After the high drama and remarkable scenes that dominated last years Melbourne Cup fiasco, both during and after the race; the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club will hopeful this years series will be remembered purely for the greyhound racing action.
Eight heats of Group 1 racing face us tonight from the Lightwood Road track, with most of Australia’s best credentialed greyhounds lining up for a shot at one of Australia’s most prestigious greyhound races.
Of the top sprinting greyhounds in the AGRA rankings that haven’t retired, only High Earner and Nova Surf** are missing from the lineups. High Earner was never considered for the series after a sub-optimal trial last week and the dog has subsequently shown a blood irregularity.
Those two greyhounds aside, the heats as usual are chock full of talent and as is always the case, the heats are more than likely to throw up the odd upset.
Sportsbet are running a pre post market on the 2009 Group 1 Melbourne Cup and they have installed Dyna Lachlan as a $6 favourite ahead of Velocette ($7.50), Turanza Bale ($8.00) and Cindeen Shelby ($9.00) as the only runners under doubles figures. As our regular readers would know Sportsbet offer a $200 Free Bet Bundle to all who register a new account using the Sportsbet Promo Code 27110.
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 1 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 2 – 7:25pm
The first heat of the series show why it is just so hard to make the final of the Melbourne Cup, with only heat winners qualifying for the $100,000 tot he winner final. Multiple group placegetter and National Sprint Champion Dashing Corsair has his work cut out for him after drawing off the track in box 7 with rapidly improving Lord Ducal drawn outside him in the 8. Lord Ducal made many stand up and take notice last week with a flying all the way 29.56 win from box 4.While he had previously broken the 30 second barrier, that run came after a his first group race effort running fifth behind Turanza Bale in the Group 3 Silver Bullet at The Meadows. Tardy beginner Dentax Bale has not drawn too poorly in box 5 and looks the best of the run on chances, but this race will more than likely be won by the greyhound who leads clearly as there is a ton of pace here. Wayward chaser Aston Volante looks best placed to lead up from the inside division, but Cyclone Ned could be the knockout dog from box 1, if only he would begin a little better than in recent starts. Race looks like Aston Volante will get the fly from the inside with Lord Ducal pushing down from the outside and Cyclone Ned and Fancy Mandy hunting for room early. Dentax Bale will need luck but can run down either Aston Volante or Lord Ducal.
Selections : 1st Aston Volante, 2nd Dentax Bale, 3rd Lord Ducal
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 2 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 3 – 7:44pm
Queen Lauryn returns here after dodging a Sandown Shootout start due to injury. It was the second time the bitch had been scratched from a major group final here at Sandown when the task already looked pretty tough for her to win, but whatever injury she had has made a fast recovery and she will start tonight from box 7. If she pings the lids, they won’t catch her based on her insanely fast 29.42 win here two starts back when this writer thought she still had a little more in the tank and might have gone quicker if not racing just a tad strange to the track. Box 7 is one of her favourite draws and this second heat is hers to lose. Will she jump or won’t she? If she does, she wins, if she doesn’t the ever consistent Remo Rubik will lead clearly from box 1 and will take a power of catching. The Wangaratta and Traralgon Cup winner didn’t have much luck in the Shepparton Cup final last start, but has an almost perfect record off box 1 and he is racing very well under Geoff Mitchell’s guidance. Those two are the only real hopes. Maybe My Lippling best placed to run in to third.
Selections : 1st Remo Rubik, 2nd Queen Lauryn, 3rd My Lippling
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 3 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 4 – 8:09pm
Very national flavour to this third heat with Tassie’s Topline Doovee taking on WA’s Miss Slick, NSW greyhound True Kihael and champion Victorian Velocette. Miss Slick has never had much luck at Sandown and despite being a Group 1 Perth Cup winner her best racing looks behind her. Topline Doovee did travel interstate to win the Group 2 WA Oaks but failed poorly at her only start here. True Kihael is without a doubt one of my favourite greyhounds and since transferring to McDonald’s kennel seems to be showing quite a bit more spring from the boxes. He will need a little luck from the draw but is as strong as they come and a win will not surprise. Velocette doesn’t need to do much more having only raced out of group company once in his last 8 starts. He won the Sandown Shootout here last week very impressively but the box draw hasn’t been kind, drawing inside True Kihael and Prankster, both of whom look likely to lead him. Velocette is a high quality greyhound but I can’t see him getting enough luck in running to win this. Eighth Wonder, who can’t win, looks likely to cause trouble inside by leading early with Topline Doovee, Miss Slick, Pheonix Night and Velocette all getting in each others roads early. True Kihael and Prankster look most likely to be the ones pushing over from outside. Prankster doesn’t like it rough and racing three wide won’t suit him.
