Mepunga Ruby overcomes travel fears to salute in Gold Cup
Mepunga Ruby might not be the best traveller, but she might have a companion to keep her at ease for Victorian and interstate trips after her victory in the Gold Cup at Albion Park.
The $2.40 favourite for Jeff Britton and Angela Langton showed all her class and experience to lead all the way and triumph by 1 ½ lengths, comfortably holding off runner-up and kennelmate, Korda.
In the lead-up to this Group 3 stayers' race over 710m and worth $143,750, Britton told Australian Racing Greyhound his star three-year-old bitch can be fussy while in transit.
He was nervous after her flight to Brisbane got delayed by an hour because even if she's in a vehicle which rattles around, she can get agitated on the way to Victorian venues.
But the Anakie-based veteran came out and blitzed her heat in 41.95 seconds and was even better in Thursday night's final, saluting in 41.93 seconds.
And due to Korda's impressive performance, the two-year-old could soon keep her at ease as a travel buddy.
Mepunga Ruby's next assignment will be the Group 1 Zoom Top over 730m at The Meadows on February 11, and Korda now looks likely to accompany her.
“I was hoping they would quinella because I was hoping Korda would get an invite into the Zoom Top now that he ran second,” Langton told Racing Queensland after the completion of the Gold Cup.
“He's only a baby Korda and he's done so well already, and it's probably good for Mepunga Ruby to have someone to travel with.”
Finding the front early from box three, Mepunga Ruby set the pace, with Korda never too far behind his Group 1-winning kennelmate.
With a lap to go, the Jedda Cutlack-trained Sorority found the fence to settle in third.
The trio held their positions for the next 437m, and it was exactly the way Langton and Britton envisioned how the race should pan out.
“It played out that way in my head,” Langton said.
Langton and Britton now think their star duo will be highly competitive in the Group 1 Queensland Cup during winter.
“If Ruby is going as well in six months she'll definitely come back and, hopefully, Korda is going just as well, if not better by then,” Langton said.
Albion Park – 2023 Gold Cup Race Replay, 2/2/23
1st: Mepunga Ruby (3) – 41.90 seconds
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