The one-turn feature event will take place over the 452 metres, with the current track record standing for well over a decade, courtesy of Lilli Pilli Lad’s run of 25.13. While the track is often prepared to an absolute premium at this time of year, many great sprinters have come close without ever eclipsing the mark.
This year the quality of entrants is again at a great standard, with runners from several Victorian kennels making the trip over Bass Straight.
The first heat will be a battle of the locals, with Yappin’ Jack the likely favourite from box three. Most people will be familiar with his form around the Elwick circuit in Hobart, which culminated in a Group 1 berth behind Paw Licking last month. However his record around Devonport is just as imposing with six wins and a second from nine tries, including a 25.50 run in March last year.
His only major competition looks to be Ricky Ponting’s entrant, Rumbling Rick, who will exit the red box. His recent form is solid behind some talented chasers, and while he hasn’t started at the track in over a year, his best time of 25.85 from his younger days would be enough to make an impact on the race.
Bain’s Lane in box six and Launnie Rocket in seven look the next best, with Urana Galore capable of pulling out a run.
Heat two is a far more even affair, with the majority of runners being reliable breakers,making the start crucial. The quality runner of the field is Buckle Up Mason from the Jenny Hunt kennel.
Bred and owned by Robin and Gary Johnson, Buckle Up Mason has Tasmanian roots but was immediately sent to Graeme Bate to commence his racing career. That move has yielded 13 wins and $34,000 as a result, with the dog being given to Jenny Hunt after the suspension to Bate in late 2013.
Buckle Up Mason will come from the widest box on Tuesday afternoon and could face a hard task to cross the field, with plenty of pace in the middle boxes. Fulande (box four) from the Peter Phillips’ kennel is one such greyhound, along with Teddy Tom Boy (box five) and Hellyeah Missile (box two), who will all be looking for the front in the first 100 metres of the race.
There once was a time that Emerald Lee would have been odds-on in this event, but it’s safe to say that her best in behind her and she represents a place chance only. Mighty Lomar in box six and Dominator Girl from seven are also chances in a very open race for punters to sort through.
Things get a little easier in heat three, with Hellyeah Bolt likely to win again from box eight. Arguably the fastest dog on the Apple Isle, Hellyeah Bolt’s best time of 25.28 set in July is the fastest run at the track in recent memory, and the opposition look hard pressed to get near him here.
Oscar Ralph is well drawn in two, and looks like a value proposition after some cheeky runs against such dogs as Farmor Las Vegas and Yappin’ Jack in the past month. His best work is in the middle stages of the race and he will appreciate a rails run.
Pedro’s Runaway (box four) has found the winners’ circle since arriving in the state and will be prominent , along with Black Rip (box five), who excelled at the track in a 25.67 win last week and usually shows good early pace.
Victorian Nico Bale should head the betting in the next heat, despite the awkward draw of box five. His record from there is poor; however the majority of his wins have been from outside boxes, making this race seem much more achievable. A lot will depend on how he jumps.
Proven Fantasy adores the rails and will be pushing hard from box one for Paul Hili. Sentry Duty will relish the extra room in box eight as well. That duo looks the most likely to cause an upset and add more local flavour to the final.
The second-last heat appears a race in three with Buckle Up Wes the obvious candidate after producing slashing runs throughout his career. Devonport is not his favourite track however, and the lone win here was in 26.06, which would need to be improved on. He’ll start favourite but looks more vulnerable here than in previous engagements.
There will be speed coming from Dyna Ishaan in box six, with the Jenny Hunt prepared greyhound coming off some competitive runs around Ballarat and Warragul. It will be relatively easy to cross the two dogs drawn inside him, and if Buckle Up Wes is off his game, Dyna Ishaan will lead this race for a long way.
Jeff The Tipster is an erratic chaser, but box eight will help him stay out of trouble here. His mid-race speed his usually a highlight, so look for him to surge coming into the home straight.
Watching it all unfold will be the 2013 defending champion Allen Benji who will start favourite in the final heat. Last year he was able to run Rewind off his legs in a memorable final and will be hoping for a repeat win this year. With a good draw between Cosmic Fire and Fryston, the son of Buttsie Bale and Swiss Bale will be able to slide across the field and be awfully hard to run down.
Archie Gumballs is prepared by Dave Burnett and would be capable enough at his best, but he would need a clean getaway. His form over the past month or so is ragged at best, so those taking him will be doing so on trust.
Varcoe is the best of the local hopes and will jump from box five, between the two Victorian hopefuls. This might well pose some issues, but Varcoe has the pace to settle in a winning position. With the enthusiasm of youth he might spoil the invaders’ party, much to the delight of Debbie Cannan owner Chris Nutt.
The 2013 Devonport Cup heats are races 3 to 8 on the 10 event card, and commence at 1.39pm local time.