The prestigious event looks to be at the mercy of Robert Britton’s Space Star, undeniably the best stayer in Australia, which has won 14 of his 18 starts since joining Britton’s kennel last November. The big striding son of Bekim Bale and Tonto Tears clocked a mind-boggling 41.26 in his heat last week, the second fastest time ever recorded over the track and trip. He is currently the $1.22 favourite with William Hill after drawing box eight, a box from which he is unbeaten in four starts.
Punter’s are reluctant to forget Sweet It Is, currently the $3.90 second elect, which bounced back for her first win last week since resuming from a seasonal spell, clocking 41.82. The time was considerably slower than her 41.46 personal best, with the daughter of Mogambo and Off Springer appearing a few lengths short of her best form this preparation. Being a four-time Group 1 winner and the victor of last year’s Sandown Cup, you certainly cannot dismiss her entirely.
Lady Toy, a $12 chance, is another main contender, after winning her heat in 41.80 last week. The unfashionably-bred daughter of Our Toyman and Railway Shiraz has had to play runner-up to Space Star in big finals on a couple of occasions, so she deserves some time in the limelight, but she does face a tough task from the middle alley.
The Group 1 Sandown Cup is race eight on the card this Thursday night and is set to jump at 9:35pm.
Lets check out the form and statistics of all the runners in the final, with expert comments from Australian Racing Greyhound‘s tipster, Brad Bugeja.
Black Bitch – 26.1kg – August 2012
Cosmic Rumble x Fancy Conquest
Trainer: Robert Britton
T/D Best: 42.04
Career Highlights: WON Nowra 36.58, Richmond 42.66, The Meadows 42.99.
“She has excelled since coming from NSW and she is a quality stayer on her night, however, she is taking on the big guns in this race and she will need a lot to go her way. She turned in a strong performance when placed in her heat but she was still beaten in the slowest heat time. Great effort to qualify but I doubt that she can make an impact.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $21 with William Hill
Box Two – Sweet It Is
Black Bitch – 29.1kg – November 2011
Mogambo x Off Springer
Trainer: Braden Finn
T/D Best: 41.46
Career Highlights: WON 2014 Group 1 National Distance Championship, 2014 Group 1 Association Cup, 2014 Group 1 Sandown Cup, 2014 Group 1 Bold Trease, 2014 Group 3 Sydney Cup, 3RD 2014 Group 1 Sale Cup, FINALIST 2013 Group 1 Bold Trease, 2014 Group 1 Superstayers, 2014 Group 3 Chariman’s Cup, 2015 Group 1 Association Cup.
“Superstar stayer and she turned in a herculean performance to score here last week in 41.82. She has gone much quicker on the clock previously and if given a clear run she will take a power of beating. However, her racing pattern suggests that she is likely to find bother at some point in the run and she is going to need Space Star to get held up at some point. Clearly a great winning chance but I think she might have to settle for the quinella spot.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $3.90 with William Hill
Box Three – Love Affair
Black Bitch – 26.6kg – October 2012
Bekim Bale x Glory Of Love
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
T/D Best: NBT
Career Highlights: WON Cranbourne 30.52, The Meadows 34.54, 42.71, 42.77.
“Consistent stayer who is about a length or two off this class. She has recorded two great placings here in recent weeks and a similar effort tonight could see her possibly sneak into third spot. She will need them to shuffle up front for her to have any chance but she will be massive odds the place and she could be a solid value bet for third.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $34 with William Hill
Box Four – Lady Toy
Black Bitch – 29.4kg – June 2012
Our Toyman x Railway Shiraz
Trainer: Brooke Ennis
T/D Best: 41.80
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Listed Maidment Memorial, 2ND 2015 Group 1 WA Galaxy, 2015 Group 1 Association Cup, 2015 Group 1 Superstayes, 3RD 2013 Group 3 Lizrene, FINALIST 2015 Group 1 Zoom Top, 2015 Group 1 Sandown Cup.
