Seven heats of the $40,000 race over 450 metres have been drawn with the final taking place on Thursday, 27th of March 2014.
Heat One – 2014 Group Two Maitland Gold Cup (Race 1 @ 4:37pm)
Last start Golden Easter Egg Prelude winner Chica Destacada (5) lines up from the squeeze draw. This will be her first start at Maitland, but if she shows the form she has been showing at Wentworth Park and Richmond, she is a big hope of progressing through to the final.
Vanessa’s Flame (8) is only lightly raced but has won five of his seven career starts for Peter Lagogiane. He has had the one start at Maitland over the distance for a win in 25.33, which was last week. Prior to last week’s run, he had been running over 400 metres at Bulli and Richmond.
Another lightly raced dog that is talented is El Silverado. The El Grand Senor – Indiana Showgirl dog has had seven starts for three wins, with one of those wins coming at Maitland in 25.67. He has won from the box but is risky at box-rise, but can begin well if he wants to.
Of the experienced brigade, Glamorous Opal (4) stands out. The Carol Hudson trained bitch by Magic Sprite – Awesome Opal has a win and two placings from four starts over the Maitland Cup distance. Her best is 25.36 back in March last year and her current form is good, having been unplaced just once in her last ten starts. She has been racing in non-graded company at her last two starts over 400 metres at Maitland, running third to Yo Cool Maxie last week, beaten just two lengths.
Heat Two – 2014 Group Two Maitland Gold Cup (Race 4 @ 4:57pm)
This is a really hard heat, with a lot of talent engaged. The flying Mr Babicci (3) Will be making the trip down from the North Coast to contest heat two. The Collision – Dulcinea dog has been zooming around the 395 metre trip at Albion Park (breaking the track record in the process) and the 420 metres at Lismore. He loves box three, winning four from six. This will be his first start at Maitland and a small step up in distance for him.
Drawn next to him is fellow North Coast dog Sudoku Rebel (4). The James Gallaway trained chaser won at Maitland last week in 25.07. He had the suitable outside draw last week, but moves to a less than ideal box for this heat.
Bathurst Cup champion and last start Wentworth Park winner Zipping Tess (7) lines up from box seven. She had her last start at Maitland over this distance back in March last year, running third. She is yet to win from box seven, but in her last two runs she has displayed brilliant box manners which will be of great assistance to her in this heat.
Talented Disintergrate bitch Nosey Rozy (8) makes a long awaited return to racing after sustaining an injury back in October last year. She has won nine from 12 with one of those wins coming at Maitland in 25.31. She has scorched around Bulli in the past and has a win from box eight.
The Jason Mackay trained Fire Elusive (2) is well drawn in box two and may be the one capable of upsetting the other fast dogs in the race. He is well boxed on the inside and won here last week in 25.18. His box manners are mixed but he has won 10 from 26.
Heat Three – 2014 Group Two Maitland Gold Cup (Race 5 @ 5:17pm)
Jason Thompson’s Zulu Zircon (5) clocked 25.06 in a steward’s trial last week at Maitland. He is a recent Healesville Cup place-getter and contested the heats of the Horsham Cup. If he can run up to his trial, he will be hard to beat.
Rose Sannette (1) has seen Maitland plenty of times and is a box one bandit, winning six from nine. Her best time at Maitland is 25.17. The Cosmic Rumble – Sarah Sannette bitch has had 25 wins from 49 starts and is more than capable.
Warragai Boy (2) has taken to Maitland well with two wins from three starts over the 450 metre distance. His best is 25.32 and he loves box two.
Bella Senora (3) has also had two wins from three starts at the track with a best of 25.26. Her recent form has been a bit erratic around The Gardens and Wentworth Park.
Prince Tanga (4) has had seven starts at Maitland for three wins and three placings. He isn’t the best away and needs room to muster, which he may not get from this draw although his best time of 25.23 came while wearing the blue rug.
Lastly, the speedy Lil Miss Sparkle (8) has had three months off racing after failing from box one in a heat of the Goulburn Cup. She is great off the outside and has two wins at Maitland and a best of 25.25. She needs to lead to win.
Heat Four – 2014 Group Two Maitland Gold Cup (Race 6 @ 5:37pm)
Victorian star Paw Licking (4) is the headline act for this heat. If he displays his customary early toe he is sure to qualify for the final. He’s been placed in the Australian Cup, the Healesville Cup, Warragul Cup, and won the Hobart 1000 in track record time in the lead-up and is clearly the classiest runner in the race.
