The rich red loam of Winnellie Park will play host to the 2014 Group Three Darwin Cup final on Friday evening.
A field littered with interstate raiders will vie for the $25,000 winners cheque over the testing 537 metre trip.
Three trainers will each rug up two dogs in the final with Victorians Robert Britton (Highbury and Engine Alley) and Darren McDonald (Rumbling Rick and Where’s The Surf), along with Queenslander Tom Tzouvelis (Le Sirenuse and Tee Brady) all qualifying a pair of runners.
Stephen Whyte (Clash Of Kings) and Jeffrey Cumming (Rumble Street) make up the field of eight.
Here is a look at each runner in detail;
1 – Clash Of Kings ($2.25) – Stephen Whyte – Set the time standards in the heats when flew around Winnellie Park in 31.33. His pedigree suggests that he can take the race out. He is a son of Fear Zafonic and the 2009 Darwin Cup winner Queen Lauryn (Token Prince – Cheeky Sprite) who will be hoping to replicate his mothers triumph here. Last week was his first start from box one and it looks to suit him perfectly. He is the one they have to beat.
2 – Rumbling Rick ($10) – Darren McDonald – A winner of 17 from 48 who was beaten 8 1/2 lengths by Clash Of Kings in his heat run. He should have some improvement in him this week but he will need to.
3 – Le Sirenuse ($5.00) – Tom Tzouvelis – A well performed Queensland youngster who finished second to Rumble Street in her heat. She may need to find a few lengths on that performance to trouble these.
4 – Where’s The Surf ($4.00) – Darren McDonald – One of the big guns in this race who could not quite mow down Highbury in his heat. He is likely to improve and if he comes out in the first couple, he will be right in contention when it matters the most.
5 – Tee Brady ($18) – Tom Tzouvelis – A seasoned interstate campaigner who lines up in his second Darwin Cup final here. Finished third to Highbury last week but was only beaten 1 3/4 lengths. He has finished in the top three at eight of his last ten starts including three wins. He could be the knockout at big odds.
6 – Highbury ($6.50) – Robert Britton – Speedy customer who staved off some strong challengers to win his heat in 31.63. He will be hoping to find the front early and do the same again in this race. He has handled wider draws in the past including last week’s effort from box seven.
7 – Rumble Street ($6.50) – Jeffrey Cumming – Returned to winning form last week with a 31.67 heat win from this box. Almost all of her wins have come from outside boxes which has to bring her into calculations here.
8 – Engine Alley ($18) – Robert Britton – An injury plagued greyhound who had his first run for 374 days last week when he finished third to Clash Of Kings from this box. If he recaptures anywhere near his best career form he could surprise a few of these but it is very hard to draw a form line from that one run. Take him on trust.
9 – Saleen ($51) – Graeme Ferns – A consistent local who has been placed in 30 of her 51 starts but only managed to win seven of them. She will be tested if she gains a start.
10 – I’m Ziva ($51) – Kerry Perrett – A winner of four from 21 who would need luck to feature in this class.
The above odds can be found at Sportingbet who are offering a $700 free bet. When asked about the Darwin Cup, Sportingbet’s Andrew Brown provided the following opinion –
“Clash Of Kings looked outstanding running the fastest heat and the red box is perfect for him. Where’s The Surf must be respected and Le Sirenuse hit the line well in her heat after copping plenty of trouble so she certainly wouldn’t surprise.”