ZAMBORA Brockie is the favourite to win his third group 1 event on Saturday night when the lids fly open for the invitation-only Topgun (525m) at The Meadows.
A son of Nitro Burst and Flying Liddy, the black dog will be having his first start in over a month in the $150,000 to the winner feature. Despite this, he is the $3.50 top elect with Crownbet from box six, a draw from which he has won two from four appearances. Trained by Anthony Azzopardi, Zambora Brockie has a blistering 29.47 personal best over the track and trip, easily the fastest time of the eight finalists, however he will still have to do everything right up against a terrific field.
Best rated to topple the favourite is front-running speedster Pantera Nera at $3.60. The black dog is a two-time group 2 winner, having won the Traralgon Cup and the Black Top, and he appears ideally boxed on the inside to hold a forward position. If he can pinch a break on his rivals he is right in this event and is probably capable of shaving some time of his 29.86PB at The Meadows.
South Australian star Worm Burner (box three) has firmed from $10 in to $7 and is looking to score his first victory outside of his home state. The son of Oaks Road and Little Looper gave Zambora Brockie windburn in the final of the Group 1 National Sprint Championship at Angle Park in late August, defeating the Victorian by six lengths in a blistering 29.17. He is probably better drawn off the track, but if he is within striking distance down the back he will be very hard to hold out.
After drifting out to $9.50 in the early markets, Brett Bravo’s Unlawful Entry has firmed back into $8 off box seven. The brindle and white dog hasn’t been seen since August, but he is a flying machine on his night and must be respected.
Dundee Osprey does most of his racing at Sandown Park, but has still won two from four here including a hot 29.75 performance. Box eight is a bit of a worry against this field, but he is a professional and always seems to handle himself well in big race finals.
Aston Bolero comes into the event having won his past two including the Group 2 Shepparton Cup. He is a speedy chaser and should go stride for stride with the one for most of the race, however he is known to tire in the closing stages so will need some luck.
Aqua Cheetah will be having his first start since winning the Group 1 Adelaide Cup earlier this month and will have to do everything right from box four.
Let It Develop won the Group 1 Dapto Megastar three starts back, but this is a massive rise in class and box five looks problematic.
Also being run on Saturday night is the Group 2 Topgun Stayers which has attracted the best long distance greyhounds in training. Jason Thompson’s Burn One Down is the favourite to win off box three, coming into the event on the back of five successive victories. The son of Buck Fever and Fancy Jaffa has all the makings of being a champion stayer, but will arguably face his biggest test to date in tonight’s 725m event.
Ring The Bell is a great stayer and is better than his last few starts indicate. If he can find a spot up towards the front in the early stages he will make his presence felt at the end.
The Group 2 Topgun Stayers is race six on the card, whilst the Group 1 Topgun is the eighth event.
Group 1 Topgun – market
1 – Pantera Nera $3.60 with Crownbet
2 – Aston Bolero $6
3 – Worm Burner $7
4 – Aqua Cheetah $11
5 – Let It Develop $71
6 – Zambora Brockie $3.50
7 – Unlawful Entry $8
8 – Dundee Osprey $5