The nation’s best sprinters will line up in a State of Origin battle this Thursday night at Albion Park for the 2008 Group One Sky Channel Brisbane Cup.
In what was an electric night for the heats last Thursday, quick times were all the rage with the track record broken by Queensland star Made to Size (29.57) and then a stellar effort from Australia’s top sprinter, and Victorian dog, El Galo (29.76).
While these two will start favourite, the playing field has been evened slightly with the box draw separating Made To Size and El Galo to seven and five, respectively.
New South Wales’ performer Repeated will jump from box three after winning his heat in 29.94 from box one, in what was his first start over the distance at Albion Park.
Another Brisbane first-starter last week was Velocette, who stormed home in 29.69 from box two. Velocette will start from box eight in tonight’s final.
Tina Womann’s consistent dog Trew Millions is also expected to race strongly after drawing the same box two from which he won his heat in 30.06.
While heat times will shape the prices leading into the race last year’s race proves anything could happen once they jump.
The 2007 Brisbane Cup saw a Bradbury-like performance by Uno Joel, who capitalised on an inside opening on the home turn after a clash in the leading pack.
The rest of the race card on Thursday night will also feature some exciting distance racing with the Big Dog Challenge Heats.
The Big Dog Challenge is a 600m race worth $10,000.
The two heats for the final, which will be held next Thursday night, have some promising 600m greyhounds including Xanadu’s Image in heat one (race three).
Xanadu’s Image has drawn box one in this race where it will get the chance to be king pin after a string of races up against Black Ruler.
However it won’t come easy for the Ron Ball-trained performer with Seminole (box two) and Honeysuckle Rose (box five) in the field. Both Seminole and Honeysuckle Rose are ranked in the top 10 leading greyhounds at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club.
The other heat (race four) for the Big Dog Challenge will feature Albion Park 600m king, Black Ruler, in box one.
Black Ruler is enjoying top form at the moment, having won nine from 14 over the distance at Albion Park, including last Thursday night’s win in a career best 35.08.
But the Reg Hazelgrove-trained star will not be without competition with Greg Brennan’s Shadow Boxer showing incredible speed with 34.76 last Tuesday week from the same box he has drawn tonight (box seven).
Other chances in the race include Sassy Sprite, who will be looking for the first win at Albion Park over 600m after four starts resulting in four third places.
Box two’s Makushla will also be one to watch boasting one start over 600m at Albion Park for one win in 35.15.
The Sky Channel Christmas Stocking Heats, a fifth grade feature race over 520m with a prize purse of $5,180 for the final, will also be run on Thursday night.
Heat one (race five) will feature Glenda Dart’s promising bitch Peach Bikini from box five, who will be looking to back up after a strong win on Monday night.
Top trainer Tony Brett will start Ruffian in this race also, who ran a third to Repeated in the Brisbane Cup heats last week.
Heat two (race six) will have Ron Ball’s Straight Wicked looking for victory after narrowly missing out on a spot in the Brisbane Cup final and named first reserve.
Jumping from box one, Straight Wicked was impressive last start coming back from a fall the week before.
Promising young dog from the Stephen Kavanagh kennels, Midnight Rumble, will also contest this race from box three. Midnight Rumble has enjoyed four wins and one second from six starts.
The Best Eight of the night (race eight) will see Size Can Matter try and recoup after a disappointing run in the Brisbane Cup heats last week.
Jumping from box one, Size Can Matter is expected to find the turn first ahead of Mark Saal’s Bundy Babe (box seven) and John Field’s Intrepid Force (box eight).
Stone Cold Sober will also be one to watch in this race from box three showing he has what it takes boasting a best time of 30.06 at the track.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets :
- Race 1 Number 5 One Missing
- Race 8 Number 1 Size Can Matter
- Race 9 Number 7 Bogie Ace
- Brisbane Cup (Race 7) Number 7 Made to Size