“All class and she has returned to form in recent weeks with two brilliant wins over this trip. The box draw is a big disadvantage tonight but she has no speed at all drawn underneath and if she can get away cleanly she should be able to cross and find the rail. She does her best racing when she can scrape the paint and if she gets a nice sit early she should be right in the mix at the end.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $12 with William Hill
Box Five – Zipping Maggie
Dark Brindle Bitch – 27.8kg – May 2012
Turanza Bale x Natalie Rass
Trainer: Peter Dapiran
T/D Best: 41.85
Career Highlights: WON 2014 Group 3 Chairman’s Cup, 2ND 2014 Group 3 Summer Cup, FINALIST 2014 Group 1 Bold Trease, 2014 Group 2 AWM Dstance Championship, 2014 Group 3 Topcat Video Cup, 2015 Group 3 Sydney Cup, 2015 Group 1 Association Cup, 2015 Group 3 Wentworth Park Gold Cup.
“Has never really lived up to the early potential she showed but she has made a lot of finals and she does have the ability to cause an upset. Last week she was prominent for most of the trip and it took an almighty performance from Sweet It Is to reel her in. There isn’t a lot of speed in this event so if she happens to find the top she could definitely run a place.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $23 with William Hill
Box Six – Mullaway
Black Dog – 34.8kg – May 2012
Velocette x Halzani
Trainer: Joanne Price
T/D Best: NBT
Career Highlights: WON Albion Park 34.55 TR, 2ND 2014 President’s Cup, 2ND 2013 Group 3 Wentworth Park Gold Cup, FINALIST 2014 Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup, 2014 Winter Chase, 2014 Big Dog Challenge.
“Classy Queenslander who has been racing well over the longer journeys of late but he is better suited back to the 600-metre trip. Last week he found a little bother in his heat but he was still soundly beaten by Space Star and from the draw tonight I think he will be finding quite a bit of trouble in running.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $51 with William Hill
Box Seven – Unix Bale
Brindle Bitch – 28.4kg – March 2012
Collision x Mamie Bale
Trainer: Steve Collins
T/D Best: 42.09
Career Highlights: FINALIST 2014 Group 3 SA Oaks, 2015 Group 1 Association Cup.
“She is not normally known for her strength over this trip, however last week she took a nice sit in the early stages and she managed to run over the top of her rivals in the closing stages. Her winning time of 42.09 was quite steady though and a repeat of that run won’t see her make an impact tonight.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $71 with William Hill
Box Eight – Space Star
Black Dog – 35.4kg – June 2012
Bekim Bale x Tonto Tears
Trainer: Robert Britton
T/D Best: 41.26
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 1 Association Cup, 2015 Group 1 WA Galaxy, 2015 Group 1 Zoom Top, 2015 Group 2 Summer Distance Plate, 2015 Group 3 Wentworth Park Gold Cup, Gosford 34.21 TR, Richmond 35.00 TR, The Meadows 41.93 TR, 2ND 2014 Group 1 Bold Trease, 2ND 2014 Group 1 Sale Cup, 3RD 2015 Group 1 Superstayers.
“Just when you think he can’t possibly get any better, he pings the lids and destroys a quality lineup in a breathtaking 41.26 here last week. His winning time alone puts him around eight lengths clear of his next rival and he has the perfect draw. I’m expecting him to step fairly cleanly and this race lacks early speed, so he should assume control quite early in the race and that should be the end of the section. He is the best stayer in the land and by the time he finishes up he will go down as one of the greats.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $1.22 with William Hill
1st Reserve – Know Danger
Blue Dog – 32.3kg – April 2012
Scotexcited x Know Best
Trainer: James Shaw
T/D Best: NBT
Career Highlights: WON Sandown 34.36.
“Solid stayer who was soundly beaten in his heat last week. When you look at the time, the run wasn’t that bad, however I think he is better suited to the middle distances.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $91 with William Hill
2nd Reserve – Dzeko
Black Bitch – 26.0kg – October 2012
Radley Bale x Rematch
Trainer: Angela Jackson
T/D Best: 41.55
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 3 Lizrene, Albion Park 34.91, Sandown Park 41.55, 41.67.
“Classy stayer who if she happened to gain a start she would be a legitimate chance of winning. She can show early speed in her races and she did run the hands off the clock when posting an eye popping 41.55 win here two runs back. Unlikely to start but would be a top chance if she did.”
Odds to win the Sandown Cup: $10 with William Hill
Top Four: 8 – 2 – 4 – 3
Trifecta: 8/2,3,4/2,3,4 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 8/2,3,4/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 8/2/Field ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 8/2,3,4 ($3 for 100%)