2015 Group 3 Gold Cup tips, statistics and runner comments

THIS year’s instalment of the Group 3 Gold Cup at Wentworth Park appears to be a race in two, with the stunning performances of Space Star and Sweet It Is in last week’s heats guaranteeing an enticing final will be conducted this Saturday evening.

Three-time Group 1 winner Space Star made a triumphant return to Wentworth Park in heat one, quickly getting to the lead in the home straight and clocked a sizzling time of 41.71 on a wet surface. Fellow Victorian stayer Sweet It Is won plenty of admirers for her gutsy performance when finishing second, taking a stack of ground off the winner, beaten just 2.25 lengths at the finish.

Robert Britton’s Space Star recorded a new personal best time over the 720-metre distance last week and if Sweet It Is can run anywhere near her best time of 41.55, this final will go down to the wire. Both greyhounds exceed half a million dollars in prizemoney and will go down as two of the best stayers our country has ever witnessed.

Mullaway for Joanne Price was the other heat winner and notched up his first victory over 720-metres in a solid time of 42.17. After Tasmanian chaser Lillycette lead for the majority of the race, Mullaway made a desperate last-ditch effort to salute by a head. Drawn ideally on the inside, expect plenty of improvement this week from Mullaway, which will be thereabouts again at the finish.

The winning connections will collect a juicy $25,000 for their efforts on Saturday night.

Lets hear what Australian Racing Greyhound‘s Brad Bugeja had to say about the chances of each runner.

If you a fancy a bet on any of the finalists in the Gold Cup, William Hill are offering new customers up to $700 in free bets to place upon the feature.

Box One: Mullaway
Black Dog – 34.9kg – May 2012
Velocette x Halzani
Trainer: Joanne Price
Career: 46:16-6-4
T/D: 3:1-0-2
T/D Best: 42.17
Career Highlights: WON Albion Park 29.92, 34.55, 41.77, WON Ipswich 30.56, 37.25, WON Lismore 37.12

“Has been racing in career best form of late and two starts back he did break the long standing 600-metre track record at Albion Park with an eye popping 34.55 run. Last week he was always prominent and he proved too strong when posting a solid 42.17 heat win. The rails draw is a big advantage tonight and he should once again be in the mix for a long way, however I think he is just a couple of lengths short of the real top class chasers over this distance range. Has claims but I think place chances do appear best for him tonight.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $8:50 with William Hill

Box Two: Zipping Felix
Black Dog – 32.0kg – May 2012
Turanza Bale x Natalie Rass
Trainer: Martin Hallinan
Career: 35:9-5-7
T/D: 3:1-0-2
T/D Best: 41.99
Career Highlights: WON Bendigo 28.34, 37.55, WON Sandown 34.17, WON Sale 37.25, WON Shepparton 37.48

“Improving stayer which could be the value in the event based on his effort two starts back where he ran the race of his life when placed behind Space Star. On that occasion he powered to the line and with a little luck in running he probably should have finished closer. Last week he was held up at a crucial stage and therefore he was never able to really gather any momentum. If Mullaway can hold them out early tonight he should be able to drive through at the first bend and I’m expecting a forward showing.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $13 with William Hill

Box Three: Laugh With Mary
Black Bitch – 26.6kg – March 2013
Big Daddy Cool x Cash Up
Trainer: Harry Sarkis
Career: 23:6-2-2
T/D: 7:0-0-1
T/D Best: 42.31
Career Highlights: WON Maitland 31.90, WON Gosford 35.09, WON Richmond 36.13

“Handy effort when placed in her heat and appears to be getting better with every run, however tonight she is taking on some real top liners and she is likely to find the going tough. She doesn’t have the speed to lead and I think she will get spat out the back early.”

Odds to win the Association Cup: $34 with William Hill

Box Four: Space Star
Black Dog – 35.3kg – June 2012
Bekim Bale x Tonto Tears
Trainer: Robert Britton
Career: 35:23-4-5
T/D: 11:7-1-2
T/D Best: 41.71
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 1 Galaxy Final (Cannington), WON 2015 Group 1 Association Cup Final (Wentworth Park), WON 2015 Group 2 Summer Distance Plate (Wentworth Park), WON Wentworth Park 30.07, WON Maitland 31.82, WON Gosford 34.21, WON The Gardens 24.86, WON Richmond 35.00 (Track Record), WON Cannington 41.57, WON Sandown 41.65, WON The Meadows 41.93

