An undeniable stalwart of Queensland racing, Ron Ball again displayed why he is so highly regarded after qualifying three runners into Thursday night’s Group 1 Brisbane Cup.
Ozo Good kicked off a big night for the leading trainer when it led all the way in 29.86. With Bogie King starting the race as an even-money favourite, the son of Token Prince and Gozo Tess made the most of the three box and had the race in his keeping a long way from home. Bogie King did finish hard to run second, however it still had eight lengths to make up by the time the 520m mark was up.
Miss Milkshake became Ron’s second finalist causing a boilover by beating the reigning Melbourne Cup winner Got A Moment in 30.24. Starting the race as 35/1 bolter of the field, the consistent fawn bitch ran the more fancied runners off their legs and sent plenty of Quaddie tickets to the rubbish bin along the way. Got A Moment didn’t show her usual box speed, and had to work its way into the race from midfield, putting in a finishing burst along the home straight. But it was too late, and Miss Milkshake had held on by a length.
Cakes and Pies is the other final hope for the Ball kennel, but it had its colours lowered by the brilliant Don’t Knocka Him. Making amends for a disappointing Melbourne Cup result, the son of Knocka Norris returned to the kennels of Reg Kay (previously with Jason Thompson) and showed his trademark speed from the wide draw. Stifling the market at $1.30, the star sprinter was never in danger and stopped the clock at 29.91. Cakes and Pies wasn’t that fast to begin but worked hard through the field to earn his place in Albion Park’s main event.
Shootout winner, and another Melbourne Cup finalist, Proven Nitro was the only interstate greyhound to find victory in the heats, after it had a titanic struggle with kennelmate, Proven Impala. Once the $1.80 favourite took control heading down the back, most expected the margin to grow quickly, however Proven Impala refused to wilt, and gave the favourite a hell of fright, getting within half a length past the post in 29.86. It continues an amazing vein of form for Proven Nitro, having already made the finals of the Vic Peters, Adelaide Cup as well as the world’s richest race last week.
Continuing the Melbourne Cup form line was the current Brisbane Cup champion, Glen Gallon. Back on his home deck and drawn to get a clear run from box eight, the brilliant sprinter was dominant in his 29.88 win, and looks a great chance to go back-to-back on Thursday. Top Story was given a great chance before the event, and was impressive overcoming a poor start to quickly find itself behind the leader. But the class factor eventually took its toll and Here’s To You showed superior strength to swoop and grab second, and a finals berth with it. However, in a disappointing twist for all connections, the stewards came down hard on Here’s To You after it had a look at Top Story on its way past, imposing a 12-month ban for a third marring offense, obviously making it an early scratching for next Thursday.
This means in the fastest runner-up gets the chance to take its place, and Got A Moment had done enough to grab that spot. With her inclusion, it makes it four of the eight Melbourne Cup finalists having a Group 1 rematch around the headquarters of Sunshine state racing.
The box draw for the event was conducted after the heats last week, and it makes for interesting reading. Proven Nitro has been installed as an early favourite as it will wear a cherry coloured vest, while it sets up a tantalising early battle with Don’t Knocka Him drawn next door. Ron Ball’s trio have all drawn in a cluster from box three to five, while Glen Gallon will need to overcome box seven. It not only shapes as a hard race to predict, but also an entertaining betting affair, with plenty of value to be found for some highly accomplished local runners.
2012 Brisbane Cup Final
1) Proven Nitro – Jason Thompson
2) Don’t Knocka Him – Reg Kay/Jason Thompson
3) Ozo Good – Ron Ball
4) Miss Milkshake – Ron Ball
5) Cakes and Pies – Ron Ball
6) Here’s To You – (scratched)
7) Glen Gallon – Tony Brett
8) Proven Impala – Jason Thompson
9) Got a Moment
10) Bogie King