Local favourite and veteran Yo Cool Maxie (6) has been in great form, running track records at Gunnedah and Armidale in the lead-up to his recent Maitland Gold Collar win earlier this month over 400 metres. He has won nine from his last 10. He races in similar fashion to Paw Licking so they will be matching motors into the first turn. He has three wins over the 450 metre distance with a best of 25.24.
Zipping Logan (3) is a strong dog that ran second in the Group Three Cyril Rowe Plate at Bulli earlier this year. He hasn’t got the pace to match it with Paw Licking, but may be thereabouts if there is some strife up front.
New Gleam (1) loves the red rug and has won here at Maitland in 25.12. It wouldn’t surprise if he pulled off the upset. Devine Vegas (8) has only been unplaced once at Maitland but has not won from the outside after four attempts.
Heat Five – 2014 Group Two Maitland Gold Cup (Race 7 @ 5:57pm)
Classy veteran Gradence (5) gets to strut his stuff in heat five. The strong dog by Vapour Whirl – Ding’s Rocket isn’t a great beginner, but he has still managed to win 22 races despite this. He won the Group Three Cyril Rowe Plate at Bulli this year, finishing over the top of Zipping Logan from box one. The concern here is the draw. He has only managed one win from the squeeze box in his 81 start career.
Zipping Willow (6) returns to NSW after an Australian Cup campaign. She didn’t factor in the Australian Cup series but managed a 30.11 win at The Meadows on March 8. She has a fast 29.59 Wentworth Park win to her name and has won over the 400 metres at Maitland recently in 22.42. She is in with a big show if her box manners don’t let her down.
Bojack Kahn (3) is an interesting runner from box three. He’s has just the five starts for three wins and two placings. He has won from this box in 25.70, but his best time is 25.35. He needs to handle the step up in class and experience to feature.
Kilkenny Babe (4) may be best served by having a slow beginner on her outside. She is a good beginner with two wins at Maitland and she ran third in a non graded event here last week, and has a best of 25.31.
King Sapphire (2) has hit a bad run of form his last three starts but prior to that had been performing consistently in fifth grades. The last three starts have been in a non-graded event at Maitland and fourth and fifth grades at Wentworth Park. This indicates he may struggle with the jump in class. He has won three at Maitland and has a best of 25.35.
Heat Six – 2014 Group Two Maitland Gold Cup (Race 8 @ 6:17pm)
Launceston Cup winner Varcoe (4) has the chance to prove himself on the mainland after stewards trialling in a very quick 24.98 last week. The El Galo – Magic Dust dog has only been unplaced twice in his 19 start career. He has to contend with handy Victorian Waymore’s Blues (8). The Collide – Casey’s Angel dog trained by Glenn Rounds has seven wins from 15 starts. He hasn’t been beginning well at Ballarat, The Meadows and Sandown Park in his last three starts but prior to that had been beginning well. He has two wins from box eight.
Mexico City (2) won a free-for-all at Bulli last start clocking a flying 22.38 over the 400 metre trip. He is also a multiple Wentworth Park winner including a scorching win in 29.58. If the Where’s Pedro – Physical dog begins on terms he will be hard to run-down.
Of the others, Jake’s Run (5), Miner’s Moss (6) and Devine Awe (7) have all recorded wins over the distance but are rising in class.
Heat Seven – 2014 Group Two Maitland Gold Cup (Race 9 @ 6:37pm)
Mark Gatt has drawn the prime box with talented chaser Ridiculousness (1). With four wins from five starts, the Collision – Wonderous dog looks to have a bright future. He’s had two starts at Maitland for two victories and a best of 25.23. He is coming up against much more experienced dogs and this may work against him.
Glenreagh Rocket (7) won the free-for-all event at Maitland on March 6 over the 450 metre distance in 25.18. Garry Streatfield’s chaser has 22 wins from 50 starts and is a consistent beginner. Drawn on his immediate outside is Natural Player (8). Natural Player is part of the fast and successful Knocka Norris – Winning Shiraz litter trained by Mark Wilcox. He has the 350 metre Goulburn track record against his name and won at Maitland last week in 25.21. He has a perfect record from the pink, winning three from three.
Splash About (3) has been around Maitland a few times in her 56 start career. Over the 450 metre distance she has three wins from four attempts and recorded her best of 25.19 back in May 2012. Her most recent racing has been over the sprint trip and this will be the first time she has raced over this distance since August last year.
The heats feature a nice mix of experienced chasers and youngsters looking to make their mark. A comprehensive wrap of the heats will be available on the ARG website later this week and ARG will be providing a complete preview of the big final scheduled for next week.