THE STORY SO FAR:
The Adelaide Cup stands as one of those races steeped in history. Formerly held in a summer timeslot, recent winners include the likes of Brett Lee, Hotline Hero, El Galo, Dyna Lachlan and Kilty Lad before Mepunga Nicky won the first ever October edition last year.
Tragedy struck during the week with three finalists involved in the Dailly’s car accident last Friday morning. Sadly, the field is already one down with the passing of Big Black Mac, however recent reports suggest the other two will still take their place. Unfortunately, it has marred what was a terrific night of racing last week, and there hasn’t been much publicity on the race itself, with the fixed odds market being suspended throughout the week.
THE FINAL CONTENDERS:
1) Heston Bale (Vic) – Andrea Dailly (29sts 16-4-3 $97,500). Part of the crew that had a rough ride back to Victoria last week. No doubt he wouldn’t be running if he wasn’t 100% physically but one can’t help but wonder if the dog is 100% mentally. Likes to scout wide and took all of the 515m to run down Premier Boloney last week too. His two other runs at Angle Park were mixed with times around 30-seconds even. Will have a lot of admirers based on his Victorian fame, but not sure if he’ll be at his best.
2) Andrew’s Courage (SA) – Dean Decrea (55sts 18-8-4 $26,645). Likely to start the roughest dog in the race but is really well drawn. No obvious pace directly inside or outside and may just get a clear run around the first turn. Class is the main concern but is racing well enough to sneak a place.
3) Coal King (QLD/Vic) – Jason Thompson (30sts 13-3-6 $37,260). Former banana-bender racing really well since joining the Thompson kennel. Trialled well before the heats, and belted his rivals with a strong 29.71 performance as a result. Looks a big threat with a clear run, but may be back in the pack early.
4) Prank Call (SA) – Paul Barry (43strts 13-3-5 $20,110). This ex-NSW chaser has really come of age since crossing to the Festival State, and finds itself in a Group 1 final with a live chance. Blessed with plenty of early toe, it may be the one to hold out Spud Regis to the first bend, however it’s PB of 29.99 must come down to challenge the stronger dogs here. Definite trifecta hope.
5) Spud Regis (Vic) – Andrea Dailly (12sts 9-1-0 $52,785). If you go by paper form alone, he looks the odds-on favourite. Has been no less than dazzling in his four undefeated Angle Park starts, and clearing the 30-second barrier with ease. Two questions linger however: Firstly, can he cross Prank Call and lead by enough to hold off Heston Bale, Coal King etc and second; How much impact has the rough and rickety off-road trailer journey had?
6) Big Black Mac (Vic) – Andrea Dailly (11strts 6-1-0 $24,295). SCRATCHED. Won brilliantly in 29.66 last week beating Godsend, however he never make it back home. R.I.P young fellow.
7) Proven Nitro (Vic) – Jason Thompson (23sts 12-4-4 $44,620). An emerging talent from Victoria, and another from the in-form kennel. Setting the fastest heat time of 29.36, he has the talent to blow them away, but box seven will make life a little tougher. Comes into the race in peak form, and should be unbeatable if able to take the lead at any stage.
8) Wattle Bee (Vic) – Angela Langton (27sts 9-6-2 $28,320). Most likely to start at double figure odds, with the combination of a wide draw, class rise and a form line that can be a little inconsistent. Used box two well last week to score, and can show dash on his night, but will look better suited in other events to come.
9) Quo Vadis (Vic) – Angela Langton (27sts 11-9-2 $35,670). Confirmed starter with the definite scratching and should give a good account of itself. Is a littermate of Wattle Bee and ran 29.58 behind Proven Nitro in the heat. Presumably will start from box six, which is right in amongst the speedy starters and this raises concerns. Represents value on times however and will improve with a second look at the track. Don’t discount.
10) Godsend (Vic) – Jason Thompson (39sts 11-8-4 $133,462). Is already a Group 1 winner, however that was the age-restricted Silver Chief series and was some time ago. Usually desperate for the rails, he got the breaks in the heat and found Big Black Mac too strong on that occasion. Unless he draws the cherry and begins at his absolute best, a placing would surprise in a race of such calibre.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS:
Could be classed as the ‘stars of the future’ race with eight of the ten finalists holding less than $60,000 in career money, and all except Andrews Courage having under 50 starts. The intriguing part will be the first three steps to see if Prank Call and Spud Regis battle it out for the lead.
Proven Nitro’s heat time was far superior to any others and suggests it is the one to beat, however the draw isn’t the best for a big race at Angle Park and will need luck crossing.
With such a hot pace up front, Coal King should represent tremendous value and looks set to get a lovely run along the rail, and could be the beneficiary of any first turn interference. Look for him to put himself in the picture off the back stretch. Winning time should be between 29.70 and 29.50 based on the race times of recent weeks.
THE PREDICTION: 1) Coal King 2) Proven Nitro 3) Spud Regis 4) Quo Vadis