EXTREME Magic has been installed as the favourite to win next week’s Group 2 Traralgon Cup (525m) after breaking the track record in his heat of the feature on Saturday night.
Jumping from box six, the Jason Thompson-trained powerhouse stepped well and was able to carve across the field to sit in second spot behind Fabregal (box two) around the first turn.
Running into the back straight, the black dog balanced up and quickly drew level with Fabregal before slipping into top gear and racing clear.
At the finish the son of Black Magic Opal and Outlandish crossed the line 4.64 lengths clear of Fabregal in a blistering time of 29.78.
Extreme Magic has now won nine of his 20 starts, with next Saturday’s feature set to be the third group final he has contested throughout his short career.
Thompson will have three finalists in the $47,000-to-the-winner series, with Aston Dee Bee and Aqua Cheetah also winning their respective qualifiers.
Aston Dee Bee started from box six in the opening heat and was only fairly away, but showed tremendous acceleration to push up along the outside of Harlon (box three) around the first turn.
Once he found galloping room the son of Barcia Bale and Aston Elle was always going to be hard to hold out, surging clear of his opponents to defeat Jacqui Blax (box one) by 3.8 lengths in 30.35.
Meanwhile, in the last qualifier of the night, Group 1 Adelaide Cup winner Aqua Cheetah proved he is still capable of mixing it with the best at group level.
The red fawn dog was safely away from box six, but was outpaced in the early stages by McNeo (box eight) and Daithy Allen (box seven), slipping into third spot.
Down the back the son of Cosmic Rumble and Dalta Bale railed through into second before hooking to the outside, circling the leader to assume the lead around the home turn.
On the bunny Aqua Cheetah continued to extend his lead, crossing the line 3.39 lengths ahead of McNeo in 30.37.
The remaining heat was an exciting race from start to finish, featuring two of the state’s top chasers, Don’t Kid Me (box seven) and Jesaulenko (box eight) going stride for stride for the majority of the event.
At the start, Don’t Kid Me showed his customary early dash to roll to the front of the field around the first turn, with Jesaulenko following him across from the wide draw.
Through the pen the two black dogs were level with each other, with Don’t Kid Me holding the advantage of the rails whilst Jesaulenko had to cover more ground off the track.
Into the home straight there was still nothing between the pair, with Don’t Kid Me showing plenty of ticker to rally in the closing stages, defeating Jesaulenko by 0.19 lengths in 30.37.
Both greyhounds will progress through to the decider next Saturday night.
2017 Group 2 Traralgon Cup – box draw
1 – Fabregel $8.50
2 – Aqua Cheetah $5
3 – Jacque Blax $15
4 – McNeo $51
5 – Jesaulenko $11
6 – Extreme Magic $2.60 with Bet365
7 – Aston Dee Bee $2.80
8 – Don’t Kid Me $15
9 – Fanta Bale $4
10 – Invictus Rapid $7