Selections : 1st True Kihael, 2nd Topline Doovee, 3rd Eight Wonder
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 4 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 5 – 8:28pm
Speedy but vastly overrated Cosmic Rumble takes on a classy field including Birthday Boy and Trew Millions. If there was any justice in this world Birthday Boy would blaze past Cosmic Rumble and win this conclusively, after for the second year in a row, he was relegated to a reserve for the Sandown Shootout. Without a doubt it was Cosmic Rumble, who despite having never even placed in a group final, again made an “invitation” field based on “expert” selection; and took Birthday Boy’s place. After showing some indifferent form midway through the year Birthday Boy has been performing very consistently of late and his last start was a flying 29.67 effort at The Meadows beating Lord Ducal. Freshened for this I can’t see him getting beaten as Cosmic Rumble won’t like the pressure from his outside and will wilt yet again under pressure. Iron dog Trew Millions will need to really ping to win this, which I don’t see happening and Mr Moorooduc gets the easiest run in the race from box 2 with the now pedestrian Teaman Titch only making up the numbers in box 1.
Selections : 1st Birthday Boy, 2nd Mr Moorooduc, 3rd Trew Millions
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 5 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 6 – 8:52pm
Excitement machine Gripen Bale vs Cindeen Shelby with Bogie Bomber and Paragon Patch the only possible other hopes. This heat promises to be the race of the night if Cindeen Shelby pings the lids and Gripen Bale hunts up behind her off box 1. Gripen Bale has shown some freakish ability to find gaps in running and is possibly the one of the strongest finishers in training. Unfortunately he is pedestrian early, which is like death on this track, so will need plenty of room to gain that inside run through the first corner to go after Cindeen Shelby who should be highballing out in front 4 lengths clear of everything else. It is impossible not to appreciate the rare form Cindeen Shelby is racing in, having won the Paws Of Thunder, Topgun and Sapphire Crown in successive starts. Unbeaten here I think she wins again but it will get very interesting if Gripen Bale gets sight of her in clear running. Whatever you do tonight do not miss this race, you might just see something very special.
Selections : 1st Cindeen Shelby, 2nd Gripen Bale, 3rd Paragon Patch
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 6 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 7 – 9:11pm
The Meadows new track record holder Turanza Bale gets every chance to make another group final from box 2 here. Has been stepping just a fraction off from the boxes and did look like he was going to be in trouble with speedy Octane Show drawn inside him. But the scratching of Octane Show and replacement with Surfing Boy is a massive advantage to Turanza Bale, who now has slow beginners drawn either side of him. Turanza Bale’s last eight starts have all been in group company, winning the Group 3 Silver Bullet at The Meadows and running second to Velocette in last weeks Sandown Shootout. Skaise is the only other runner capable of leading him here from box 6 with both New Model and Lismore Cup winner Robo Raptor both trying for runs from wide draws. Turanza Bale wins and wins by panels.
Selections : 1st Turanza Bale, 2nd Skaise, 3rd Robo Raptor
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 7 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 9 – 9:55pm
Looks another race for a Wheeler owned greyhound in Dyna Lachlan. Perfectly drawn out in box 8, Dyna Lachlan faces one of the weaker heats and comes in to the race with a last start 29.82 win here from box 4. If there is a danger is could be upset runner Bora Bale who looks a strong chance to head off Galba Jack and Ain’t Workin on the inside. Slow beginners Danny Phantom and Mantra Lad will need plenty of luck as they both look likely to be covered by the whole field from their inside draws. Digital Magic is the query runner for trainer Mick Abbott. Dhe won the Group 1 Futurity early in the year and then made the Group 2 Queensland Futurity in March. Has a very impressive strike rate but might be better placed against her own sex.
Selections : 1st Dyna Lachlan, 2nd Bora Bale , 3rd Mantra Lad
Group 1 2009 Melbourne Cup Heat 8 – Sandown Greyhounds – Race 10 – 10:15pm
Nice race to finish off the heats with NSW best greyhound Take The Kitty taking on Flash Of Light, who has drawn ideally down in box 1; and Group 3 SA Derby winner Dyna Forte (although he is likely to lose that race after returning a positive swab to procaine). If Flash Of Light can begin as well as we know she can from box 1, it will take a very big run to beat her as she has a PB on the track of 29.65 and has been in very consistent form of late. Joanne Monelli who ran second to Flash Of Light last start is an obvious place chance again from box 2, while Allen Zander has been racing well and did win last start here in 29.78 beating Take The Kitty. Take The Kitty had to overcome quite a bit of trouble to run second at her first start here last week and will need to have derived benefit from the run to feature here. He can begin fast at times and if the Ken Cheetham trained runner does step then Flash of Light will know she is in a race. Just a few too many “if’s” for me and have to go with the well drawn runner Flash Of Light.
Selections : 1st Flash Of Light, 2nd Take The Kitty , 3rd Joanne Monelli
** Please note we had originally reported Nova Surf as being sold to overseas interests. We had no reason to believe that information was incorrect as it reputedly came direct from the buyer.
Allan Tindall has been in contact to say she is still in Australia and will very much continue to race here.