Bravo hoping to start 2016 with a bang in Cranbourne Cup final

BRETT and Kelly Bravo look a force to be reckoned with in Saturday night’s Group 2 Cranbourne Cup (520 metres) final, with the leading husband and wife duo putting the polish on two of the leading contenders in the race, Unlawful Entry and Secret Spell.

The latter, the $5 second favourite with online bookmaker Bet365, holds time honours heading into the $47,000-to-the-winner feature after a commanding 30.11 heat win on Monday.

Prior to winning her qualifier, the daughter of Bartrim Bale and Wicked Witch had been racing over the middle distance range, scoring a terrific victory in the Group 1 Hume Cup (600 metres) in November and finishing second in the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595 metres) at Sandown Park.

Kelly Bravo said the step back down in trip was not an issue for the black bitch.

“The sprint is probably more her caper rather than the 600,” Bravo said.

“She did really well the other night – she jumped nicely and Angela Langton’s dog (Shared Equity) ran up the track a bit which gave her a really nice run along the fence.

“I was really happy with her – she ran best of the night and she showed that when she is racing at her best she is very hard to beat.”

Secret Spell will jump from box three in the decider, a draw from which she has started from four times for two wins and one minor placing.

“The draw is ok as long as she can stay out of trouble,” Bravo said.

“She is drawn on the outside of Shared Equity so I am hoping she doesn’t get pushed wide at the first turn – if she can get a spot just behind her early then she will be finishing strong.”

Team Bravo will also be represented in the final by recent Group 1 Hobart Thousand (461 metres) winner Unlawful Entry, $2.25, which bounced back to his best last start, recording a 30.23 heat win from box seven.

It was a positive display from the son of Knocka Norris and She Ain’t Late which struck trouble and fell at his start prior to the Cranbourne Cup series. Despite only beginning fairly, Unlawful Entry was able to work his way through the pack before charging clear to score by 0.25 lengths over Cosmic Owl.

“He is a very smart dog. He seems to be able to read a field – in his heat he jumped and wanted to head to the rails before he realised there was no run there so he went around them and then continued to weave his way through the field – he is a very clever racer.

“He surprises us every time he goes around – he just seems to keep raising the bar and he has definitely got a lot of ability, that’s for sure.”

Unlawful Entry will jump from box eight on Saturday night, the same draw which he exited when winning last year’s Group 2 Great Chase (525 metres) at The Meadows.

“He has drawn where he likes to be in the final which is a big help for him,” Bravo explained.

“He is generally always last out of the boxes so he should get a bit of room to move out there and we are expecting him to go well – he is racing well at the moment and is full of confidence.”

2016 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup – Saturday January 9, 2015 – 8:22pm

Box One – Blue Revolver – $6.50
Box 2 – Shared Equity – $5.50
Box 3 – Secret Spell – $5.00
Box 4 – Rare Pearl – $13
Box 5 – Above All – $9.50
Box 6 – Cosmic Owl – $26
Box 7 – Tommy Brislane – $9.50
Box 8 – Unlawful Entry – $2.25 with Bet365
Reserve 9 – Cut Loose Max – $10
Reserve 10 – Starlight Jack – $34