The one turn specialists will get their crack at the elusive group prize next week with four heats of the Ranvet Gold Cup to be held at the Bulli Circuit tonight. The group three event carries a handy winner’s purse of $25,000 and is renowned for unveiling some of the sports emerging stars with the honour roll including greyhounds such as Ritza Ryder(2012), What Size(2011), Hooky Booky(2010) and Last Man Out(2009) just to name a few. This year the series oozes with class with 32 brilliant chasers lining up for their time to shine.
RANVET GOLD CUP HEAT ONE 8:32PM
Frank Hurst has a three pronged attack on this year’s feature with the first of his hopes lining up from box four in the first heat. Rashad is a top quality sprinter who has won 6 of his 11 starts with a further 3 seconds to his name. The son of Magic Sprite has one hell of a motor and whilst it takes him a few strides to hit top gear there is no denying his speed with flying times recorded at Gosford (29.70 seconds) and Richmond (30.44 seconds). Despite drawing awkwardly in box four he has a massive chance and will just need a bit of room to move in the early stages.
The dog who looks the leader is Dinkum who has drawn out wide in box eight to be able to swoop down the outside for Julie Fletcher. The 18 race winner has won his last two race starts at Appin and has been racing against some sensational dogs in recent starts including Punch One Out, Knocka’s Return and Bralyn County. The black speedster loves racing around the one turn and could easily snare this race.
Drawn in the checks is Victorian raider Engine Alley who will be looking for win 11 from 21 racetrack appearances. The white and black dog is trained by Desmond Anthony and has claimed his last four starts, three of which were in best of day times at Horsham (26.99 & 26.78 seconds) and Sale (29.33 seconds). The 34 kilogram heavyweight will need a clear run to the first turn as he is not overly quick early however there is not a terrible amount of speed in the race so he should be able to find a nice position.
Last year’s Gold Cup winner Ritza Ryder will line up in the first heat from the cherry. The son of Where’s Pedro, who turns four later this year is still racing consistently albeit without victory since January when scoring at Wentworth Park in a blistering 29.69 seconds. Ritza Ryder is a winner of 19 from 62 whilst he relishes an inside draw so is well suited in box one. Trainer Mark Gatt would have his chaser in top shape and would not be racing him in this unless he felt confident so he must be respected.
RANVET GOLD CUP HEAT TWO 8:53PM
Heat two has been hit early with scratching’s but is still shaping up to be a juicy affair with Kristy Sultana’s airborne chaser Tarks Royale lining up from the pink. The lightly raced two and a half year old will be lining up for his 16th racetrack appearance but with 7 wins under his belt he comes into the event with great claims. The Primo Uno dog also appears to handle a wide draw with three wins from three starts when wearing the black although he has never started from box eight. Although this is slightly concerning he should get room to move and be able to cross with Pablo Cruz scratched from box seven and no reserves to take his place.
Away from the eight many of the others seem to be fairly evenly spread. If you are looking for value Vinny Kreugur looks a definite standout. The son of Collision and Bogie Skye comes from the inform Mark Azzopardi Kennel and could not have been more impressive last week when running second at his track debut. After missing the start terribly from box six, the youngster showed terrific field sense to navigate his way through the field to miss out on victory narrowly when running 26.64 seconds. The blue dog does not turn two until next month and has only had four starts for a win and two placings however he does look a quality type. It is worth mentioning that his only unplaced run was in the final of the Group Three Magic Maiden at Wentworth Park whilst he claimed his semi-final impressively clocking 30.12 seconds.
Bombastic Shiraz sprinter Ferly Reign will be hoping to bounce back to his best when starting from box six after a six week break. The six race winner has an unblemished record at Bulli after two starts and a best time of 26.37 seconds over the track and distance. If he runs up to that performance he will be right in this event for Anthony Azzopardi.
Rails runner Head Rush was a last start winner at Wentworth Park in 30.09 seconds whilst he also won the start before that at Bull in a speedy 26.51 seconds. He has been beginning much better lately and if he can do that again tonight he is a major threat.
RANVET GOLD CUP HEAT THREE 9:11PM
The class runner in heat three is no doubt Mark Azzopardi’s brilliant campaigner Transcend Time who will line up from box eight. The industry blue blood is a son of Bombastic Shiraz out of Elite Oriental and has been a model of consistency throughout his 25 start career claiming fourteen wins with another six minor placings. The brindle speedster qualified for the Group Two Maitland Gold Cup taken out by Black Magic Opal whilst he was a runner up in the Queensland Derby taken out by Hello Good Bye. Since returning to NSW he has won both of his starts at Bulli (26.02 seconds) and Wentworth Park (29.85 seconds). Clearly the dog to beat.
Looking to bring him done will be another Frank Hurst runner in Zulu Zircon who will line up from the checks. The Where’s Pedro dog is one of the most exciting young pups in the area winning three of his four starts with all his starts at Bulli resulting in victories. He has a massive motor and personal best of 26.06 seconds over the distance however his last run at Wentworth Park was concerning; after a below average beginning he managed to work his way into a handy spot throughout the run however he was unable to go on with it and his inexperience cost him the race in the end. Regardless if he bounces in front they won’t catch him.
Jeanette Foley’s Lil Miss Sparkle is an absolute pocket rocket capable of anything on her day however she has been racing well below her best . She gets a chance to return to the winners list tonight as she absolutely loves the one turn circuits. She will be having her first start at the track tonight but runs well at Maitland and despite being a wide runner she can handle herself from an inside draw.
The other main hope is El Caballo for Doreen Drynan who has had four nice runs back from an injury during the Easter Egg carnival. Since returning El Caballo has won at Bulli clocking 26.43 seconds and has also run three handy placings behind Zulu Zircon, Triggsy and Jagger Swagger respectively.
RANVET GOLD CUP HEAT FOUR 9:32PM
The best has been saved for last with National Derby winner Jagger Swagger headlining a tantalizing fourth qualifier for Mark Azzopardi. The son of Premier Fantasy returned to Wentworth Park ten days ago after tasting defeat in the Queensland Derby stopping the clock in a slick 29.82 seconds. Jagger Swagger has had five starts at the track for three wins and two thirds with a personal best of 26.07 seconds at the venue. The sleek black machine has recorded a total of 17 wins from 26 starts and should not be affected by box eight where he has scored on four occasions.
Zulu Zircon’s equally talented litter brother Zulu Zeus will line up from box two in the last heat and will be a test for the group one champion that is boxed out wide. A winner of his last four in succession, Zulu Zeus has gone from strength to strength for Frank Hurst. In his four most recent wins the freakishly talented youngster has won by a combined total of a gobsmacking 39 lengths. Included in these triumphs is three wins at Richmond( 30.25 seconds, 30.44 seconds, 30.08 seconds), and a first up success at Wentworth Park (29.83 seconds). He is a great beginner and if he can handle the inside draw he will go close to winning.
Ultra consistent Central Coast campaigner Johnny Fire will be returning to Bulli after two strong wins at Maitland over the past two weeks. After a slow beginning on Thursday the Trevor Hagney trained powerhouse rounded up the classy field to claim the event by one and three quarter lengths over Armenra in a hot 25.18 seconds . The group three placegetter has now won 13 races from 24 starts whilst he has remarkably never missed a place recording four seconds and six thirds throughout his career. Whilst he won’t be the leader, if there is trouble up front he will certainly be the swooper.