Open to the eight nominated greyhounds with the fastest time over the 515m trip at Sandown between February 1 and May 1, 2016, the series will consist of four two dog match races. The winner of each match race will pocket $10,000, with the fastest overall earning the Speed Star title and an additional $15,000 for connections.
Trained by Geoff Scott-Smith, Dundee Osprey ($21 with Bet365) comes into the event as the third fastest qualifier overall, having clocked a phenomenal 29.11 on February 18. The son of Fabregas and Dundee Rose hasn’t been seen since finishing mid-field in the Group 2 Queensland Derby last month, with Scott-Smith choosing to give him a short freshen up.
“He came back from Queensland and he was a little bit tired – he slept for a couple of days,” Scott-smith told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Since then he has just taken it pretty easy – I have given him a couple of trials – just short little bursts – and he has gone very well.
“He seems to be feeling good now so we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
Dundee Osprey will start from box one in the first match race of the night at 7:45pm, with his rival being recent Perth Cup finalist Blazin’ Bomber. Trained by Darren Pattinson, Blazin’ Bomber ($4) qualified for the series with a slick 29.17 trial last Sunday, bettering his previous personal best of 29.28.
“Blazin’ Bomber ran 5.12 to the first mark on Sunday so that will probably put them pretty close together on Thursday night,” Scott-Smith said.
“My bloke has run 5.08, but he hasn’t done that in a while, although he has the inside which probably gives him a bit of an advantage.
“They are both very strong dogs so I think whatever can lead through the first turn and down the back will win it.”
A winner of seven of his 20 career starts, Dundee Osprey looks ideally suited in the one out style of race, with his tardy starts costing him in the traditional eight dog fields.
“He hasn’t got terribly good box manners and he just lacks that little bit of early speed to clear the field.
“He has got the ability to really accelerate in his races and you don’t see too many dogs like that.
“I don’t know exactly what he is capable of doing, he has gone 29.11 there but sometimes they can’t reproduce the same fast times they had in the past, even Fernando Bale couldn’t get back down to his 28.98 later on.”
Scott-Smith rates Dalgetty ($3), which has qualified the fastest in 29.09, is the dog to beat on Thursday night, with the Group 1 Temlee winner set to take on kennel mate Invictus Rapid ($7).
Also in contention for the prize are litter brothers Buck Forty ($11) and Burn One Down ($8) which will meet in the third match race, while Queensland bitch Outside Pass ($6) will take on Anthony Azzopardi’s Major Jackpot ($15) in the fourth and final match-up.
While it is a challenging feature, Scott-Smith says it is just a thrill to be a part of the innovative concept with his home-bred greyhound, who he believes racegoers are yet to see the best of.
“I bred the litter and they got sent away to Bathurst to be reared,” he said. “When they came back we started breaking them in up the straight track and all four of them were running absolutely sensational run home times for pups.
“We then took him coursing for a while to get some experience and he did pretty good. Once we got him to the racetrack you could see he didn’t have a lot of speed early, but he was always very strong.
“He had a few problems early on with illness and a broken fibula so he spent a bit of time out – but I think he is getting better and he is only just turning two and a quarter so I think his best racing is still in front of him.”
The Group 3 Bill Collins Memorial Speed Star is race three on the card this Thursday night, with the first match race set to jump at 7:45pm.
Group 3 Bill Collins Memorial Speed Star – overall winner
1 – Dundee Osprey – $21
2 – Blazin’ Bomber – $4
3 – Invictus Rapid – $7
4 – Dalgetty – $3
5 – Buck Forty – $11
6 – Burn One Down – $8 with Bet365
7 – Outside Pass – $6
8 – Major Jackpot – $15
1st Res – Allen Portland – $26
2nd Res – Dawkins Bale – $21
Group 3 Bill Collins Memorial Speed Star – match race one (7:45pm)
1 – Dundee Osprey – $3.50
2 – Blazin’ Bomber – $1.30
Group 3 Bill Collins Memorial Speed Star – match race two (7:54pm)
3 – Invictus Rapid – $2.50
4 – Dalgetty – $1.50
Group 3 Bill Collins Memorial Speed Star – match race three (8:03pm)
5 – Buck Forty – $2.05
6 – Burn One Down – $1.80
Group 3 Bill Collins Memorial Speed Star – match race four (8:12pm)
7 – Outside Pass – $1.45 with Bet365
8 – Major Jackpot – $2.75
Group 3 Bill Collins Memorial Speed Star – overall winner’s time
28.94 or quicker – $4
28.96 – 29.10 – $2.25
29.11 – 29.25 – $3
29.26 or slower – $10