The 2014 Group One Brisbane Cup looms as one of the most exciting editions on paper after six heats were run and won at Albion Park last night.
Favourite punters got off to a flying start in the first heat with Keybow saluting comfortably for leading Victorian mentor Darren McDonald.
Beginning evenly with the field from box three, the son of Take The Kitty and Key Exit quickly put the paw to the floor and crossed to the rails around the first turn. Once he found the front it was a case of times and margins, with the Perth Cup winner cruising to the line three and three quarter lengths clear of a gallant Cyndie’s Special in a slick 29.81.
Cyndie’s Special qualified for the big final next week, running a top race from box one for trainer Bill Elson.
The second heat saw boom Queenslander Happy Haswell sent out as the $2.20 favourite from box seven.
As he usually does, Happy Haswell came out a fraction behind the field before mustering pace to sit in fourth spot around the first turn.
However, by that time, the Darryl Chapman- trained Exhibitionist had already speared to the front and had a substantial break on the classy field chasing her.
Despite his best efforts, Happy Haswell couldn’t catch her in the run to the line as Exhibitionist scored by just under five lengths in a quick 29.91.
The consistent Bill’s Fantasy and reigning Brisbane Cup champ Kiss Me Ketut duelled for favouritism in the third heat with honours going to the former by the time the lids flew open.
Both were in the top half of the field in the early stages, with Kiss Me Ketut doing the better of the two as he sat second behind the leader Fusaichi Kahn.
It was another race where you had to be on the bunny, with Kiss Me Ketut unable to reel in the lamplighter in the home straight.
Starting at double figure odds, Fusaichi Kahn, a regally bred son of Where’s Pedro and Daydream, clocked a fast 29.96 in recording his eighth win from 31 starts.
Kiss Me Ketut did enough to earn his spot in the feature final where he will be aiming to become just the second chaser to win two Brisbane Cups since its inception in 1972.
Punters only wanted to be on one greyhound in the fourth qualifier and that was the Peter Young-trained Iva Vision which started at a skinny $1.20.
Stepping well from box two, he had plenty of time to find top gear in the run to the line on the first occasion and, once he found the front, it was all over. The son of Ivan Brown and Visualization stopped the clock in a handy 30.15 at what was his first run back in the Sunshine State since claiming the Group Three Sandown Shootout and running second in a heat of the Melbourne Cup.
Gun Victorian chaser Awesome Project was another short priced favourite in the fifth heat, looking to give Darren McDonald two through to the $75,000 to the winner final.
The son of Collision and Honour Phase raced in an ideal third position throughout the race but, just as he was about to start his run approaching the home turn , he was dragged down by another greyhound and lost all chances, ultimately finishing sixth.
His misfortune enabled the leader, Le Sirenuse, to skip away and record a three length triumph in 30.17.
The sixth and final heat lost its star attraction when My Bro Fabio was withdrawn due to injury earlier in the week. This opened the race up for the local stars, all looking to secure their spot in next week’s big one.
Beginning beautifully from box seven, You Can Talk found the front in the early stages and the daughter of Outa Credit and You Say So was never headed from that point onwards.
Race favourite Clash Of Kings tried gamely tried to chase her down but had to settle for second as You Can Talk triumphed by one and three quarter lengths in 30.20.
The box draw for next week’s Brisbane Cup is as follows:
1. Cyndie’s Special
2. Iva Vision
3. You Can Talk
5. Le Sirenuse
6. Fusaichi Kahn
8. Kiss Me Ketut
9. Happy Haswell
10. Clash Of Kings
It will be a big night at Albion Park next Thursday, with an additional two races added to the card.
ARG will have a full preview of the race prior to the final.