The final has been at the mercy of scratchings, with pre-post favourite Double Twist (3) out of contention, along with Allen Malik (5) and National Time (7). With a new rule change that was made effective in June 2013, reserves are no longer automatically allocated the box in order of scratchings. What occurs now is a ballot after the scratching deadline. Peter Rocket and Punch One Out’s connections will not know what draw they get until after 9:00am on Saturday.
Fastest heat winner Veyron Bale (1) has drawn the prime inside position for this race. If he repeats the efforts of last week he will prove hard to beat.
Comments: Trainer unavailable for comment. ARG opinion is –He’s the fastest heat winner and has drawn the inside. He can be risky at box rise and will need to begin well. Was a strong performance last week so if he does lead, he will be hard to beat.
Comments: Edward Medhurst (Trainer) – “I’d like to think if he begins really well, that’s his only hope of being competitive is to lead. He’s quite capable, but I think his chances rely on him being on the bunny, thus a fast beginning is essential, especially in that class of field.”
Comments: Robert Britton (Trainer) – “If she can jump like last week and get a clear run, she’s got to be in the race. I’m not overly thrilled with the box but she did it from out there last week and just hope she can run the same race.”
Comments: Keith Hellmuth (Trainer) – “If he jumps alright, which he normally jumps pretty good and as long as nothing smashes him and he can get to that corner, he’ll go alright. I think every dog has a chance. He just needs a bit of luck going into that turn. He will try like you wouldn’t believe.”
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As always, a lot will depend on the start. There’s plenty of early speed in the field with Buckle Up Wes (4), Iona Seven (6) and current track record holder Punch One Out all going under the 5.40 mark to the post the first time last week. Boyce Road (8) is the youngster of the field. He isn’t even two years old yet, but has found himself in a Group 1 final after just 10 starts. He is capable of running time but will need luck from the outside draw. Veyron Bale’s performance was polished last week, he clocked 5.42 to the first mark, 17.83 down the back and ran home in 11.67. Double Twist’s run home was 11.52 but her earlier sections of 5.49 and 18.04 weren’t as good as Veyron Bale’s. The consistent Peter Rocket finds himself in another Group final and Manyana Groper (2) is in his first Group 1. Manyana Groper is likely to struggle in this field, as he doesn’t possess the early speed or overall best time at the track to compete with the dogs in this field. Whoever ends up winning the Paws Of Thunder will go home $100,000 richer.