After three rounds of gruelling competition, just eight greyhounds remain in contention for top honours and the lucrative $250,000 first prize.
The current favourite for the race is Fernando Bale (box eight) at $2.40 with online bookmaker William Hill. The Andrea Dailly-trained runner continued his love affair with the Sydney track in his semi-final last weekend, clocking a sublime 29.34 over the 520-metre trip.
Bookies and punters alike have flagged the son of Kelsos Fusileer and Chloe Allen as the one to beat, despite being drawn out wide on the track, due to his flawless box manners and sheer speed. He will be aiming to give leviathan owner-breeder Paul Wheeler his third Egg trophy within the space of five years, with Wheeler pocketing the cash in 2011 and 2013 with Radley Bale and Grigorieva Bale respectively.
Wheeler has four runners in the final – his other charges being Dawkins Bale (box one), Dyna Double One (box four) and Dyna Nico (box five).
Another series star has been Over Limit, which will start from box three in the decider. The son of Cosmic Rumble and Nova Surf dazzled at his Wentworth Park debut a fortnight ago, clocking 29.46 for leading trainer Paul Stuart and followed that up with a solid second in his semi-final behind Dyna Nico.
NSW has just one representative in the feature, National Futurity winner Zipping Midge (box two) for Hunter Valley conditioner Jason Mackay. Zipping Midge will be aiming to become the first greyhound to claim the National Futurity and Golden Easter Egg double.
Recruitment (box six) and Ronray Spirit (box seven) round out the field, with both chasers in devastating form at present. Like Over Limit, they are both sired by Cosmic Rumble, with all three aiming to emulate the feat of their sire which took out the event back in 2010.
Check out the form of each finalist below, including expert comment from Australian Racing Greyhound‘s tipster Brad Bugeja.
Box One: Dawkins Bale
Black Dog – 32.0kg – February 2013
Turanza Bale x Bala Bale
Trainer: Jenny Hunt
T/D Best: 29.47
Career Highlights: WON Sandown Park 29.63, The Meadows 29.85
“He has always looked to be a star chaser in the making and after a good stretch of form he really put it altogether here last week. From this draw last week he managed to step cleanly and drive through at the first turn and, although he ran second, he probably turned in the best performance of his career when narrowly beaten by Fernando Bale. From the red draw again he should be able to push through into a commanding position early and a win would not surprise me at all. It is also worth mentioning that he has a wide runner drawn directly on his outside, so that should work in his favour.”
Box Two: Zipping Midge
Black Bitch – 27.1kg – November 2012
Fabregas x Zipping Jewel
Trainer: Jason Mackay
T/D Best: 29.67
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 1 National Futurity, Maitland 25.23
“Won the Futurity here in early February and until last week she had struggled to regain that type of form. After beginning well in her heat she was always in contention and she was far from disgraced when finishing third behind Dyna Nico. She tends to do her best racing when she can lead and dictate the terms, but I can’t see that happening in this event, so she really does face an uphill battle.
Odds to win the Golden Easter Egg: $21 with William Hill
Box Three: Over Limit
Black Dog – 29.9kg – September 2012
Cosmic Rumble x Nova Surf
Trainer: Paul Stuart
T/D Best: 29.46
Career Highlights: WON Ballarat 24.77 TR, Shepparton 25.15, Geelong 25.25, The Meadows 29.66
“Absolute beast and he turned in a great effort to run home and grab second spot and qualify last week. The week prior he showed devastating pace and was one of the most impressive heat winners when posting a blistering 29.46. He has produced breathtaking times at every track he has raced at and he is capable of matching it with Dyna Double One and Fernando Bale, however the box draw is a big concern tonight. He has a wide runner underneath and a keen railer on his outside, so he will need everything to go right soon after box rise. He is definitely a winning chance, but I can’t tip him with too much confidence.”
