It may be the hottest time on the Hobart racing calendar, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature, as all seven heats of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand were staged on a very wet and rainy night last Thursday.
More rain is predicted for this week, but that won’t stop these eight quality greyhounds, putting on a spectacular show of racing.
The $75,000 to-the-winner final, sees some of the leading trainers from around the country all doing battle to take home the final Group 1 prize of the decade.
PRANKSTER (Box 1) – Robert Britton (VIC)
Box one is always a great advantage in feature races, and Robert Britton would be delighted to have in-form runner, Prankster, drawn the rails for an event such as this. The Bombastic Shiraz – Classy Alice dog has made it back-to-back Group One finals and will be looking to atone his seventh placing in the Melbourne Cup. Prankster began only fairly in his heat, but was able to capitalise on the two other fancied runners tangling early. His winning time of 26.34 was only modest, but he’s likely to improve with a run at the track under his belt.
HURRICANE LUKE (Box 2)– Ruth Matic (NSW)
Hurricane Luke, drawn box two, had a tough time getting past the speedy Pedro Pronto last week before going on to record 26.47. Judging by how well he used box one to get by some early traffic, this draw for the final looks ideal. The main concern is whether he can begin fast enough to keep up with some of the stronger runners. In a previous start at Hobart some weeks back, this bold sprinter began really well and ran 26.00, and will most likely need to find that form again in order to take the prize.
SILENT GUARDIAN (Box 3) – Darren McDonald (VIC)
Clearly the most impressive of the heat winners, this highly promising sprinter gave nothing else a chance, and ran 26.04 in doing so. That being easily the fastest of the seven heats, Silent Guardian looks to be the better of the two McDonald runners. The only question mark will be whether or not Silent Guardian has the experience under pressure, to be able to outrun his more accomplished opponents, at only his 15th start. In easier races, he’s been able to miss the kick and still be too classy. He won’t get away with that here, but a repeat performance of last week will see him win. The Dare To Dream syndicate could have a star in the making.
ULTRA RUMBLE (Box 4) – Darren McDonald (VIC)
The second of the Darren McDonald runners looks to have a tough task ahead of him. Beginning in the back half of the field last week, Ultra Rumble was able to run down tearaway leader, Pure Thirst, in the concluding stages. The winning time (26.19) was fairly quick though, and he would probably be in the market if it weren’t for the horror draw. But in reality, he’s not the best beginner and the opposition won’t be so easy to run down this week. He’ll need a lot of luck to feature.
REMO RUBIK (Box 5) – GEOFFERY MITCHELL (VIC)
Another runner whose made back-to-back Group One finals, Remo Rubik is quickly becoming a consistent top class performer. He was simply too quick for them in the heat, in a race which included the likes of Stylish Monty (5th) and Turanza Bale (3rd). He ran 26.24 at his first attempt at Hobart, but that can be improved. Unfortunately, the Kerrigan Syndicate can’t draw a box of late, and Remo Rubik will be awkwardly placed again. But the runners directly around him have been known to walk out, and he still gets a chance to lead here, providing he can cross Silent Guardian. It’ll take a mighty effort to catch him if that occurs.
GRIPEN BALE (Box 6) – Greame Bate (VIC)
It wouldn’t be a Hobart Thousand if Graeme Bate didn’t have a runner, and Gripen Bale adds to the list of great dogs in this race. He began midfield from box eight last week, and gave the promising Octane Show a 3L start and a 5.25L beating in 26.14. If Gripen Bale draws better, he probably starts odds-on, but from box six there’s always the possibility of interference. In saying that, he’s a super dog with a super strike rate (16sts 11-4-0) and Graeme Bate knows how to win this race. Given a clear run, he’ll go awfully close to Group One glory.
DISINTERGRATE (Box 7) – Charlie Gatt (NSW)
Qualifying as the quickest second placegetter from the heats, Disintergrate just edges out local hope, Hellbound, to make the race all-interstate affair. But Charlie Gatt’s representative is far from making up numbers. Defeated narrowly last week, Disintergrate looked to burst to the lead early, but found interference as Topline Doovee tried to cross. This allowed the eventual winner, Prankster, into the race. Disintergrate fought on gamely to go down by 0.75L and lost no admirers. There are stronger dogs around him now, so leading looks the only way to go. From box seven however, doubts exist as to whether he can cross the likes of Silent Guardian and Remo Rubik.
BELLS PACE (Box 8) – Sam Sultana (NSW)
Bells Pace rounds out the field, and will looking to round them up out wide. Winning his heat in the slowest time (26.54), Bells Pace was the beneficiary of odds-on favourite, Gardam Prince getting a timely hip-and-shoulder from local runner Akka Boy. Having triallied in 26.22 before the heats, Bells Pace looks to slightly lack the class of the more fancied runners. It will surprise if he beat them all on merit, but there could be interference again this week, and Bells Pace will be the first to profit.