Split Image steals time honours in Townsville Cup heats

SPLIT Image will head into next week’s Group 3 Townsville Cup final as the greyhound to beat after a dominant performance in her heat of the 498m feature on Tuesday night.

Stepping from box five in the first qualifier, the brindle bitch was crowded in the early stages but showed plenty of ticker to push through and find the fence, railing up to take the lead and sprinting clear.

In the run to the line the daughter of Where’s Pedro and Unfinished made the race a one act affair, scoring by a widening eight and three quarter lengths over Spudnut (box eight) in 28.50.

Trained in south-east Queensland by leading conditioner Tony Brett, Split Image has been a model of consistency throughout her career, winning seven of her 19 starts including the Group 2 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden earlier this year.

A litter sister to Brett’s star chaser Thirty Talks, Split Image will take her career earnings above the $120,000 mark if she is successful in next week’s $25,000 to the winner feature.

However, it won’t be an easy task for Split Image with a stack of quality greyhounds also progressing through the heats on Tuesday.

Among those was Split Image’s kennel mate Zabdon Ferrari which was a commanding winner of the second heat. Jumping fairly from box one, the black chaser was able to use the inside draw to perfection, sneaking up on the inside of Upper Class Lad (box two) to assume the lead around the first turn.

Once on the bunny it was a case of times and margins, with Zabdon Ferrari stretching out to score by three and a half lengths over Cobber In Motion (box eight) in 28.51.

Also scoring a convincing heat win was the classy Tripum (box eight) for Innisplain-based trainer Darren Russell. A winner of 13 of his 30 starts going into the qualifier, the son of Collision and Surin’ Sal began cleanly and was able to avoid early bother from box eight, circling around the field to run to the front of the pack down the back.

At his first start over the track and trip, the blue brindle dog was strong to the line and gave nothing else a look-in, defeating Caberet Tonight (box two) in a tidy 28.56.

While the big name trainers from the southern end of the state dominated the majority of the heats, local trainers also made an impact with two winning heats.

In the third heat of the night Tony Brett was out to make it a treble with Aston Jadore jumping from box two, however when the lids flew open the black bitch was crossed early by Steel Rose (box six) and Deborah Rose (box eight), with the former making every post a winner to score by one length in 28.67.

It was win 10 at start 42 for the daughter of Oaks Road and Hot Spur at her first start for trainer Rhonda Essery.

The remaining heat of the night was taken out by the race favourite, Rocket’s Magic, who was only fair to begin from box four but was able to slip into second spot behind early leader Thank You Pop (box five).

Down the back the son of Magic Sprite and Zip Zip Marina started his run, finding the top and drawing clear to register a four and three quarter length triumph over Taser Shock (box one) in 28.86 for Robert Thomson.