As 2009 starts to draw to a close, the spotlight quickly turns to Tasmania for the time-honoured Group 1 Hobart Thousand series. As usual, a great battle looms between the local speedsters and the ever-growing list of interstate invaders looking for victory in the final Group 1 race of the decade.
So far the ‘Noughties’ have seen the locals gets the better of the ledger, having won five of the nine Hobart Thousands since the turn of the millennium.
This year looks like the invaders may have the odds in their favour though, with a host of super sprinters making the trip across Bass Straight, including Turanza Bale, Gripen Bale, Gardam Prince and Remo Rubik. But don’t disregard those Apple Islanders, as they are always hard to beat on home soil, and are usually set for this race months in advance.
2009 Group 1 Hobart Thousand Heat 1
Interstate – Hurricane Luke (NSW), Jimmy Bothing (SA), Paragon Patch (VIC)
Locals – Rocket Moss, Buzzin, Accounts, Pedro Pronto.
The series opener sees an All-Australian affair with four states represented. Hurricane Luke from Ruth Matic’s kennel has had a race start at Hobart a few weeks back and could not have been more impressive. His time of 26.00 is low flying and if he goes anywhere near that from box one he’ll win easy.
Pedro Pronto looks the likely leader and has been racing consistently of late. Drawn perfectly in seven, with no noticeable beginners anywhere near him, he should have a very handy break at the top turn.
Accounts and Paragon Patch ran the placings in the Prelude here last week and both will be flying late. Accounts looks classier of the two, and is returning back home with Debbie Cannan after a successful campaign in NSW. Seeing Accounts win wouldn’t surprise, but he can’t afford to get too far back.
South Australian runner Jimmy Bothing looks hard to line up, having cantered home over 643 at Gawler last start. It’s a big class rise here, but must be included amongst the chances.
SELECTIONS – 1) Hurricane Luke 2) Pedro Pronto 3) Accounts
2009 Group 1 Hobart Thousand Heat 2
Interstate – Octane Show (VIC), Gripen Bale (Vic).
Locals – Koko Black, Crime Fighter, Pneumonia Alley, High Choice, Whispering Blaze, Magpie Lomar.
Only two interstate visitors, only two chances. Gripen Bale looks to have one paw over the line here having drawn eight in a field lacking early speed. His last two defeats from the Melbourne Cup Heats & Consolation weren’t bad runs, his 26.11 trial would win most invitation races, and he looks far too classy.
The only danger is Octane Show for Darren McDonald. This red fawn dog has won 18 of 26 and will most likely be in front of Gripen Bale early. His time trial of 26.28 may need to improve though.
If there was to be a boilover, it could come from Crime Fighter in box two. He does indeed have good box manners but faces a monumental class rise against his competitors out wide. High Choice is the most talented of the locals but has drawn terribly in four. Koko Black must be given a mention from box one also, but I think they’ll all be watching Gripen Bale’s tail for most of the journey.
SELECTIONS – 1) Gripen Bale 2) Octance Show 3) Crime Figher
2009 Group 1 Hobart Thousand Heat 3
Interstate – Silent Guardian (VIC), Winsome Joe (NSW)
Locals – Yep, Eagle Eye, Uno Keysy, Bombtrack Moss, Cradoc Park, Wattle Weary
One for the locals here, with Eagle Eye drawing well (box two) and with slow beginners on his inner and outer. He won the prelude last week and held off two classy dogs in the process. He should lead all the way.
Silent Guardian is an entrant from left field a bit, having only 13 starts before this. Having won nine of them, most in great times, he does look a threat here. The key will be coming from box four and crossing Eagle Eye, but if he does that, he’ll take catching.
Cradoc Park is drawn out in box seven and does have the class to challenge if he begins with them. His past few runs back from a spell have been decent, including a impressive second behind Eagle Eye in a heat of the Tasmanian Gold Cup.
The rest look to be genuine roughies, with the exception of Mark Gatt’s Winsome Joe. Another young sprinter with a good strike rate, this dog is well bred (Brett Lee – Winsome Silver) but does look to have a task ahead of him from box six.
SELECTIONS – 1) Eagle Eye 2) Silent Guardian 3) Cradoc Park
2009 Group 1 Hobart Thousand Heat 4
Interstate – Fevolution (SA), Ultra Rumble (VIC), Pure Thirst (VIC).
Locals – Lettuce Leaf Lad, Fisherman, Big Zeus, Two Inch Gap, Beijing Bond.
