Mantra Lad proved himself one of the fastest greyhounds in Australia and scored a unique double that is unlikely to be repeated, after the reigning National Distance Champion’s last stride win over Queen Lauryn in the Group 3 Shootout at Sandown Park last tonight.
Trainer Graeme Jose was confident of his charge’s chances after drawing box 7 in the four dog spectacular, and his confidence would have improved further when outsider One Tree Hill ($8.40) crossed to the rails, checking Queensland raider Made To Size ($6.70) and momentarily impeding the run of favourite Queen Lauryn ($1.80).
However the interference forced Mantra Lad ($2.80) out to the centre of the track and the National Distance Champions was last rounding the first turn.
Mantra Lad showed his great strength entering the back straight, sweeping past One Tree Hill and Made To Size before setting off in pursuit of Queen Lauryn, who had railed strongly to skip to a four length lead.
In an epic run to the line, Queen Lauryn drifted to the centre of the track while Mantra Lad switched to the rails and the pair went stride for stride for the final 50 metres. As the two greyhound gunslingers hit the line together, connections were forced to wait a few anxious moments before Mantra Lad was awarded his first sprint title. The time of 29.86 was the best of the night in the wet and windy conditions.
You can watch a full reply of the Group 3 2008 Sandown Shoutout here : Mantra Lad’s Last Stride Sandown Shootout Win
“What a great dog, it’s a dream come true,” said an emotional Jose after Mantra Lad improved his record to 11 wins from 24 starts and over $125,000 in prizemoney.
Jose will now have to decide whether his versatile champion will contest the heats of Australia’s richest greyhound race, the $250,000 Group 1 Schweppes Melbourne Cup, or return to distance racing and contest the $36,000 Group 2 Bold Trease Carnival Cup. The heats of both races will be run next Thursday night at Sandown Park, with the final to be run on Thursday 27 November.
Officially Mantra Lad won by a half head from Queen Lauryn with Made To Size 2.2 lengths further back in third. One Tree Hill was ther abject failure of the race finishing a further 5.5 lengths back from Made To Size and a 7.75 lengths from Mantra Lad.
Mantra Lad is a red fawn dog owned by Martin and Fiona Hallinan and trained by Graeme Jose. The sone of Pure Octane and Al Fresco is a July 2006 whelping and has now had 24 starts for 11 wins and 7 minor placings with total career earnings of $135,705.
Last night’s Group 3 Sandown Shootout win adds to his other impressive Group Racing results which include a win in the Group 1 2008 National Distance Championship at Wentworth Park in August 2008, a second in the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder again at Wentworth Park in October 2008, a fifth behind El Galo’s controversial 2008 Group 1 Topgun win in October 2008 and another fifth in the 2008 Group 2 AWM Distance Championship at The Meadows behind Sky Hazzard.
First run in 1993 the Sandown Shooout has traditionally been run as a paid entry race with the connections of the greyhounds engaged putting up their own cash to race in the winner take all event. This year was the first year the event has been run as free entry race.
Sandown Shootout Full Honour Roll
- 1998 Reggemite Allan Britton 29.74
- 1999 Great Wish George Kantzidis 29.83
- 2000 Go Wild Teddy Mark Bell 29.71
- 2001 Junior Whisky Judy Hayley 30.00
- 2002 Silver Saul Angela Modra 29.90
- 2003 Bombastic Shiraz Darren Cairns 30.17
- 2004 Whisky Assassin Jason Thompson 29.69
- 2005 Bond Darren McDonald 29.38 (Track Record)
- 2006 Jaimandy Coops Paul Donohue 29.63
- 2007 Cool Effort Darren McDonald 29.71