It took a track record but champion bitch Queen Lauryn was beaten in to second place in last night’s Group 3 Darwin Cup heats at Winnellie Park in the Northern Territory.
Starting a massive pre-post favourite to win the $20,000 to the winner Group 3 final on Friday night, the mutliple group winnig bitch loomed up to go past leader Voodoo Magic, but her run peaked and Voodoo Prince fought back well to claim the 537m track record. Both greyhounds managed to run under the track record mark.
The track record had stood since August 2007 to the credit of New South Wales greyhound Jinderra Flame at 31.48. The Wayne Vanderburg trained speed machine set the time standard winning the final of the 2007 version of the Group 3 Darwin Cup.
Voodoo Prince’s run took a further .03 second off that mark and officially he got in by a half head to Queen Lauryn with Uno Zephyr a further 7.5 lengths away. Voodoo Prince (Wild Voodoo ~ Lady Grove) is trained by Queenslander Rachel Scott and last night’s win was his ninth from thirty three starts and his first in group company.
But Queen Lauryn may have some excuses for not running the 537m trip right out. The Queen had come on season just prior to the running of the Superstayers Invitational toward the end of June forcing her scratching from that event and while she did make it back for the heats of the Group 1 Winter Carnival Cup, she could only manage a third behind eventual cup winner Trew Millions
Owner Steve Hawkins is reporting that due to the seasonal condition “The Queen” is currently racing two to three lengths off her best, particularly in her run home times. Certainly this is something we saw from her previously on her return to racing from seasons prior and trainer Tony Brett has opted to race her through this season to try get her form to hold up leading in to the major staying races in Victoria in October.
Fortunately for connections the loss doesn’t signal the end to the Queen’s Darwin Cup campaign and she has still qualified for the final drawing a very suitable box 8. Voodoo Prince will start from her inside in box 6.
Other heat winners included NSW greyhound Intelligence who made his heat a one act affair from box 1, winning by 6 lengths over Kallan Bale, with Iron Atlanta a further 1.5 lengths away in third in the time of 31.53.
And former Dave Robartson trained greyhound California Blue won the other heat for Queensland trainer Tom Tzouvelis in 31.84, getting in by 2 lengths from Sideways and Loneseom Mary a further 2 lengths astern.
The box draw for the Group 3 2009 Darwin Cup was held trackside after the heats and is :
2009 Group 3 Darwin Cup Final
FFA 537 Metres
- Box 1 – CALIFORNIA BLUE (QLD) T O Tzouvelis 4
- Box 2 – IRON ATALANTA B Smith 2
- Box 3 – KALLAN BALE (NSW) T O Tzouvelis 4
- Box 4 – INTELLIGENCE L Wylie 1
- Box 5 – SIDEWAYS (QLD) M J Chapman 2
- Box 6 – VOODOO PRINCE (QLD) R L Scott 2
- Box 7 – UNO ZEPHYR F Scott 2
- Box 8 – QUEEN LAURYN (QLD) T W Brett 1
- 1st Res – LONESOME MARY (NSW) F Scott 3
- 2nd Res – KEHUNGA J Osborne M