With the introduction of a new Group racing calendar, the Bendigo Cup is now one of the first Group Two races on the agenda for the 2014/2015 racing season.
Now worth $45,000 to the winner, the 425 metre race will see eight heats take place on Sunday. The first two placegetters from each of the heats will rug up in the final, which jumps on Friday 4 July.
The time standard for the 425 metre distance is 23.41, set by Black Magic Opal in the heats of the Bendigo Cup run in April (2013/2104 racing calendar).
Heat One – Race 4 at 6:00pm
The highly talented Luca Neveelk (4) is having his first start at Bendigo and arrives at the track with 11 wins to his name from just 12 starts. The blue dog by Talk’s Cheap and It’s A Neveelk (Nitro Neveelk – Bigbad Leesa) has shown plenty of early speed at Healesville, Traralgon, Warragul and Sale. He trialled 24 seconds flat at the track and should be right in this.
The biggest danger comes from box one. The Brooke Ennis trained Universal Size (1) is a former Queenslander and the Knocka Norris – Surf Queen (Surf Lorian – Queen Size) dog has had four wins from five starts in Victoria. One of those wins has been at Bendigo in a smart 23.75. He has two career wins from box one.
The rest of the field contains a number of experienced greyhounds. Crawf’s Bread (3) has raced in Group company before and has 19 wins from 74 starts. He can show early speed and likes the inside. However, at his only start at Bendigo, he failed to run a place. Vapourash (7) has also contested Group races previously and has won at Bendigo in 23.89. Hurricane Rhino (8) could make things interesting as he loves the outside. The Anthony Azzopardi trained dog has raced at Bendigo and won in 24.02.
Heat Two – Race 5 at 6:22pm
Local hope Matt’s Entity (8) performed well in the Bendigo Cup series earlier this year and he looks a big hope in this heat. He has won seven times from box eight and has four wins at the track with a best of 23.57.
Boxed next to Matt’s Entity is Group One Golden Easter Egg placegetter Warrior King (7). He has failed to run a place down in Victoria since returning from the Egg but he can’t be overlooked as he has a best of 23.48 at the track.
Jonny Black Fox (3) has also recorded a flying 23.48 at the track. Remarkably, the dog has won 14 from 17 career starts, but has never had a start from box three. This isn’t expected to worry him though as he has pretty good box manners and some early dash.
If you were looking for a runner outside the top three just mentioned, you can’t go past Arena Allen (4). The Allen Harper – Cara Bale (Larking About – Denise Bale) bitch has done a lot of racing this month, having six starts so far in the month of June. She comes to Bendigo with five wins from five starts at the track and a best of 23.84.
Heat Three – Race 6 at 6:44pm
Rising four year old Peter Rocket (5) resumes from a three month stint on the sidelines to take part in this heat. He is a multiple Group race winner and will give it his all. He has a best of 24.10 at the track.
There’s plenty of early speed drawn on the inside. Pippa Shiraz (2) flies along early but has the tendency to be collared before the line. Drawn on Pippa Shiraz’s immediate outside is the in-form Crackerjack Dak (3). The Andrea Dailly trained dog by Mogambo – Lil’s Memory (Bombastic Shiraz – We Owe Heaps) has won three of his last four starts. He is yet to record a win at Bendigo but has drawn favourably.
Tee Brady (6) has been a consistent placegetter in Victoria but he is yet to win from box six but can show pace.
Heat Four – Race 7 at 7:04pm
Darren McDonald’s Harry Keeping (4) will contest the fourth heat and he looks like he will start the deserved short-priced favourite. The Cosmic Rumble – Naomi Keeping (Surf Lorian – Only Keeping) dog has nine wins from 11 starts and has won at Bendigo in 24.07.
Capullo Bale (2) has won his last three starts with one of those wins coming at Bendigo in 23.85. He has been improving out of the box with a bit of experience under his belt and looms as the main threat to Harry Keeping.
Talented New Zealander Clone Your Own (5) has superior mid-race pace and is capable of pulling out a top performance for trainer Rob Britton but he will need to in order to factor from the squeeze draw.
Heat Five – Race 8 at 7:28pm
Hallelujah Henry (5) resumed from a three month spell at Shepparton last Monday, leading all the way in a best of night 25.37. He does is best work on the bunny and has won at Bendigo in 23.92.
Multiple Group finalist Innocent Til (6) has box six and has not won since April. He has been unplaced at Bendigo from one start but has a good record from box six, recording five wins wearing the green vest.
White Spryo (8) is drawn to take advantage of any interference in the race and with her early speed she could very well be the one that can win at odds. The Disintergrate – Hanify’s Elite (Elite State – Miss Hanify) bitch has won three of her last four and has never been unplaced from three starts at Bendigo with a best of 23.81.
Azza Azza Azza (10) should make the race interesting if he gets a start. He’s won seven from 11 and has won his last two.
Heat Six – Race 9 at 7:48pm
Allen Malik (7) has flown around Warragul in his last two wins. However, both those wins came from box one and he now moves to box seven for this event. This will be his first start at Bendigo.
Question Bale (6) has been very consistent and with his good manners early, he is one of the main dangers. The Collision – Mamie Bale (Where’s Pedro – Maple Bale) dog has 15 wins from 31 starts but is also having his first start at Bendigo.
Of the other runners, just two have broken the magical 24 seconds at Bendigo. Those two runners are Elite Devil (2) and Velomagic (5).
Heat Seven – Race 10 at 8:08 pm
Crump (7) has had a month off so will be nice and fresh for this. He goes well from the outside and has won at Bendigo in a very fast 23.67.
Papa Hook (1) looks a good each-way chance as he has three wins at Bendigo, a best of 23.90 and he has never been unplaced from the rails alley.
Granola Bale (4) is another one with form at the track. The Jenny Hunt trained dog has two wins and two seconds from four starts at the track. She hasn’t broken 24 seconds but she is a consistent beginner and has won three of her last five.
Senor Socks (8) has won his last three but lines up for the first time at Bendigo. Overall, he has 11 wins from 19 starts and has won from the pink.
Heat Eight – Race 11 at 8:32pm
A couple of NSW trained dogs will make their way to Bendigo for this final heat. My Kinda Music (2) is a very fast bitch who looks set to show how good she is from box two. The El Grand Senor – Ice Dancer (Spiral Nikita – Herron Quay) bitch holds the Temora track record and since that run back in March she has had a run of poor box draws. If she can get on the bunny here she will be hard to contain.
The other NSW runner, Unleash De Fear (7), also has plenty of talent and was a finalist in the recent Group Three Bulli Gold Cup. If he pings the lids he should go well. He has had 15 starts for eight wins.
They have to contend with Victorian track record holder and Group race winner Walk Hard (6). He has won his last two at Healesville and has won at his only start in Bendigo in 23.95. He will need some luck from the poor draw but he is a tenacious chaser and very strong.
Also presenting as a danger is Dyna Ishaan (1), who has an imposing record from box one. He has won six times from the rails draw and with such a good record from the box, he has to be considered. This will be his first start at Bendigo.