The winner of the Group 1 Adelaide Cup will pocket $75,000 with the placegetters earning $30,000 between them, in a race loaded with early speed.
It has been written on this site before how the Oaks and Derby finals have been good form races for the Cup in previous years, and again the winners of both those events take their place.
The last local greyhound to claim the Cup was Miss Spicy in 2006, but Ernie Bung Arrow from the Ken Gill kennel could end the Victorian streak after again coming up with the pink rug. The November 2011 son of Lochinvar Marlow, who got his name from the Aboriginal term for a sand goanna (Bungarra), ripped the heart out of his rivals from the same draw last week with a lightening start to claim his twelfth win from only thirteen starts in a time of 29.60.
While this is most certainly his toughest test to date, there seems no reason why he can’t repeat the dose and use his electric early speed to avoid trouble and claim his second Group final in three weeks.
Should Ernie put a paw wrong however, there will no second chances with a mountain of talent also eyeing off the same prize.
Tomac Bale has also been given an identical draw as his heat, and will give the Delbridge family the best possible chance to claim their first Group 1 race from box one. After being awkwardly away last week, Tomac Bale’s class shone through and he sailed into the final with a comfortable 29.63 run. With that look under his belt he could be unstoppable with a better getaway, but luck in running will be the critical factor.
Farmor Las Vegas showed the Adelaide crowd that he was as good as any of the visiting brigade, making the final emphatically with an amazing 29.36 win from box six. Starting from box five for the main event, he will need to show similar acceleration to overcome the likely traffic on the first bend, but with room to move his best is capable enough and should start at least each-way odds.
Big race regular, Jason Thompson won this event in 2009 with El Galo and this year has Ronan Izmir starting from box two. After hitting a raw nerve with locals with his 2009 post-race comments, Thompson will be treading thin ice should he be making another acceptance speech on the Angle Park podium. Ronan Izmir is a realistic chance of making this happen and if Tomac Bale misses the kick, Thompson’s runner will find the fence and make a dash toward the front. His heat time was identical to that of Tomac Bale, and after multiple wins at Group 2 level, is deserving of a title at the highest tier of racing.
Robert Britton’s Iona Seven is delicately positioned in box three, directly outside Tomac Bale and Ronan Izmir. Entering the race in career best form, Iona Seven could not have been more impressive in its heat, crushing Fire Tyson by seven lengths in 29.41 which supported the two super runs prior. It’s all about luck for Iona Seven in the early stages of the race, as there is early pace on both her inside and outside, but no-one can doubt her ability should every chance be given.
Peter Rocket for Keith Hellmuth makes the final despite having his colours lowered by Farmor Las Vegas. Again he has to contend with a wide draw, but he has shown a rare ability to ride the bumps and make his own luck. He will need to do that again this time around, with Ernie Bung Arrow sure to be in front of him after a couple of strides. In a similar vein to Iona Seven, Peter Rocket has the talent to win, but is in an awkward situation and likely to need a couple of runners to be off their game.
Kokoda Spirit has shown that Angle Park brings out the best of this Knocka Norris pup, and her 29.74 run behind Ronan Izmir was full of merit once again. The six-box is just a nightmare draw for her though, and despite winning the Oaks wearing the green rug, she should be double-figure odds against such hot opposition.
Rounding out the field is another Croweater in Fire Tyson. Undoubtedly one of S.A’s fastest and most consistent chasers, he faces the best field he’ll ever come across in his career and the draw does him no favours. It would be a popular victory should Tony Lagana take out the final, but most would agree it is an unlikely scenario.
The Group 1 Adelaide Cup field will explode into action at 9.53pm local time, in what will be one of the highlight races of the year. The full box draw is detailed below:
1) Tomac Bale – Mark Delbridge
2) Ronan Izmir – Jason Thompson
3) Iona Seven – Robert Britton
4) Fire Tyson – Tony Lagana
5) Farmor Las Vegas – Robert Britton
6) Kokoda Spirit – Mark Morrissey
7) Peter Rocket – Keith Hellmuth
8) Ernie Bung Arrow – Ken Gill
9) Webster – Kym Johnstone
10) Benchmark – Petar Jovanovic