Black Magic Opal took another step Friday night to confirming what we already knew; he is Australia’s best one-turn sprinter.
In what appeared on paper as one of the best provincial cups for some time, Jason Thompson’s black superstar simply blew the Geelong Cup field away in a record-breaking performance that left all witnessing it in awe.
The Group 2 final was always going to be a speed battle, with only Xylia Allen and Crump coming from further back than second to win a heat, and in reality the race was won within the opening 70 metres.
With Paw Licking drawing eight, and Farmor Las Vegas in box two, all eyes were watching to see if the odds-on Black Magic Opal could muster enough pace to obtain clear running room. Despite having broken the track record last week, the pace shown out of box four by the son of Magic Sprite and Awesome Opal had to be seen to be believed.
He simply left his rivals for dead in the opening stages, bursting into view as the lids opened and leaving some exceptional dogs in top gear trying to keep up.
As it became apparent that neither Farmor Las Vegas nor Paw Licking were going to cut the margin back in time, onlookers got the impression that something special was starting to unfold.
Black Magic Opal crossed the line with two lengths to spare, but his time of 25.11 is what put the exclamation mark on the remarkable victory. Shaving over two lengths off his own track record, Black Magic Opal displayed similar tendencies to the Legends of yesteryear, running sectionals that others simply cannot match, on an occasion when it mattered most.
Farmor Las Vegas actually ran 25.24, eclipsing the old record in a meritorious defeat, while Paw Licking ran third in a time of 25.39.
Xylia Allen was slowly away as usual and was afforded no favours from box seven, becoming tangled up on the home turn and forced to run along the outside fence, gaining little ground on red-hot runners up front.
The rest were beaten off for speed and subsequently involved in some first turn interference, of which Crump was most affected, crashing to the deck but escaping with some lacerations and a 7-day stand-down.
But for the winning connections, including trainers Jason Thompson and Seona Hood, it justifies the speedsters’ highly publicised move from NSW, where the Maitland Cup winner was supposedly sold for $100,000. However, with this second black-type title, already $40,000 of that outlay has been re-couped.
Black Magic Opal’s overall record goes to 30 starts for 23 wins, 4 placings which converts to an amazing strike rate of 87%.
In a similar vein, another former NSW greyhound is starting to hit top form at the right time of year, co-incidentally winning on the same Geelong program.
Jagger Swagger, now under the care of Devon Meadows trainer, Wayne Vassallo brought up his twentieth career win, but more notably his first win on Victorian soil with a gritty effort from box six.
After only a fair getaway, the $1.40 favourite had to do it tough for the majority of the 460 metres, with dogs all around making life difficult. But showing the tenacity befitting a chaser of such calibre, Jagger Swagger put the foot down and took control of the race in the concluding stages.
Stopping the clock at 25.67, it was a solid performance, and looms as an ideal lead up for the richer events heading to the Victorian tracks in coming months.