 – 1 – 5

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Zipping Maggie

Exacta: 2,3/1,2,3,5 ($6 for 100%)

Quinella: 2 to rove with 1,3,5 ($3 for 100%)

Trifecta: 2,3/2,3/Field ($12 for 100%)

Trifecta: 2/1,3,5/Field ($18 for 100%)

Race No. 10Solo Bold Trease Ht410:15 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 715 metres at Sandown park Of $11,750 Prizemoney.
1st: $8,000 2nd: $2,500 3rd: $1,250.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1ZIPPING JOE (NSW)[3]6556642.14(8)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
2MYSTIC TWIST [5]73737NBTM Cauchi (St Leonards)
3BORN ALI [5]3253841.97(3)R Britton (Lara)
4STARC (NSW)[4]3422542.10(4)A Dailly (Anakie)
5SHOT TO BITS [4]4154141.87(1)P Ryder (Corio)
6BECCI LEONE [5]53326NBTM Chilcott (Heathcote)
7ZIPPING RORY (NSW)[3]1572141.67(4)B Dapiran (Northwood)
8BLINKER’S ON [3]2111141.71(7)B Ennis (Lara)
9HEAPS OF ABILITY [5]Res.2518641.69(7)C Schlensog (Anakie)
10DU PLESSIS (NSW)[5]Res.76417NBTA Dailly (Anakie)

Zipping Rory is a tad hit or miss early but when he does bounce on the bunny he is capable of running ridiculous times. Las time out at The Meadows he landed on the lure and scored a commanding victory in a scorching 42.46. This race is a bit stronger but if he finds the early lead he will take a power of beating. Blinker’s On can find trouble in his races but he is super talented when given clear running. He is aiming for five in a row and with an ounce of luck early he will be right in the finish. Shot To Bits hit the line strongly when scoring here last time in 41.87 and if he can settle in the top four he should make an impact again, he is a star stayer in the making but he is still learning the trade.

Top Four: 7 – 8 – 5 – 2

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Zipping Rory

Exacta: 7,8/2,5,7,8 ($6 for 100%)

Trifecta: 5,7,8/5,7,8/1,4,5,7,8 ($18 for 100%)

Race No. 11Tab Melbourne Cup Ht710:34 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 515 metres at Sandown park Of $17,250 Prizemoney.
1st: $12,000 2nd: $3,500 3rd: $1,750.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1MARCUS JOE [1]3224229.24(4)B Moloney (Marcus Hill)
2LUCA NEVEELK [5]11113FSHG Kleeven (Denison)
3WEBLEC BELLE (SA)[4]3141229.71(1)J Britton (Anakie)
4DREAM IT [3]4245129.23(8)B Ennis (Lara)
5HAWK ALONE [1]2323229.38(2)A Dailly (Anakie)
6DYNA OSTRANDER (NSW)[3]3337329.56(2)J Hunt (Lara)
7KILTAH MAGIC (QLD)[3]1465429.35(4)K Bravo (Lovely Banks)
8OLLIE BALE (NSW)[3]3751129.32(4)A Dailly (Anakie)
9ACCOMPLISHED [5]Res.44273NBTP Presutto (Devon Meadows)
10COSMIC ANGEL (NSW)[5]Res.81256NBTA Azzopardi (Londonderry)

Marcus Joe has the gun draw and he is all class. Last time out at The Meadows he was runner up in the Silver Bullet and he reeled in Luca Neveelk in the closing stages of that event. From the red tonight he should settle just behind Luca Neveelk or with a good getaway he could have enough pace to hold him out and he is always strong in the run to the line. Luca Neveelk is flying and he has blistering early speed. He is making his race debut here but I’m sure he would have had a few trials previously. Dream It returned to his best with a scorching 29.23 win here last week and he must be respected again.

Top Four: 1 – 2 – 4 – 6

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on Marcus Joe

Exacta: 1,2/1,2,4,6 ($6 for 100%)

Trifecta: 1/2,4,6/Field ($18 for 100%)

Trifecta: 1,2/1,2/Field ($12 for 100%)

Race 12 – Melbourne Cup Heat 8 – 10.54PM

National Time is a classy speedster and if he reproduces his 25.16 winning effort from Ballarat two runs back he will prove very hard to reel in. His last 40m is a concern but I’m expecting him to set up a big lead mid race. Buckle Up Wes recently won the Group One Topgun recently and if he gets away cleanly he should get the cash, my concern with him is that he is yet to feature in his two tries here. Cosmic Wise has the good draw and she has the ability to lead or come from off the speed.

Top Four: 5 – 7 – 1 – 6

Suggested Bets:

Win bet on National Time

Exacta: 5,7/1,5,6,7 ($6 for 100%)

Trifecta: 5,7/5,7/Field ($12 for 100%)

Quinella: 5 to rove with 1,6,7 ($3 for 100%)

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