Five heats of the Group 1 Brisbane Cup were held Thursday night at Albion Park. Winners as well as the three fastest seconds would progress and more than a few fancied runners failed to earn their place in next week's final.
Qualifying fastest in a time of 30.08 was Victorian speedster Octane Show. Starting from box one in the opening heat, he came out running and led his rivals on a merry dance in what was a very impressive 3.75 length win. Diamond Stan pulled out a nice run for second to just hold out fast-finishing South Australian visitor, Random Test.
While favourite punters may have been pleased after heat one, it was a totally different story in heat two, when roughest dog of the field got up to score in 30.41. Hillcrest Gwen, starting as the juicy odds of $24.00 on Unitab, was able to hold off Kinka Bale in the concluding stages. Gnarly Boy started favourite for the race, but after being fairly out, was inconvenienced a number of times heading around the first turn.
Group winning South Australian, Boozeroo looked hard to beat in heat three. Drawn box one, Ossie Chegia's runner flew out and lead the field nicely heading down the back. But the race changed complexion when Boozeroo's lead was erased and local chasers He Knows Uno and Too Foolish took over, with Zambola Bale and Garis Garis close up. In a great driving finish, He Knows Uno was able to find the line first in 30.32, although Too Foolish had done enough to join him the final.
Perth Cup winner and Queensland pin-up dog, High Earner was making a return to Group 1 racing in the fourth heat, but Farmor Cee You for Peter Wilson happily spoilt the party. Another double-figure winner, Farmor Cee You made the most of the rails draw, and proved too strong for recent Melbourne Cup Finalist, Dee Winter in 30.28. High Earner was caught wide early and never looked like taking charge, finishing fourth.
The heats wrapped up with Red Rocket improving an already impressive record with a 30.16 win. Beginning well from the outside alley, Red Rocket settled behind Late Show Lee until it was time to make the winning move. With a length and a half to spare, Mick Zammit's young sprinter burst his way into the cup final, holding off Queensland Sprint representative Blazing Chaos, while Late Show Lee stuck on for a place.
The box draw for the $55,000 to-the-winner feature event sees both Octane Show and Red Rocket drawn rather awkwardly. Octane Show is looking to back up from his victory in the City of Ipswich Cup, and if he is able to lead from box five, the race should be his to lose.
Red Rocket will wear the blue rug, while the coveted rails draw has gone to Diamond Stan, who qualified as one the three fastest runner-ups. Blazing Chaos definitely has the ability to win, but will need luck from box three, likewise for He Knows Uno who'll be wearing pink on the outside. Too Foolish, Hillcrest Gwen, and Farmor Cee You are in boxes two, six and seven respectively while Dee Winter and Kinka Bale will have reserves duties.