Last year’s Adelaide Cup winner was only fairly into stride off box eight and had to do plenty of work around the outside of the field, hitting the lead just before the post to score by a neck over Asa Barboza (Blazin Wildfire x Cawbourne Lexus Jul ’14) in 29.99.
Mick Eberand’s Barking Bad (Bella Infrared x Ebby Miss May ’14) rounded out the trifecta back in third, only half a length off the winner.
Trainer Jason Thompson, who prepares Aqua Cheetah with his wife Seona in Victoria, said the red fawn dog was drawn well but had to put in a big performance to collect the $75,000 winner’s cheque.
“He had to work for it,” Thompson told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He didn’t begin great, but that’s him – he probably only comes out well twice in every 10 starts.
“He was boxed very well and realistically if he had of drawn elsewhere it may have been a different result, but it was still a great effort because he did a fair bit of work during the race and he earnt it at the end.”
Aqua Cheetah has been racing well in recent weeks, having been on a ‘racing vacation’ in NSW under the care of leading Hunter Valley conditioner Jason Mackay.
Thompson said the break away from his normal routine in Victoria seems to have worked wonders for the 33-kilogram chaser.
“He has had a good campaign in Sydney. He went well in the Black Top series running second, then didn’t have much luck in the Bob Payne, but was able to top it all off by winning the Megastar.
“He is very adaptable and when they get to his age a bit of a change for a few weeks doesn’t hurt them and it certainly paid off this time.”
Aqua Cheetah, which is owned by childhood friends Mark Morgan and Ian Robertson, has now won 25 races from 66 starts with 20 placings and more than $300,000 in prize money earnings.
Thompson said the underrated greyhound deserves more credit for what he has been able to achieve throughout his consistent career, having now made nine group race finals.
“He is certainly not a real big-name or high profile dog, but if you go through his record he has achieved quite a lot.
“He won last year’s Adelaide Cup and has been placed in a lot of group races – so he has been a terrific race dog.”
Aqua Cheetah will now return to Thompson’s Pearcedale kennel before embarking on another interstate journey in a few days time when he aims to go back to back in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup.
The heats of the lucrative feature will be held at Angle Park this Thursday night, with Thompson rating him a big chance if he draws well.
“He is home [on Saturday] and he’ll head back to Adelaide for the Cup.
“He hasn’t seen Angle Park since he won his heat and final last year, but as I said he likes going to new tracks, and I think the track over there really suits him.
“We drew well at Dapto and if we are fortunate enough to draw kindly in Adelaide I think the dog is going well enough to be competitive in another group 1 race.”