As Australia’s richest invite-only greyhound race, the Group 1 Topgun is one of the most coveted trophies on the group racing calendar and since it’s inception in 1993 it has been won by some of the greatest athletes our sport has seen.
The 2014 edition has been rocked by withdrawals before the final field was decided. Golden Easter Egg winner Tonk declined his invitation as did Hawk Alone.
NSW representatives Evil Punk and Tommy Brislane were also ruled out of the race with Evil Punk’s career now over after breaking a leg, while Tommy Brislane won’t be seen again in 2014 after chipping a bone in a trial last Friday.
It was also bad news for South Australia’s sole invitee Ernie Bung Arrow. While trainer Ken Gill declined the invitation soon after they were released, the son of Lochinvar Marlow and Slipper’s Tonic later sustained an injury to his bicep and will now head to stud.
Things weren’t much better for the chasers from the West with On Coin, Zelemar Fever, Star Recall and Te Amo all bowing out before the field was decided.
Despite so many connections declining their invitations, the 2014 running will still see eight fantastic greyhounds vying for group one glory and the $150,000 winner’s cheque.
With the field and box draw being announced earlier tonight, lets take a look at the contenders…
ALLEN DEED-The son of Jarvis Bale and Greta Bale has always shown a stack of ability and boasts 18 wins and 11 minors from 41 starts. He showed everyone just how classy he really is in September when winning at Wentworth Park in a slashing 29.43 before heading to Angle Park where he recently took out the Group 1 Adelaide Cup. With such terrific form over the past couple of months it would have been hard to deny this fellow a start.
AWESOME PROJECT- While he is yet to taste success at the highest level, Awesome Project has continued to race competitively against the best in the land. A winner of the Group 2 Gosford Cup and the Group 2 Harrison-Dawson, he deserves his start in this feature and another crack at a big one. He has excelled since joining Darren McDonald’s kennel and boasts a remarkable 26 wins from 50 starts.
BUCKLE UP WES- The pride of Tasmania will be looking for his second Group 1 victory at The Meadows after taking out the Australian Cup earlier this year. Trained by Ted Medhurst, Buckle Up Wes hasn’t been seen since winning the final of the Tasmanian Sprint Championship, having been scratched from the National final due to injury. He is sure to be primed for this and will definitely make his presence felt.
CHICA DESTACADA- There isn’t much of her but she can definitely run and she proved she can mix it with the best of them when taking out the National Sprint Championship at Cannington in August. At her next start she finished midfield in the Group 1 Dapto Megastar behind Tommy Brislane before another luckless finish in a heat of the Bob Payne at her only other race appearance since.
FLASH REALITY- Trained by champion mentor Tony Brett, Flash Reality is a two time Group winner. In 2014 he has taken out Group 2 Queensland Derby and the Group 1 Winter Carnival Cup at Albion Park. He also qualified for the National Sprint Championship and finished third in the Group 1 Dapto Megastar. He will have the entire Sunshine State behind him on October 25.
KEYBOW- The son of Take The Kitty and Key Exit gives Darren McDonald two in the Topgun field. A winner of 14 of his 32 starts, he took out the Group 1 Perth Cup in February and finished second in the Australian and Cranbourne Cups respectively.
OAKVALE DESTINY- The Victorian bitch has been a model of consistency for her in-form trainer Jeff Britton, taking out the Group 1 Sapphire Crown and the Group 3 SA Oaks. At her most recent start she finished a strong third in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup behind fellow Topgun finalist Allen Deed.
ZIPPING WILLOW- The star NSW bitch has been in terrific form in the past few months- winning 14 of her past 18 starts. She was off the scene for around a month after a disappointing seventh in the Dapto Megastar before resuming last Friday in a 400 at the Gardens with a second placing. Jason Mackay is sure to have her back to peak fitness in time for the big one and with her dazzling early pace she will be one of the main chances.
The box draw for the Group 1 Topgun is as follows:
Box One – Chica Destacada – Doreen Drynan
Box Two – Keybow – Darren McDonald
Box Three – Oakvale Destiny – Jeff Britton
Box Four – Flash Reality – Tony Brett
Box Five – Buckle Up Wes – Ted Medhurst
Box Six – Awesome Project – Darren McDonald
Box Seven – Allen Deed – Andrea Daily
Box Eight – Zipping Willow – Jason Mackay
First Res: Mepunga Hayley
Second Res: My Bro Fabio
The final will be run at The Meadows on Saturday October 25.