A cavalcade of smart sprinters will converge on New South Wales’ premier one-turn track this Wednesday evening to compete in four heats of the Group Three Sportingbet Bulli Gold Cup.
The 2014 event will take place over the 472 metre journey and a $25,000 cheque awaits the connections of the winning dog in next week’s final.
Entering its fifteenth year of existence, the race has taken place under numerous guises including the Cyril Rowe Memorial (which is now a separate event) and was also conducted as a twin-tracks series in 2010 with the Maitland club when Hooky Booky won for Mark Bell.
Other winners include the great El Galo (2008) as well as Brilliant Style (2005) along with the Mark Gatt trained Ritza Ryder (2012) who will compete again in 2014.
One of the more unusual results in the history of the race was Winsome Lesson’s victory in 2006. Not so much because of the way the blue dog won the race in the track record time of 25.94, but more so due to the fact that he was a product of two previous winners, History Lesson (1999) and Winsome Dollars (2003).
Here is a look at the main chances in the four heats;
Race 5 – Sportingbet Bulli Gold Cup – Heat 1 – 8:25pm
One of the draw-cards of the series appears in the first heat when Victorian raider Walk Hard exits box one. The Nicole McRae trained son of Bit Chili and Miss Bling (Spiral Nikita – Skullring) won the Group Two Warragul Cup earlier this year and has been consistently racing in elite company down south. The spacious Bulli circuit should suit him to a tee with a nice long straight to unleash his withering run home.
Bearded Midget looks to have the speed to lead from box two and has a superb record at the track. The Ronald Hoogenboom trained white and black dog has won two of his three starts here including an airborne 26.14 victory in early April. He is likely to give them plenty to catch.
Highly Respected jumps from box three and has a terrific record at the track winning three of his five appearances there with a best of 26.48. He has won his last two at Goulburn in blistering times but faces a rise in class here.
Race 6 – Sportingbet Bulli Gold Cup – Heat 2 – 8:45pm
The outside division appear to dominate the second heat with boxes five through eight all looking to have winning chances.
Unleash De Fear will exit box five for the successful trainer/owner combination of Charlie Gatt and Peter Baker. The promising son of Disintergrate and Unleash De Elite (Elite State – Bigbad Darley) has won eight of his 12 career starts including a zippy 26.27 at Bulli in his only start there. He will be close to the lead and looks the one to beat.
The Mark Wilcox trained Natural Player has drawn the outside alley and boasts a sensational career strike rate, winning 16 of his 23 starts to date. He has also won three from four at Bulli and registered a personal best of 26.18 in late January this year.
My Boy Snoop jumps from box seven for astute trainer Anthony Azzopardi. He is a winner of five from 17 career starts including two very fast sub-thirty runs at Wentworth Park in April. This is his first start at Bulli but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that he can gallop.
Gaudi will sport the green rug for Nowra Hill trainer Steve White. He has only missed a place twice in nine appearances at Bulli and has a personal best of 26.35. He possesses more than his fair share of early zip and should be in the firing line early.
Race 7 – Sportingbet Bulli Gold Cup – Heat 3 – 9:05pm
The exciting Waymore’s Blues makes his Bulli debut in heat three for Molong trainer Toby Weekes. A winner of 10 from 23, the regally bred son of Collide and Casey’s Angel (Spiral Nikita – Leprechaun Yap) has shown some brilliant one-turn form at other tracks like Maitland, Shepparton and Ballarat and looks like he will relish the layout at Slacky Flat. He can be a little bit tardy on box-rise and may just need a little bit of space early to put himself in the race.
Richmond Vale mentor Jason Mackay makes the journey down south with his promising galloper Fire Elusive who will jump from box five. A winner of 11 from 32, he is another who has performed well on a one-turn track at Maitland in the coalfields. He would also benefit from a little bit of early room if we are to see his best.
Veteran Ritza Ryder as drawn the outside alley for Mark Gatt. He won the race back in 2012 and has also won the Group Three Ambrosoli at Wentworth Park. The red fawn chaser is a rising five year old but can still match it with the best and has a penchant for the Bulli circuit where he has won six races, including a 26.02 effort.
Bringelly trainer Mark Wilcox continues to show his strong hand in the series when he rugs up Knocka’s Return. A winner of 19 from 43, including five from 10 at Bulli, this 33kg dog should benefit greatly from the inside draw. He has a best of 26.03 at the track and set the Temora track record in March. He is returning from a two-month spell which will be the only question mark over him heading into this race.
Race 8 – Sportingbet Bulli Gold Cup – Heat 4 – 9:22pm
Boom pup Silent Effective headlines the final heat from box eight. The precocious son of Cosmic Rumble and Best Percentage (Big Daddy Cool – Apache Arrow) has already won seven races from ten starts despite only being just 21 months old. At his only start at Bulli, the 31kg Darren Sultana trained conveyance stopped the clock at a rapid 26.07. He has won his only start from box eight and should get plenty of room to move in the early stages. Clearly the one to beat.
Stilton Blue won the Nowra Puppy Classic earlier this year and has been tuned up for this to perfection by trainer Philip Goodsell with a hat-trick of wins at Bulli. While box four may present a query for the striking blue dog, he does have a slow beginner drawn outside him and a superb record from the box, with five wins from six starts in the blue rug. He looks the main danger.
Gradence exits box two for Mark Gatt. He comes into consideration on the credence of his win in the Cyril Rowe Memorial at Bulli back in January. Despite being a veteran of 89 starts, he has only raced at the track six times for two wins and three placings with a best of 26.47 which he registered in the aforementioned win. If he is afforded the right opportunities in transit, he will be whistling home late.
Invidious is a slippery beginner who looks to be drawn well in box three for trainer Jason Magri. He is undefeated in two starts at the track with a best of 26.35. He is capable of putting himself in the picture early and looks to be the value runner of the race.