Four of Australia’s most exciting greyhounds pressed their claims for a berth in the Sky Racing Topgun after commanding victories in their respective Melbourne Cup Preludes at Sandown Park tonight.
However it was a greyhound that wasn’t invited to nominate for the $150,000 to the winner feature that recorded the fastest Prelude win.
General Destini, winner of the Group 2 Berwick Mazda Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park in May, showed that he is back to his very best when he defeating Carol Allen by 3.5 lengths in 29.38 seconds.
In an engaging betting dual which saw favouritism swap between the two chasers, Carol Allen ($2.50) began brilliantly from box 1 to record a stunning 4.98 seconds to the first split. General Destini ($2.80) stalked her down the back straight, and showing the strength that helped him to claim the Group 2 McKenna Memorial in May, powered to the line to win his 12th race is 28 career starts.
Trained by Norm Rinaldi in Lethbridge, General Destini took his career earnings to $124,960. “The General” has now won five of his 11 starts at Sandown Park, and collected over $90,000 from the Lightwood Road circuit alone.
In perhaps the most telling performance of the night, boom youngster Renegade Chief won his 11th race in 12 career starts in a brilliant 29.39 seconds.
After losing an early speed battle with rank outsider Dodge The Batten ($40.30), Renegade Chief found the lead down the back straight and powered away to win by 3.5 lengths over Imry Bale ($3.20).
Soon after the race, comparisons started to be drawn between Renegade Chief and National Sprint Champion, Fabregas. Both black dogs are by champion sire Bombastic Shiraz, both have imposing race records (Renegade Chief 12 starts for 11 wins, Fabregas 13 starts for 12 wins), both have outstanding records at Sandown Park (Renegade Chief seven wins, Fabregas eight wins), and both have outstanding best times at the track (Renegade Chief 29.32, Fabregas 29.33).
A mouth watering match up in the four-dog $50,000 winner-takes-all Group 3 Shootout looms large for the pair, a clash that is sure to excite racing fans everywhere.
Renegade Chief completed a race-to-race double for Pearcedale mentor Kel Greenough, who took out the preceding race with Odie For Now.
The diminutive 28kg chaser found was sent to the boxes a $2.20 favourite despite drawing box 4 and promptly found trouble at the first turn. Odie For Now soon picked himself up and showed his class by railing strongly to defeat Call The Police by 1.75 lengths in 29.62 seconds.
Desalle Bale and David Bale completed a double for Graeme Bate, winning their Preludes in 29.48 and 29.52 seconds respectively.
Each greyhound has now won more than $150,000 in prize money, and both greyhounds are sure to be at the forefront of the Topgun panellist’s thoughts.
Hurunui Hitman also qualified for the Melbourne Cup heats after winning his Prelude in in 29.58 seconds.
Hurunui Hitman entered the record books after winning his previous race – the first run at the rebuilt Ballarat track – and is set for greater glory. Trained by Stephen McKenna, the regally bred 25 month old has now won 11 of 16 career starts and been runner up in four others.
On a big night of greyhound racing around the country, Spud Regis captured the Group 1 Adelaide Cup just a week after surviving an accident that cost the life of littermate Big Black Mac.
Meanwhile at Albion Park in Queensland, Golden Easter Egg winner Don’t Knocka Him won the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup.
The next Melbourne Cup Prelude series will be run on Thursday 25 October, the Melbourne Cup heats to be run on Thursday 15 November and the $500,000 Group 1 Melbourne Cup final will be run on Thursday 22 November.