South Australian greyhound fans would be waking up with a smile today after the locally owned and trained Hopes Up emphatically won the S.A Oaks at Angle Park last night. The distinctly coloured blue and white bitch started the race at $3.30 second elect behind the Peter Dundon trained Stetson Donna, with Sammy’s Sister ($5.70) and Dyna Cari ($7.00) given the best chances behind the popular duo.
However once the lids went up, it was a totally different affair, with the favourite missing the kick from the rails, and Hopes Up beginning brilliantly next door in box two. Arcadia Shiraz ($22.50) burnt across wearing pink however was unable to find the front around the first bend, while Sometimes Speedy ($15.20) for Troy Murray was positioned just behind them.
Dyna Cari and Sammy’s Sister were stuck in traffic as the front pair stretched the lead down the back, and suddenly a local victory appeared likely.
Approaching the top turn it appeared Arcadia Shiraz was taking ground off Hopes Up, and with nothing else near enough to challenge, all eyes were keenly watching the upcoming home straight battle.
But with experience on its side, Hopes Up clung on to the lead while resisting the charge from Oswald Chegia’s runner and took out the $25,000 national Group 3 event by three-quarters of a length. Outsider of the field, Significant Bit ($33.50) for Bob Isaacson put in the run of its career to make it a local trifecta; one which paid over a $1000 for punters if they were brave enough to take it.
The time for the final was 29.98 and while it was not quite the 29.80 that Hopes Up set back in March, it would surely be the most important run of her short career. Now having amassed 23 wins from 37 starts, and making it 13 from 21 at the Cardigan Street venue, the May 2010 whelping has probably flown under the national radar as one of the true up-and-coming stars of racing in the southern part of the country.
It would seem only natural that a tilt at the Adelaide Cup – SA’s only Group 1 event – should be the next agenda for the daughter of El Galo and Little Looper, considering its form over the past three months.
While on the topic of the Adelaide Cup, there were a few other big names competing at Angle Park last night in preparation for the heats, scheduled to be run on October 4. Heston Bale stepped around in the Free For All event, failing to flatter in fourth place. After missing the start clearly, the Meadows track record holder went towards the rail and then looked lost on the first corner before failing to warm up from there on. He was beaten almost six lengths behind eventual winner, Zara Zulu, who is another obviously looking to take home some riches in October and had no trouble in leading all the way. Point Two Over still showed he has the ability to match it with the best despite being old enough to claim a government pension, pushing the former Australian Cup winner to within a head.
We have seen on multiple occasions that a previous run on the tight Angle Park track is invaluable before any major series, especially with the different lure system used in South Australia. There remains little doubt that Heston Bale, and those other visitors expected to head over in coming days will run bigger and better races when the stakes increase in October.