He was always going to be the star attraction of the night.
Black Magic Opal exited the red box on a calm night at Hobart, and the result was an 11-length win in the fastest time ever seen at the Elwick track.
While the first dog to show its face was the old-timer, Rewind, it too like so many before him was left in the position of spectator, as Jason Thompson’s amazing sprinter blew the field away, progressing to another Group 1 feature final.
Lowering the previous time standard of 25.71 set by Bergermeister, the son of Magic Sprite and Awesome Opal now boasts a time of 25.65 for the 461 metres. It was a stirring performance, with those on course sharing the feeling of awe with Sky viewers, as the words ‘Track Record’ scrolled across the bottom of the semaphore board.
Elite Devil was second across the line ahead of Roxy Rythym, with Rewind likely to be retired again after fading to finish fourth in the run to the post.
It highlighted what is traditionally the best night of racing from the Apple Isle, with a card littered with high-profile winners.
While it may have seemed like an eternity, eventually Race five at Hobart came around to get the 2013 Hobart Thousand series underway.
Paw Licking was the first of what was to be many odds-on favourites during the night, and it duly saluted in the opening heat. Starting at even-money favourite from box eight, the white and black speedster was too slick for some strong competition, running a blistering 25.78 in the process.
Local chaser Yappin’ Jack provided the fiercest competition for most of the event, running a gallant second beaten less than a length from box five. He was the beneficiary of only six heats being conducted, and will line up in the Group 1 final regardless of being defeated.
Fancied runner Buckle Up Wes settled third after a moderate getaway, but was checked by Yappin’ Jack on the top turn, ending any hope, while See Him First followed suit losing a lot of ground from interference occurred just after boxrise.
Heat two was expected to be a three-way fight between Hellyeah Bolt, Dark Warrior and Clone Your Own. Those three would eventually run the trifecta, but the run of Hellyeah Bolt to run down Clone Your Own was more than memorable. After giving the strong New Zealander a five length start, Hellyeah Bolt never stopped pushing, and after a tremendous battle, it emerged the victor in 25.83. Paying $1.80 on Tattsbet, the son of Dyna Lachlan and Flash Diamond was a popular result for punters.
Clone Your Own was certainly not disgraced and will still progress as one of the fastest seconds.
Heat three was really only about one dog, with Ronan Izmir strangling the market from box five. Those that took the $1.10 shorts on the recent Ballarat Cup winner wouldn’t have liked the look of things after the first fifty metres, with the black speedster positioned behind runners. But like a good dog should, Ronan Izmir drove hard along the fence to starve off the challengers and book its place in the time-honoured classic.
Running the 461 metres in 25.87, Ronan Izmir showed good strength to overcome Teddy Tom Boy, who showed his customary dash but was outclassed by the Victorian runner. Pinto Pronto ran a solid race and despite copping a check off the top turn, managed to finish right behind the front duo.
It was a similar story in heat four, where the in-form Farmor Las Vegas would win dominantly as a $1.40 favourite. The huge 37kg dog trained by Robert Britton was third out of the boxes but soon muscled underneath the pack to take control.
He also set a sub-26 second time, with 25.71 showing on the clock, well ahead of what Hellyeah Missile and Oscar Ralph, who dead-heated for second, could manage. This time equalled the current track record of Bergermeister, but that record wasn’t going to last very long.
It will be the fourth straight group final for Farmor Las Vegas, after making the Adelaide, Geelong and Brisbane Cups.
But they were all preludes to the track record run of Black Magic Opal show in heat five.
An even field assembled at the boxes for the sixth and final heat.
Varcoe for Debbie Cannan was heavily backed and was ‘in-the-red’ by the time the lids opened. However, the speed of Black Rip and Sing The Song showed the way, with the latter taking control off the back straight.
Sing The Song has always shown an affinity for the Hobart circuit and tonight she won the hard way, sitting outside Black Rip and doing it tough to hold on from the fast finishing Varcoe. She earnt her chance for the biggest prize on the Apple Isle.
While the time of 25.97 was the slowest of the night, it was a gritty win and she did enough to still be considered a place chance ahead of next weeks $75,000 final.