“Currently the best stayer in the land and with an ounce of luck early he will be winning. He has won his past three starts over this journey and two of those victories have been in a scorching 41.71. There isn’t a lot of speed drawn underneath him tonight so he should be able to push through and assume control at the first bend and it should be a procession from there on. He is going to be very short odds so it may be best to just anchor him up front in your exotic bets.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $1.70 with William Hill

Box Five: Lillycette
Black Bitch – 25.3kg – April 2012
Velocette x Come Over Nova
Trainer: Edward Medhurst
Career: 37:17-9-2
T/D: 3:0-2-0
T/D Best: 42.18
Career Highlights: WON Hobart 25.81, 34.15, WON Launceston 29.63, 42.55, WON Devonport 33.05, WON The Meadows 42.48

“Racing well and she always gives herself a chance because she is so reliable early. I’m expecting her to begin well again tonight but unfortunately she has the enormous and big striding Space Star underneath her and she is likely to be posted wide for the entire trip. She must lead to win her races over this journey so I can’t see her making an impact tonight.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $10 with William Hill

Box Six: Sweet It Is
Black Bitch – 29.0kg – November 2011
Mogambo x Off Springer
Trainer: Braden Finn
Career: 53:16-4-5
T/D: 11:3-5-1
T/D Best: 41.55
Career Highlights: WON 2014 Group 1 National Distance Championship, WON 2014 Group 1 Association Cup (Wentworth Park), WON 2014 Group 3 Sydney Cup (Wentworth Park), WON Cannington 41.39, WON Sandown 41.46, WON Cranbourne 41.73

“Formerly the number one stayer in the land and with three runs under her belt since a spell she may be ready to regain the crown as the top half miler in the country. Last week she got knocked over mid race but she was able to balance up and hit the line well and she only went down by two lengths to Space Star. If Space Star happens to get held up early she might be able to get to him a bit earlier in the event and she will likely prove too strong in the run home. I’m still giving the edge to Space Star but she should be filling the quinella spot quite easily.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $3.50 with William Hill

Box Seven: Zipping Maggie
Dark Brindle Bitch – 28.3kg – May 2012
Turanza Bale x Natalie Rass
Trainer: Martin Hallinan
Career: 39:13-7-4
T/D: 10:2-3-2
T/D Best: 41.78
Career Highlights: WON 2014 Group 3 Chairman’s Cup Final (Wentworth Park), The Meadows 30.22, 34.45, WON Bendigo 37.82, WON Sandown 41.85

“Has always done her best racing here and she was a tad unlucky in her heat last week. She is capable of showing early speed in her races and if she happened to ping away and cross the inside division she would be a serious chance of causing an upset. It will take a mighty effort for her to score but at the big odds she might be worth an each way ticket.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $7 with William Hill

Box Eight: Mr Corsair
Fawn Dog – 33.4kg – November 2011
Dashing Corsair x Adios Magic
Trainer: Michelle Shambler
Career: 47:7-7-8
T/D: 17:1-3-3
T/D Best: 42.15
Career Highlights: WON Albion Park 35.39, WON Lismore 37.73, WON The Gardens 42.52

“Very one paced chaser who has turned in some handy performances in his career but it will take an almighty performance for him to feature tonight. I’m expecting him to settle near the tail of the field and with the depth of this field I can’t really see him taking any ground off the chasers in front. If there is some trouble up front he may be able to sneak into fourth spot.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $41 with William Hill

Box Nine: Bessy Boo
Black Dog – 31.1kg – March 2012
Bekim Bale x My Black Bess
Trainer: Christine Proctor
Career: 73:21-11-15
T/D: 8-3-1-1
T/D Best: 42.33
Career Highlights: WON 2014 Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic Final (Wentworth Park), WON Wentworth Park 29.71, WON Richmond 35.54, WON Nowra 36.55

“Has been a great chaser for quite a while now and if he happened to draw the red he could run a big race. Over this journey he needs to be able to lead or at worst settle in the top three so he can assume control mid race, this is due to him being quite weak over the final 60-metre.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $14 with William Hill

Box Ten: Queen Marina
Black Bitch – 27.4kg – August 2011
Lochinvar Marlow x Fascinate Marina
Trainer: Noelene Holloway
Career: 74:8-9-14
T/D: 20:1-2-2
T/D Best: 42.28
Career Highlights: WON 2014 NSW Distance Championship (Wentworth Park), WON Gosford 29.56, 34.75, WON Gardens 30.18

“Racing well below her best and just doesn’t run a true 700-metres these days. Soundly beaten in her heat and was never a factor, if she gains a start tonight I can’t see her making an impact.”

Odds to win the Gold Cup: $31 with William Hill