When the lids flew open, NSW stayer Melissa’s Pride (box eight) charged across to take the lead, kicking clear ahead of Azurite (box six) and Trip To Eden which settled in third spot.
Down the back it was still Melissa’s Pride showing the way, but Azurite began cutting back the margin as Trip To Eden hooked to the outside, circling the leading duo around the home turn and roaring away to score by four lengths in 42.54.
Azurite stuck on well to finish second, with Dundee Calypso (box five) flashing home to grab third.
Melissa’s Pride got tired in the run to the line, finishing in fourth spot.
A son of Solve The Puzzle and Key To Eden, Trip To Eden has now won 14 of his 36 starts with an additional 13 minor placings.
Bob launches into Australian Cup
AEROPLANE Bob put in a top performance to claim the final Group 1 Australian Cup qualifier on Saturday night at The Meadows.
In a roughly run affair, the 36-kilogram chaser was only slowly away from box two, but was able to rail through into third position around the first turn as the field raced tightly.
Down the back, Don’t Kid Me (box three) was leading the way over Allen Dynamo (box one), but Aeroplane Bob was in the clear and had the front runners in his sights.
Running past the 600m boxes, the Jason Thompson-trained dog circled around Allen Dynamo before switching back to the fence and railing underneath Don’t Kid Me to hit the lead in the run to the line.
At the finish the winning margin was 1.31 lengths, with Aeroplane Bob clocking a respectable 30.04 over the 525m distance.
Bomber blazes in Cup heat
BLAZIN’ Bomber was back to his brilliant best in the seventh heat of the Group 1 Australian Cup at The Meadows.
The Darren Pattinson-trained dog came into the event following his second placing behind Fanta Bale in the Group 1 Rookie Rebel (600m) last start, but was not going to settle for anything less than a win on Saturday night.
Stepping well from box one, the black dog positioned up well behind Helga Bale (box four) before unleashing his move down the back straight, reaching the lead and drawing clear to score by three lengths in 29.74.
Lightning strikes again
LIGHTNING Frank stamped his authority as one of the best greyhounds in the country with a sensational victory in his heat of the Australian Cup.
Beginning brilliantly from box eight, the Matt Wright-trained greyhound made every post a winner, scorching to the line to score by just under five lengths in a blistering 29.53.
Invictus Rapid (box three) ran a terrific race for Jason Thompson, clocking 29.87, with Crackerjack Choc (box two) filling the trifecta back in third.
Lightning Frank, a son of Black Magic Opal and Kirabilli Abbie, has now won 16 of his 26 starts, including seven of his past nine racetrack appearances.
It has been a terrific start to the year for ‘Frank’, having already won the Group 1 Silver Chief Classic and the Group 1 Temlee, both of which were over the 525m trip at The Meadows.
Burn One Down scores brilliant come from behind win
AUSTRALIA’S best stayer, Burn One Down, was at his best once again on Saturday night, scoring a come from behind win in the second heat of the Group 1 Super Stayers at The Meadows.
The Jason Thompson-trained dog was poor to begin from box five and was last in the early stages before weaving his way through the field to sit in third spot down the back the second time.
Despite spotting the leader Teddy Monelli (box six) 10 lengths down the back, the black dog never gave in, storming home down the outside of the track to score by 2.3 lengths in 42.35.
Burn One Down has now won his past four starts including the Group 1 Zoom Top on February 18.
Matt Machine motors into Australian Cup
A DETERMINED effort has booked Matt Machine a berth in the Australian Cup final after defeating a cracking field to score in his qualifier on Saturday night.
The son of SH Avatar and Love To Rock was safely away from box three, sitting behind Mitcharlie Mia (box six) and Rippin Hayne (box one) through the catching pen before barging his way towards the fence and railing through to take the lead entering the back straight.
Once out in front it was a case of times and margins, with the Brooke Ennis-trained greyhound sprinting away from his opponents to record an emphatic win in 29.84.
