TALENTED Victorian sprinter Crackerjack Choc will be aimed at the heats of the Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) at The Meadows on February 25 after a terrific win in Saturday night’s Group 2 Cranbourne Cup (520m).
Jumping from box two, the black dog was fairly into stride and was able to hug the fence in the early stages, slipping into third spot around the first turn.
Down the back Crackerjack Choc was able to push up along the rails as leader Archie Fields (box six) drifted off the track, assuming the top spot and kicking clear.
Despite a late challenge from Archie Fields, Crackerjack Choc was able to kick once more in the shadows of the post, scoring by 0.31 lengths in 30.14.
Race favourite Big Flood (box three) missed the kick and found trouble, finishing fifth.
The victory was a career highlight for both Crackerjack Choc and his trainer Anita Courts, who was hoping her greyhound would run a place heading into the $47,000-to-the-winner feature.
“I did give him a chance, but I didn’t at the same time. I thought it would have been great to run a placing behind Jason’s dog Big Flood – but when he railed up going past the 699m boxes I was really happy with him,” Courts told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I still didn’t get confident – even coming around the home turn I shut my eyes – it wasn’t until I heard them say he had won that I realised he got there.
“I was speechless – I couldn’t talk or breathe – it was an emotional feeling. You go in preparing yourself, hoping they’ll run a decent race but you never expect to come out and win.
“I am still on cloud nine – it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It was pretty much business as usual on Sunday morning with the dogs so I still haven’t had a chance to sit down and really think about it.
“But it’s a good feeling.”
Crackerjack Choc took his career statistics to 14 wins and 18 minor placings from 55 starts, with his prize money earnings now in excess of $93,000.
It was a dream result for Courts, who has been training greyhounds for just under a decade with her partner.
“I was born into the industry – my dad was never a superstar trainer, but he was a backyard hobbyist and he is still involved in the greyhounds.
“Once you are born into the industry you are in it for life, you can try and get out of it but it’s almost impossible.
“I have been training full time with my partner Michael Gibbons for around seven or eight years – we always have a small team in work.
“Prior to moving up with him I started off catching dogs at The Meadows, Sandown and Cranbourne so to even have a dog go into a group race was just unbelievable.”
The son of Cosmic Rumble and Lizzie’s Memory has since been announced as one of the top 56 greyhounds seeded into the heats of the 2017 Group 1 Australian Cup, with the qualifiers set to be run and won at The Meadows next Saturday night.
The other greyhounds seeded into the heats are as follows:
Hit The Highway
One For Me
Pop The Cork
Steel The Best