While Australia’s best sprinters continue their quest for the Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park this Saturday night, the premier staying event on the New South Wales greyhound racing calendar also gets underway.
Three heats of the time honoured Association Cup will be conducted and it has attracted the bulk of the lands best half-milers, including an army of Victorians.
The race was first conducted on the hallowed grass of Harold Park way back in 1965 before moving to Wentworth Park in 1988.
Fancy Liza defeated Bell Haven to take out the 2013 running of the race.
The 2014 installment promises to be another cracker with three heats that are flushed with talent.
Let’s take a look at the three heats;
Race 2 – Association Cup Heat 1 – 7:47pm
Victorian raiders dominate the main chances in the first heat with some exciting conveyances set to kick off proceedings. There is a surprising amount of pace in the race and the run to the straight the first time could be telling for a few of these.
Multiple track record holder Xylia Allen (1) stakes the star billing in the first heat as she looks to add a Group One staying event to her already bulging list of accomplishments. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale (Droopys Vieri – Francesca Bale) tuned up for this by setting a new 680 metre track record at Geelong and has already won the Group One Peter Mosman at Wentworth Park over the 520 metres. She should be able to lead here and it could be a case of “eyes on the clock” as this exciting staying prospect burns up the loam.
Infinite Wish (2) is racing in the best form of her career in Victoria and seems to grow a leg at Wentworth Park. She can race on the pace and was narrowly beaten here in last year’s Sydney Cup final. If she can be on the speed early she should feature in the finish.
Victorian trainer Kelly Bravo brings her classy stayer Alpe D’Huez (6) to Wentworth Park for the first time and the regally bred son of Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse (Where’s Pedro – Zarbo) could not be in better form. He stormed home for consecutive 715 metre wins at Sandown before showing his versatility, leading all-the-way to score over 600 metres at The Meadows last start. If he adapts to Wentworth Park, he could figure prominently.
Hala Belle (7) is a bold on-pace type who also makes her Sydney debut for Peter Akathiotis. She has ran some eye catching races at Sandown over this trip and made the final of the Group One Super Stayers and Bold Trease events in recent times.
Eleazar (8) recently made the final of the Gold Cup at Wentworth Park and finished sixth to Dyna Willow in track record time. She is another on-pace type who will need to lead to feature.
Wag Tail (4) comes back to Wentworth Park for another crack at Group glory after performing well at Albion Park, but is yet to prove herself against this sort of quality.
Set Her Again (5) has been performing well over middle distances in Queensland but has failed in two trips to Wentworth Park and looks tested.
Race 3 – Association Cup Heat 2 – 8:10pm
The second heat is another race over-flowing with top quality stayers with impressive resume’s, including a multiple Wentworth Park Group winner, as well as two greyhounds who have broken track-records at their last start.
Dyna Willow (5) is the current undisputed staying Queen Of Wentworth Park and comes into this after recently smashing the track record of the great Miata at this very venue. The daughter of Collision and Horizon Bale (Stately Bird – Vodeena Bale) has won five of her six Wentworth Park appearances and can win from the front or running on. She is the obvious one to beat here.
Born Ali (1) recently finished second behind Dyna Willow here in the Gold Cup final and has won two from four at the Glebe circuit. She took out the Perth Galaxy early in the year and is always thereabouts in these big races. She has won five from 11 from the coveted rails alley and looms as one of the major players in this second heat.
Whodat Knockin’ (2) comes into this race after breaking the 699 metre track-record at Cranbourne at his most recent outing. His recent form before that had been mixed, but he was a finalist in the Group One Super Stayers event. He will need to be on his best behaviour to win here.
Sweet It Is (3) has recently moved to the astute kennel of Darren McDonald and is a promising stayer. She was a finalist in both the Group One Bold Trease and Super Stayers recently in Victoria and looks ready to take the next step. She has not drawn an easy heat here but is capable of putting herself in the finish.
Ash Flash (4) makes the trip over from Western Australia where her form is good. She was a Group One Galaxy finalist where she finished seventh to Born Ali. This is a steep class rise on recent racing for her.
Heidi Go Seek (8) has good middle-distance form in Victoria but is yet to be proven over the longer trip.
Shoe Laces Lady (6) looks tested on recent form and only boasts a best of 42.77 here in three attempts.
Miss Fiction (7) has an average strike-rate but has won three over this trip. She has never flattered on the clock and tends to need luck in the run. This race looks to be too hard for her.
Race 4 – Association Cup Heat 3 – 8:27pm
The final heat looks a very open affair with a few of the runners taking the step to the longer trip at the top level and hoping for a bit of luck in transit.
Dyna Kayla is a young stayer who has already been placed twice at Group One level. The daughter of Surf Lorian and Amity Bale (Sonic Flight – Evonne Bale) has only missed a place in four of her fourteen starts. One of those occasions was in her only start at Wentworth Park where she had little luck behind Born Ali in a heat of the Gold Cup. She finished second in both the Bold Trease and the Super Stayers and has to be heavily considered in this field.
Cawbourne Looney (1) is a Wentworth Park specialist who has won eight from 20 at this trip. She has a best time of 41.94 and loves the inside draw where she has won four from six. She finished fourth behind Dyna Willow in the recent Gold Cup final and gets her chance in this race. She could find herself in front and giving them plenty to catch here.
Lethal Three (7) is another Victorian making her Wenty debut. She was a finalist in the Super Stayers at The Meadows and has won at Sandown since that time. She tends to do her best racing on the pace so the first hundred metres will be vital.
Hailstorm Billy (6) graduates to the staying trip here and has an eye catching run home style of racing. He recently finished second to Xylia Allen in track-record time. He may find himself a little closer to the front in a race like this.
Rocky Bale (5) is a littermate to Dyna Kayla with a terrific strike-rate. He finished second to Whodat Knockin’s track-record run and was placed behind Hala Belle at his only recent 700 run. He should relish this journey and is a smokey in this race.
Pumped Up Zarr (8) produced a personal best of 42.33 winning here last start but faces a sharp rise in class for this race.
Little Red (4) finished last behind Dyna Willow in a heat of the Gold Cup and her strike-rate is only fair. She would have to improve to feature.
Folk Tails (2) as only won one from five at this trip and it was in a moderate 42.56. She looks to be tested in this grade.