2017 Group 1 Melbourne Cup – full heat recap and box draw

Ando's Mac
Ando'c Mac strides clear to win the 2016 Melbourne Cup. Who will win in 2017? PIC: AGRA.

ASTON Miley (Barcia Bale x Aston Elle Apr '15) secured the final spot in the 2017 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) with an all the way win at Sandown Park on .

Trained by Eddie Lieshout, Aston Miley stepped beautifully off box five, taking up the early lead from NSW campaigner Barking Bad (Bella Infrared x Ebby Miss May '14).

Swinging for home Aston Miley was in a race of her own, gripping on to defeat a fast finishing Mystery Ride (Hot Grille x Space Power Jan '14) by one and three quarter lengths in 29.60.

Aston Miley is only lightly raced, having now won seven of her 14 starts, but she does have plenty of ability which she showed four starts back when finishing third in the Group 2 Geelong Cup (460m).

Chasin Crackers gets into a Melbourne Cup

Chasin' Crackers winning at The Meadows. PIC: Paul Munt.

CHASIN Crackers ( x Lady Arko Aug '15) booked his spot in next week's Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) with a gutsy win off box three on Friday night.

The black dog jumped well wearing white, settling in second spot on the inside of Leo's Girft (Spring Gun x Ruby Jet Sep '14).

Coming off the back Leo's Gift was still kicking on strongly, but his tendency to get off the track allowed Chasin' Crackers to gain the inside run, assuming the lead entering the straight and striding clear to win in 29.40.

Shadale (Barcia Bale x Budgie Lass Jul '15) ran on well to grab second ahead of ( x Outlandish Feb '15).

Chasin' Crackers will go into the final in career best form, having recently run second in the Group 1 Vic Peters behind Crash Bandicoot.

Trained by Glenn Rounds, Chasin' Crackers has now won 13 races and has banked $100,000 throughout his career.

Another group 1 final for Up Hill Jill

Up Hill Jill strides clear to win the Group 1 . PIC: Paul Munt.

UP Hill Jill (Premier Fantasy x Where's Demonica Feb '15) will be looking to complete the Topgun – Melbourne Cup double after taking out her heat of the world's richest greyhound race at Sandown Park on Friday night.

Prepared by Dave Geall and owned by his wife Rose, Up Hill Jill used box two to her advantage, going stride for stride with defending champion Ando's Mac (El Grand Senor x Brook's Doll Jun '14) in the early stages before crossing over to take the lead around the first turn.

Despite the best efforts of her rivals, Up Hill Jill was too good at the finish, winning by just under half a length in a handy 29.43.

Ando's Mac finished second and WA raider West On Hawkeye (Barcia Bale x Zelemar Fever Mar '15) flashed home to grab third.

Up Hill Jill has been a remarkable little dog for her connections, saluting at 28 of her 53 race track appearances.

Her biggest victory came four starts back when winning the Group 1 Topgun at The Meadows, having pocketed $457,000 throughout her career thus far.

Aston Dee Bee hits top gear

Aston Dee Bee wins the Victorian Sprint Championship. PIC Paul Munt.

ASTON Dee Bee (Barcia Bale x Aston Elle Apr '15) recorded a new personal best at Sandown Park when winning his heat of the Group 1 Melbourne Cup on Friday night.

The black dog was only fairly into stride off box three but got room to move early, pushing through to take the lead from Pepper Fire (Spiral Nikita x West On Bluebird Jul '14) around the first turn.

It was game, set, match once Aston Dee Bee found the front, with the 36-kilogram chaser surging to the line to win by three and a half lengths over Not Available (Barcia Bale x Lochinvar Vogue Apr '15) in an exceptional 29.12.

Aston Dee Bee has been one of the most consistent greyhounds in training over the past few months, finishing second in both the Group 1 and the Group 1 Topgun.

Friday's win took his record to 26 wins and 10 placings from 47 starts, having earned over $210,000 for trainer and owner/breeder Ray Borda.

Striker Light back to her best

Striker Light winning at The Meadows. PIC: Paul Munt.

KELLY and Brett Bravo will be looking for their first win in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup next Friday night after their bonny bitch Striker Light (Kc And All x Pretty Fancy Mar '15) scored a determined win in her heat at Sandown Park.

Drawn ideally in box two with little speed around her, Striker Light began well and showed brilliant toe to find the early lead, putting a big margin on her rivals through the catching pen.

Swinging for home the black speedster began to get tired but had too much of a gap on her rivals, defeating Yarraman Ace (Surf Lorian x My Kinda Music Nov '14) by three and a half lengths in 29.37.

Astonishingly, punters could have gotten as much as $67 about Striker Light to win the final prior to her heat on Friday night. It is a massive price for a greyhound which has already won two group 1 races and has now saluted in 20 of her 39 starts.

If Striker Light is triumphant in next week's final she will take her earnings above $875,000 for the Bravos who own her with George Farrugia.

Raw Ability lives up to his name in Cup heat

Raw Ability winning the Group 1 Adelaide Cup. PIC: Kurt Donsberg Greyhound Photography.

RAW Ability (Barcia Bale x Bugatti Flyer Mar '15) overcame box six against a sensational field to win his heat of the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park on Friday.

Spearing the lids, Raw Ability pounced straight to the front and was never headed, crossing the line five and a half lengths ahead of Alpha Lucky (Barcia Bale x Queen Of Cyprus Dec '14) in a sizzling 29.20.

Prepared at Myrniong by Anthony Azzopardi, it was Raw Ability's first win since taking out the Group 1 Adelaide Cup (515m) in October, having found some bother in the Group 1 Topgun and at his most recent start at Sandown Park.

Raw Ability has now earned over $139,000 for Azzopardi, who also owns the black powerhouse with his wife Kylee.

Bewildering brilliant in his Cup heat

Bewildering winning the . PIC: Sandown Greyhounds.

BEWILDERING (Black Magic Opal x Outlandish Feb '15) proved why he is regarded as one of the fastest greyhounds in the country with a determined win in his heat of the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) on Friday night.

The black dog stepped fairly off box five, finding his way into second spot behind early leader Brueghelino (Banjo Boy x Easy Baby May '15) around the first turn.

Despite bumping a few times, Bewildering kept his balance, slipping into top gear down the back and quickly assuming the lead.

Once he was on the bunny it was a case of times and margins, charging clear to defeat a gallant Brueghelino by two and a half lengths in a fast 29.35.

Prepared by Jason and Seona Thompson, Bewildering is by 2013 Group 1 Melbourne Cup winner Black Magic Opal ( x Awesome Opal Feb '15) which was also prepared by team Thompson.

Both greyhounds were also owned by the See the Dream Syndicate which includes cousins Serge and Bill Buccilli.

Bewildering will go into the final having won 16 of his 34 starts with a personal best of 29.03 over the 515m trip.

Kouta Mayhem wins Melbourne Cup heat one

Kouta Mayhem wins a heat of the Bendigo Cup. PIC Bendigo GRC.

KOUTA Mayhem (Fabregas x Belle's Melody Mar '15) became the first greyhound to qualify for the 2017 edition of the world's richest greyhound race with a tenacious win in his heat of the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park.

Trained by Jason and Jessica Sharp, Kouta Mayhem was only fairly away from box four, but got room to move early and quickly accelerated, pushing up to take the lead around the first turn.

Race favourite Despacito (Black Magic Opal x El Brooklyn Jan '16) slipped straight into second spot, but the Great Chase winner was unable to get past the leader in the run to the line.

At the finish Kouta Mayhem had one and a half lengths up his sleeve, clocking a tide 29.57 over the sprint journey.

He has now won 14 of his 25 starts.