Named after a stayer who is a part of Australian greyhound racing folklore, the Group One 2014 Bold Trease Carnival Cup kicks off with four heats at Sandown Park this Thursday night.
Bold Trease, also known as the Warrnambool Warrior, was a real “dog of the people” who captured the imagination of the racing public in the late 1980’s.
Despite winning 51 of his 104 career starts, Bold Trease will always be remembered for winning four Sandown Cups, a feat that many believe will never be equalled.
It is only fitting that a Group One event over that distance honours the former champion and, with any luck, it could unearth another of his ilk.
The 2014 installment of the race features an eclectic mix of established stayers and up-and-comers in the quartet of heats.
The recent retirement of super star Xylia Allen as well as multiple Group winner Dyna Willow opens the door for the next generation to make their mark.
A year can be a long time in greyhound racing and that is highlighted by the fact that probable series favourite Sweet It Is will be the only finalist from 2013 to contest this year’s heats.
The dynamic bitch entered the final in 2013 with just two wins to her name. She is now a triple Group One winner who could well make it four in this event.
Here is a look at the main chances in each of the four heats;
Race 3 – Solo Bold Trease Heat 1 – 7:43pm
In an open first heat She Shall Rock (7) looks to be the major player. The David Crawford trained bitch has a tremendous record at Sandown winning three from seven with a further three placings. She has a best of 41.90 and has won one of her two starts from box seven. She does her best work on the pace and will be looking to be prominent early.
Mepunga Tiara (3) may not have the most flattering recent form but could well return to form here. She has had four runs back from a five week layoff, all of which have been over sprint or middle distance trips. She returns to her preferred distance now and has a good record at Sandown. If she produces a run anywhere near her best of 41.95, she will be right in this one.
Big Kat (6) looks the best of the rest. She does not win out of turn but boasts a best of 42.13 in her only win at this trip from four attempts.
Race 4 – Solo Bold Trease Heat 2 – 8:08pm
A couple of big guns emerge in the second heat; none bigger than the exciting Darren McDonald trained bitch Sweet It Is (2). The girl with the best run home in the business is in white hot form, winning her last three. She has won five from 10 over this journey including a swift 41.46 effort. Given half a crack at them, she should be right in the finish.
Flying Twist (1) is drawn to land on the bunny and give them something to chase here. She is rarely far away and should get plenty of room early to ply her trade. If she can go near her best of 41.80 from the front, she is going to take some catching.
An interesting runner in this heat is Space Star (6) who has recently landed in the kennels of Rob Britton. He showed enourmous potential very early in his career and was a Sydney Cup finalist earlier in 2014. He gets his opportunity to take the next step and make his mark in the top grade in Victoria now.
Eddie Lieshout will rug up his young bitch Bailey Rose (3) for another crack at Group glory. She has made two Group finals already in 2014 and is a powerful finisher. She is yet to win at Sandown but has placed in five of seven and given the right breaks could be very close at the business end of proceedings.
Race 9 – Solo Bold Trease Heat 3 – 9:55pm
Zipping Maggie (2) looms as one of the main chances in the third heat. The Peter Dapiran trained stayer has made multiple Group finals this year and took out the Group Three Chairman’s Cup at Wentworth Park in September. She does her best racing from on the speed and looks drawn to get the opportunity to do so here. Her last two runs have been a little below her best but she has won two from five here including a best of 41.85 and has to be considered.
Dyna Kayla (3) resumes here in her first run since late August. She is a maturing type who was making Group finals as a puppy. If she is anywhere near her best she should be competitive in this field.
Sisco Rage (5) has struck a rich vein of form lately and should be suited by his return to distance racing. He has saluted in five of his last six over the middle distances and could find himself in the firing line early over this journey. He has a big motor and is racing as well as ever.
Julie Bale (7) made an impression at her Sandown distance racing debut when she won in 42.31. She backed up two days later to run second over the sprint trip at The Meadows and now comes into this off a five day break. She could be each way value.
Race 10 – Solo Bold Trease Heat 4 – 10:15pm
Brooke Ennis unleashes her exciting type Blinker’s On (8) in the final heat. He has won his last four, all over staying trips, and has stopped the clock at 41.71 from a wide draw here before. He may need a little bit of room in transit to allow him to run home but there can be no doubting his ability.
Zipping Rory (7) has been flying for Bethany Dapiran and comes into this looking the goods. He has a solid record at Sandown including a quick 41.67 win in July. If he can land near the front he will be a massive show.
Rising four-year-old Born Ali (3) has a plethora of big race experience and is a Group One winning race bitch. She has her third run back from a break here and there is little doubt that mentor Rob Britton will have her firing for this. Her record at Sandown is nothing flash but her best of 41.97 would be competitive here.
Shot To Bits (5) rattled home to win his last start at this trip in a handy 41.87. If he can reproduce that effort he may land an upset here.
Zipping Joe (1) is in the strong Darren McDonald kennel and has never missed a place from box one in six outings. He has produced a 42.13 run here in the past and may be capable of improvement on his recent form given the nice draw.