Australian best sprinters converge on Sandown Park tonight for the heats of Australia’s richest ever greyhound race, the $250,000 Group 1 Schweppes Melbourne Cup.
The heats include 22 Group race winners holding a combined 33 Group titles and over $4.3 million in prizemoney. Each heat is worth $10,000 to the winner, and each heat winner will progress to the final where they will compete for the $175,000 first prize.
Queen Lauryn will be seeking her third Group final at Sandown Park this month when she jumps from box 4 in the first heat. A comprehensive winner of the Group 1 Solo Sapphrie Crown, ‘The Queen’ was narrowly defeated in a thrilling Group 3 Shootout last week. At her best she is among the best in the country, but will need some luck from the blue box. Velocette has a stunning personal best of 29.54 at Sandown Park and is drawn well inside ‘The Queen’. Miss Mini Mouse, attempting to become the first greyhound to reach three Melbourne Cup finals, but is drawn poorly in box 8 and will need to jump and cross the field to have any chance of creating history.
El Galo makes his Sandown Park debut in the second heat, race 4. A stunning winner of the TAB Topgun, El Galo has an excellent record from the middle boxes and is likely to start a warm favourite to reach his 11th Group final.
Queenslander Made To Size was impressive when third in last week’s Shootout and will be better for his first run in three months. Prepared by master mentor Reg Kay, Made To Size is one of Australia’s fastest sprinters when right and should be right in the finish tonight. Invisiting Me is talented and has been supported in early markets but will be tested from box 6 and is having his first run in over a month. Tasmanian Akka Boy won the Group 2 Launceston Cup in April and has a stunning record of seven wins from eight starts from box 1. He was unlucky last week and represents good value from box 1. Violet Crumble has been racing well.
Last start Group 2 Shepparton Cup winner Hanify’s Impact has drawn well in box 2 in heat four. Tasmanian Big Moose, kennel and litter-mate of Akka Boy, has 30 wins from 50 starts and was impressive last week. Sweet About Me has talent and has been racing in top class through most of her young career. Regal Thyme ran a gallant second in the Topgun before winning the Group 3 Silver Bullet, however he is better suited to the Meadows.
Heat five is an interesting contest, with the exciting wide-running Vintage Octane drawn box five inside the in-form hard-railing One Tree Hill. The two may cancel each other out, giving Hot Puzzle a chance to lead and Bo Frazier a cart into the race.
Heat six is also an even affair, with Group winners Sonador, Keeko Bale, Nitro Burst and Birthday Boy each having claims, as well as Bounding Billy and Cyclone Ned, who ran an equal Best of Night last week of 29.86.
Trew Millions is a remarkable chaser, having made nine Group finals and amassing over $130,000 in prizemoney. He has a good record from box 7, an impressive Sandown Park record and was an impressive winner last week. Taipan Bale has a good record, drawn box 1 and in the care of three-time Melbourne Cup winner Graeme Bate. Parracryl is a hard chasing youngster with a good record. Borat is a dual Group winner and was a last start runner up in the Group 2 Lismore Cup making his Victorian return.
In the final heat, Mantra Lad will start favourite from box 1. Trainer Graeme Jose was happy with his last start Group 3 Shootout winner drawing the inside box and if he can find the lead through the first turn he won’t be caught in the run to the line. Hybrid Theory has four wins from six Sandown starts including the Group 1 Laurels. Miss Slick is one of Western Australia’s fastest greyhounds and dual Group 2 race winner.
Three heats of the Group 2 Bold Trease Carnival Cup will also be run, featuring some of Australia’s best stayers including Chinatown Lad and Fallen Zorro, Lilley Criminal, Kulu Spirit and Gunnadoo Magic.
The heats of each Schweppes Melbourne Cup heat will be available on www.sandowngreyhounds.com.au from midnight. The box draw for the final will be conducted at the Melbourne Cup ball on Saturday 22 November and will be available on the Sandown website from 10.30pm.
Gates open at Sandown Park at 6.00pm with the first race at 7.07pm.