AFTER making 15 group race finals throughout her career, Ebby Ripper (Sh Avatar x Ebby Miss Feb ’15) will be aiming to capture her first win at the highest level when she contests Saturday’s Group 1 Association Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park.
The brindle bitch started from box one in her heat and was able to hold her spot on the fence in the early stages when race favourite Fanta Bale (David Bale x Ucme Typhoon Aug ’14) copped a check and was relegated to the back of the pack.
The jam in the early stages allowed Ebby Ripper to slip into second spot behind Victorian stayer Billy’s Bake (Barcia Bale x Evie’s Entity Mar ’15) and from there she proved way too strong, clearing out to win by five lengths in a fast 42.23.
Billy’s Bake finished second, with Simon Keeping (Bekim Bale x Kim Keeping May ’15) and Zipping Katelyn (Mogambo x Crafty Lady Sep ’15) also progressing through to the final after finishing third and fourth respectively.
Trainer Michael Eberand is thrilled to be heading into the $75,000 to the winner final for the second time, with Ebby Ripper finishing sixth in the 2017 final behind Trip To Eden.
“It was unfortunate for the champ [Fanta Bale] and a few others – but that’s racing and thankfully for us [Ebby Ripper] was able to avoid trouble and put herself in the race,” Eberand told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She got a bit of luck, but I’ll take that because she doesn’t normally get much luck in her races due to her racing style – the way she comes from behind she normally makes her own bad luck more often than not.”
Ebby Ripper has been a very handy bitch for Eberand, having won 20 of her 69 starts with 26 placings and over $172,000 in prize money earnings.
Saturday’s win was just her second start in the past month, with Eberand expecting her to strip fitter from the run.
“I believe she goes better when she is racing week to week, but it has been hard to find top grade races for her so we have had to keep the wheels in motion at home and by trialling,” he said.
“Based on that I’d like to think she has some improvement to come heading into the final – and I am hoping she also got a good confidence boost out of that run which is what she needed.”
Ebby Ripper will take on a sensational field in the final, the greyhound to beat being rising star Rippin’ Sam (Fernando Bale x Tears Siam Feb ’16) which captured his heat in a fast 42.25.
Eberand is pleased with his charge heading into the final after she drew box six, but says win, lose or draw she doesn’t have to prove anything to him.
“I like where she is drawn in the six. She has a natural tendency to move right at the beginning and race a little bit wide, so as long as she can miss the seven in the early stages I think she can find a nice spot.
“I am really happy with her – she has been a fantastic bitch for us. She has her share of knockers, but she is always thereabouts and she rarely runs a bad race.
“Obviously It would be a dream come true if she could win a group 1 – but even if she doesn’t we couldn’t be any prouder of what she’s already done.”
The Group 1 Association Cup will be run and won at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
2018 Group 1 Association Cup box draw
2- Zipping Katelyn
3- Big Daddy Bee
4- Billy’s Bake
5- Simon Keeping
6- Ebby Ripper
7- Tritt Tritt
8- Rippin’ Sam
9- Tahiti Pearl
10- Sharp Diamond