ZAMBORA Brockie has been installed as the $2.05 favourite with Crownbet to take out the 2016 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) after drawing box three in this Friday’s feature.
Trained by Anthony Azzopardi, the brilliant speedster was emphatic in winning his heat of the $420,000 to the winner race last Friday, recording a blistering 29.06 at Sandown Park.
Stepping from box six, the son of Nitro Burst and Flying Liddy went straight to the lead and was never headed, defeating Gaucho by 7.89 lengths on the line.
A 28-time winner, Zambora Brockie will take his career earnings above the $850,000 mark if he is successful in the final, having already won the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic, the Group 1 Winter Cup, the Group 2 Shoot Out, the Group 2 Warrnambool Cup and the Group 2 Horsham Cup.
Given the best chance to beat the favourite is Queenslander Outside Pass at $4.50 which has drawn awkwardly in the six.
The 30-kilogram bitch was also ultra-impressive in taking out her qualifier, clocking a speedy 29.13 when defeating Sandown specialist Bruce Tycoon.
She will come into the final having won two of her past three starts, all over the track and trip at Sandown Park, her only defeat being a second placing behind Zambora Brockie in the Group 2 Shoot Out on November 4.
Barton Bale, which recorded the fastest first section on Friday in his all-the-way heat win, is on the third line of betting at $7. The Blake Shillington-trained pup recorded a slick 5.00 to the first mark and was able to hold off a late challenge from Dyna Boomer to score in a steady 29.72.
He will start from box one in the Melbourne Cup which looks ideal, however he will need to improve on his overall time to hold out some of the country’s best greyhounds.
The only other runner under double figure odds is Worm Burner, which is a $9 shot after drawing box two.
The brindle dog is probably better boxed off the track but was dazzling when winning his qualifier in 29.30 from box four.
A South Australian, Worm Burner is one of four interstate greyhounds chasing group 1 glory in the world’s richest greyhound race, being joined by Tripum (box four), Ando’s Mac (box five) and the aforementioned Outside Pass.
Tripum is another Queenslander and is currently rated a $15 chance, while NSW will be represented by Ando’s Mac which is capable of vastly improving on his 29.64 heat victory heading into the decider.
Jesaulenko will start from box eight following his 29.31 heat win, however important to note is that he holds a fast 29.11 personal best at Sandown Park.
Rounding out the field is Matt Machine for Jamie Ennis. The son of SH Avatar and Love To Rock defeated pre-post series favourite Dundee Osprey in his heat, clocking 29.40 from box one.
He will have to step up once again in the final, having been afforded no favours by drawing box seven.
Group 1 Melbourne Cup – box draw
1 – Barton Bale -$7
2 – Worm Burner – $9
3 – Zambora Brockie – $2.05 with Crownbet
4 – Tripum – $15
5 – Ando’s Mac – $10
6 – Outside Pass – $4.50
7 – Matt Machine – $34
8 – Jesaulenko – $12
1st Res – Blazin’ Bomber – $7
2nd Res – Bruce Tycoon – $34