Odds to win the Golden Easter Egg: $4.60 with William Hill
Box Four: Dyna Double One
Black Dog – 33.5kg – March 2013
Barcia Bale x Crystin Bale
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation, The Meadows 29.52, 3rd 2015 Group 1 Silver Chief Classic
“One of the fastest chasers on the planet and if given a clear run he would probably take this race out, however, he can make mistakes at box rise and with the speedy Dyna Nico on his outside he is going to need a heap of luck. Last week he was able to use his rails draw to advantage and he was able shoulder his way through at the first turn – with so much speed around him tonight he must do everything right. He is currently around the $7 mark with William Hill and that is great odds about a chaser of his calibre, if you’re looking for value he could be the one as he won’t go around at those odds again for quite some time.”
Odds to win the Golden Easter Egg: $7 with William Hill
Box Five: Dyna Nico
Brindle Bitch – 28.3kg – July 2012
High Earner x Maple Bale
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
T/D Best: 29.55
Career Highlights: WON 2015 The Collerson, 3RD 2015 Group 1 National Futurity
“Surprised everyone last week, even her trainer, after she posted an all the way heat win in 29.55. She has always been a brilliant beginner and she is extremely honest, however she normally finds the last 50 metres of this journey very testing. I still think last week’s overall effort was a one off and I can’t see her finding the line like that again. She has the speed to lead and be a nuisance up front and that might allow her to hold on for some minor money.”
Odds to win the Golden Easter Egg: $8.50 with William Hill
Box Six: Recruitment
Black Dog – 34.0kg – February 2012
Cosmic Rumble x Josette Bale
Trainer: Deborah Coleman
T/D Best: 29.57
Career Highlights: WON The Meadows 29.84, FINALIST 2015 Group 1 Australian Cup
“Has really come of age this series and continues to go from strength to strength. He has proven in the past three months that he has what it takes to be competitive at this level and also be a major player when the final of these big races comes around. The big concern with him tonight is that he is really poorly-drawn out wide and he won’t be afforded the same favours he was in his semi-final when he exited the red box. Great effort to qualify and he is all class, but I just can’t see him being a factor from this alley.”
Odds to win the Golden Easter Egg: $17 with William Hill
Box Seven: Ronray Spirit
Black Dog – 33.9kg – December 2012
Cosmic Rumble x Ronray Disco
Trainer: Terrence Reid
T/D Best: 29.65
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 2 Warragul Cup, FINALIST 2015 Group 2 Shepparton Cup
“Brilliant beginner and his past three efforts over this distance range have been extremely impressive. In the first round of heats he showed tremendous early speed and never really looked in doubt when scoring in 29.65. If he could produce something similar tonight he has some chance at big odds. The wide draw isn’t too bad as he normally boxes quite well and I’m expecting Dyna Nico to carve up the inside division. If that occurs that might allow him to get the fly with Fernando Bale. This is big test for him tonight, but he deserves his spot and he is capable of taking home some prize money.”
Odds to win the Golden Easter Egg: $14 with William Hill
Box Eight: Fernando Bale
White and Dark Brindle Dog – 29.4kg – March 2013
Kelsos Fusileer x Chloe Allen
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
T/D Best: 29.37
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 1 National Derby, 2015 Ballarat Derby
“This star chaser really reminds of the great El Galo, but I think this bloke has a better turn of foot. He has won five of his six starts over this track and three of those wins have been in sub 29.50. He is generally faultless at box rise and it doesn’t take him long to hit top gear, last week he roared through the first marker in a mind blowing 5.27 and if he reproduces that type of effort he will be off and gone with the prize at the first bend. He is clearly my top pick, but I do have one small concern: this race is filled with fast beginners and if he happens to hesitate at the start there is every chance he will be posted wide at the first turn. His form at present is just too hard to ignore and he will continue to take all before him in the coming months.”
Odds to win the Golden Easter Egg: $2.30 with William Hill
Quinella: 8 to rove with 1,3,7 ($3 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,3,8/1,3,7,8 ($9 for 100%)
Trifecta: 8/1,3,7/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,8/1,8/Field ($12 for 100%)