Good luck with this one, punters. Clearly the most open of the heats sees local sprinter Fisherman drawn well in two. He is blessed with good box manners but his record at Hobart isn’t great. Whether he can lead by enough to hold out some of these others is the question mark.
Fevolution is coming off big wins at Angle Park, but judging by the winning times and his $1.40 starting prices, it clearly suggests a jump in class to Group level here.
Ultra Rumble for Darren McDonald has been quoted a $1.66Fav for the heat, but it seems a bit short considering he can be tardy at box rise and hasn’t looked at the track before. A repeat effort of the 29.76 win at Sandown two starts back would easily be enough to win this, but you’d be taking him on trust.
Two Inch Gap is a very lightly raced sprinter for Harold Cameron. His last three starts have been faultless and he spanked Invitation winner, Bent Lee, by 10 lengths at his previous outing. Obviously set for this event, Two Inch Gap can lead here and is unbeaten at Hobart. He’ll take catching at fair odds.
SELECTIONS – 1) Two Inch Gap 2) Fisherman 3) Ultra Rumble
2009 Group 1 Hobart Thousand Heat 5
Interstate – Bells Pace (NSW), Gardam Prince (VIC), Royal Ryles (SA).
Local – Little Spaniard, Sexylicious, Master Bart, Akka Boy, Where’s Ned.
Little Spaniard is looking to go back-to-back here and defend his 2008 Hobart Thousand victory. His comeback from injury has seen slow and steady and Mick Stringer has done a great job to get this speedster ready for this race. There is a ton of early speed in this heat, but Little Spaniard should be able to punch up and hold lead here.
Gardam Prince is the obvious choice as the classiest runner of the field. This flying machine from the Darren McDonald kennel has been victorious at 28 of 38 career starts and has already proven himself at Group level. His first look at the track last week yielded a 26.07 win and it seems he’ll repeat the dose here.
NSW runner Bells Pace is not out of this and has solid Wentworth Park form, which includes a BON win, and defeats behind Digital Magic and Take The Kitty.
SELECTIONS – 1) Gardam Prince 2) Bells Pace 3) Little Spanaird
2009 Group 1 Hobart Thousand Heat 6
Interstate – Disintegrate (NSW), Prankster (VIC)
Locals – One Wheel, Lone Keysy, Ricky Stain, Overspeeding, Son Of Edan, Topline Doovee
Topline Doovee is probably Tassie’s best greyhound and has been given a gift starting from box eight here. She’s been racing inconsistently of late and punters will have to take her on trust. If she runs at her best though, she’s up to her eyeballs in this heat.
Disintegrate butchered a great field to take the Tasmanian Gold Cup two weeks back and looks super hard to stop again. Her winning time was the fastest seen for many months (25.97) and is quicker than Gripen Bale, Gardam Prince and Cosmic Rumble have all produced at the track since.
Melbourne Cup finalist Prankster looks the other danger in the hot race, but he wont enjoy box six, especially with two early speedsters coming from out wider. If he does find the front though, he should make the final.
Watch for Overspeeding, Ricky Satin and One Wheel to be running on for trifecta hopes.
SELECTIONS – 1) Disintegrate 2)Topline Doovee 3) Prankster
2009 Group 1 Hobart Thousand Heat 7<
Interstate – Turanza Bale (VIC), Apidra (NSW), Remo Rubik (VIC)
Locals – Stylish Bernie, Rulla Shaw, Hellbound, Ridicule, Stylish Monty
The final heat is a real cracker. Turanza Bale and Remo Rubik will dominate the betting, and connections of both will feel unlucky to have come up against each other. Its good to see Turanza Bale has recovered from the fall in the Melbourne Cup Final, and is returning for a second attempted at Tasmania’s only Group 1 Event. The box draw has not been kind though, and he will once again have to navigate traffic from box three.
Remo Rubik has drawn awkwardly in box six, but he should be able to find the lead early and will take a power of stopping.
Looking to spoil the Victorian party will be Stylish Monty for Anthony Dawson. Drawn perfectly in Box eight, he should be right up there with Remo Rubik early, and will be motoring out wide in the late stages of this race.
Hobart Thousand Heat night should end with a great finish, as three super chasers look for a place in the $70,000 to-the-winner final to be held next week.
SELECTIONS – 1) Remo Rubik 2) Turanza Bale 3) Stylish Monty