TOP class sprinter Zambora Brockie recently failed as the punter’s elect in the Melbourne Cup (515m), and became the 21st successive greyhound to be defeated when wearing the white rug of box three in the world’s richest event. Now he faces yet another historical box hurdle in the final of the Group 2 Ballarat Cup (450m).
Zambora Brockie has drawn well in box two for the Ballarat Cup, and it’s an alley that you would think has supplied a number of winners over the years. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
The Ballarat Cup has been Group 2 status since 2001, and in the 15 completed Cup’s since then, not a single winner has exited wearing the ‘checks’. As well, no runner wearing the black rug of box seven has been successful in this period either.
From 1995 to 2000 the race held Group 3 status and in the six runnings at that level only one greyhound saluted from box two, and that was the smart Tom’s Legacy in 1999.
My own records for the race and the winning boxes go back as far as 1987, and between that year and 1994 (eight runnings), there is not a single winner to come from box two.
So, in a nutshell, between 1987 and 2015 there have been 29 editions of the Ballarat Cup and box two has supplied only one victor.
That said, Zambora Brockie has the early speed and sheer brilliance to well and truly begin putting this anomaly to rest. He has won 29 of his 45 race starts, including three from three at Ballarat over the 450 metres trip. He has only had four starts out of box two in his career for two wins, one second and one third, so it’s an alley he clearly likes.
Notably, of his two defeats when sporting the black and white stripes, one of them was most recently at Shepparton in heat of the Shepparton Cup over 450m. Zambora Brockie was reasonably well away but could only finish third, beaten just over five lengths, behind Marley Bale.
Since the upgrade to Group 2 status and the move to a December final instead of March, the most successful boxes in the Ballarat Cup have been one, six and eight with three winners apiece, while boxes three, four and five have supplied two winners each.