Rippin Hayne ran a terrific race to finish second, with Jason Thompson’s Aqua Cheetah finishing the race off well to run third.
Fantastic Fanta through to Australian Cup
FANTA Bale will be in line for her third group 1 victory in next Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) at The Meadows after a tough victory in her heat.
The Robert Britton-trained powerhouse was fairly away from box one, slipping into second spot behind tearaway leader Shima Song (box five).
Heading into the back straight, the daughter of David Bale and Ucme Typhoon began to make her run alongside the classy Unlawful Entry (box three), with those two going stride for stride in pursuit of the leader.
Swinging for home it was a race in three, with Fanta Bale going home the best in the centre of the line of three to salute in 30.01.
Unlawful Entry was back to his best form, finishing second, with Shima Song far from disgraced when placing third.
Fling first through to Super Stayers
IT’S A Fling has become the first greyhound through to next week’s Group 1 Super Stayers final (725m) after a strong performance over the staying trip on Saturday night.
Stepping from box eight, the black bitch was beaten for speed by Runway Bono (box two), Ringer (box one) and Bogie Bekim (box three), settling in fourth position in the run past the line on the first occasion.
Through the catching pen, It’s A Fling switched back to the fence, railing into second spot behind Ringer as Runway Bono drifted back through the field.
Down the back, the daughter of Collision and It’s A Blur circled to the outside of the lamplighter, charging to the front and racing away to score by three lengths over a fast finishing Obi Kenobi (box five) in 42.58.
Also running on well to finish third was Jaimandy Hatty (box seven), with the three early leaders filling the last three spots over the line.
Race favourite Ebby Ripper (box six) found trouble and never got into the event, finishing fifth.
ASTON Bolero will line up in his 13th group race final next weekend after taking out the third heat of the Group 1 Australian Cup on Saturday night.
Jumping from box seven, the son of Fabregas and Aston Dream was only fairly away, but mustered pace in the run to the line on the first occasion.
As he was carving across, Bruce Tycoon (box four) cut down to the fence, hampering Striker Light (box one) which was poised to assume the lead.
The interference allowed Aston Bolero to cross with ease, sprinting clear of his opposition to score in a slick 29.91.
Striker Light recovered to finish second, with Bruce Tycoon rounding out the trifecta back in third spot.
Amazingly, Aston Bolero has now won 46 races, with his career earnings now in excess of $360,000.
Greenough’s greyhound explosive
EMINENT Reality scored a scintillating victory in the second heat of the Australian Cup, clocking a breathtaking 29.62 over the 525m trip.
When the lids flew open, the black dog was fairly into stride but was quickly joined and crossed by WA sprinter Penny Monelli (box eight).
Heading down the back, Penny Monelli was bounding along beautifully, but Eminent Reality wasn’t going away, levelling up on the outside of the leader and applying the pressure.
Half way down the home straight Eminent Reality slipped into top gear, sprinting clear to defeat Penny Monelli and Landmark.
Trained by prominent conditioner Kel Greenough, Eminent Reality was having just his fifth start in Victoria since making the move from WA, recording his third win, his second at The Meadows.
Monaro Monelli the first through to Australian Cup final
WA greyhound Monaro Monelli ($13) upset some of his more fancied rivals to score a dominant victory in the opening heat of the Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) at The Meadows.
Despite only beginning fairly from box six, the black dog was able to push his way up into fourth spot around the first turn.
Heading down the back straight, multiple group winner Pantera Nera (box three) was showing the way, but was soon tackled by Eddie Eagle (box four) as Monaro Monelli moved into third spot.
Swinging for home, the son of Barcia Bale and Sharon Monelli hooked to the outside, storming down the centre of the track to score over Eddie Eagle in 30.13.
Race favourite Pantera Nera weakened in the run to the line to finish third.
Owned by David Hobby, Monaro Monelli has now won 19 of his 56 starts with an additional 24 minor placings.
Update: Sleek Master (1) dropped a back muscle throughout the run.