Less than a month after claiming the Group 3 SA Oaks, the Victorian bitch continued her terrific form, beating a quality field to take out the $75,000 first prize. Mepunga Nicky, who started $4.10 on Tattsbet, flew the lids and cleared the field from box eight, railing hard and holding off a late challenge from $2.90 favourite Radley Bale to claim her first Group 1.
Radley Bale could not match Mepunga Nicky’s blistering pace initially but kept inching closer during the run before going down by a neck on the line. Master trainer Graeme Bate will have to wait another year to break his Adelaide Cup duck. Cape Hawke ($4.70) fought on well for third, ahead of Allen Hertz, while the only South Australian representative – Crazy Heart – trailed the field in.
Trained at Anakie by Jeff Britton, the daughter of Premier Fantasy is undefeated in four starts at the Adelaide circuit and lowered her previous best by a length-and-a-half, clocking 29.45 for the 515m trip.
The victory elevates Mepunga Nicky to the upper-echelon of Australian greyhounds, with 13 wins from 20 career starts and earning more than $150,000 in prizemoney.
“I can’t believe it,” Britton said after the race.
“I didn’t know if she was far enough in front and when I saw Radley Bale behind her I thought she was gone.
“She’s done a fantastic job.
“She just keeps doing the right thing. She did everything right when she was over here for the SA Oaks recently, and based on that run I couldn’t bypass the Adelaide Cup”.
Britton, from the Geelong suburb of Anakie, praised the quality of the Adelaide Cup field, in which seven of the eight finalists were trained in Victoria.
“They’re the best dogs in Australia and she’s beaten them.”
“I thought there would have to have a bit of trouble among the other runners for her to win, but she beat them fair and square which is fantastic”, Britton said.
After the placed runners the field finished in the following order 4th Allen Hertz ($13.70), 5th Allen Harper ($6.10), 6th Clyde’s Angel ($19.90) 7th Weekend Rush ($23.50) and Crazy Heart ($19.00).
Mepunga Nicky is a White & Black bitch whelped July 2009 by Premier Fantasy from Mepunga Diamond (Brett Lee x Mepunga Anna). She is raced and was bred by Barry Smith, she is trained
at Anakie by Jeff Britton. She has now won 13 races and been placed on four occasions from her 20 starts. Adding the first prize money of $75,000 for the Adelaide Cup her over stake earnings went to $147,755.
Adelaide Cup Honour Roll
1972 Bristol Miss, 1973 Valjuka, 1974 Bristol Sue, 1975 Turn Pillage, 1976 Golden Spur, 1977 Cavalier Queen, 1978 Riviera Tiger, 1979 Encanto, 1980 Youthful Prince, 1981 Lady Tornquest, 1982 Smithy’s Belle, 1983 Superstar, 1984 Knocklaun Gold, 1985 Thundering Two, 1986 Farquhar, 1987 Club Edition, 1988 High Wonder, 1989 Kuriarkin, 1990 Sandi’s Me Mum, 1991 Highly Blessed, 1992 South Road Sid, 1993 Croation Star, 1994 Perplexed, 1995 Forest Fin, 1996 Jurassic Vapour, 1997 Rare Deceit, 1998 Rapid Journey, 1999 Young Harrison, 2000 Jack Junior, 2001 Brett Lee, 2002 Brookside Bear, 2003 Waterview Star, 2004 Hotline Hero, 2005 Collide, 2006 Miss Spicy, 2007 Big Time Max, 2008 Whippy’s Image, 2009 El Galo, 2010 Dyna Lachlan and 2011 Kilty Lad, 2011 Mepunga Nicky.