THE STORY SO FAR:
No Dailly, No Bate, No Thompson. The 2012 version of the time-honoured Hobart Thousand is one for the smaller-size kennels, despite the Wheeler team having had at least one runner in every heat. Local chaser Rewind went within a nose of victory last year and is the only return finalist looking for revenge. The final comprises of four chasers with twenty starts or less and the other four with over fifty starts each, with two locals and six Victorians.
THE FINAL CONTENDERS:
1) Under Threat (Darren McDonald)
10 strts 5-4-1. Heat Time 26.21.
Got a lovely path early in the race last week to cross from box seven, before surviving a late challenge by Veyron Bale in the straight. Comes into box one now, and will need to be gutsy and show experience beyond his ten starts to bury up along the rail if it wants to lead again. McDonald is a big time trainer, and will have the dog ready to go by show time.
2) Burnt Fuse (Brendan Pursell)
64 Strts 27-13-5 Heat Time 26.30.
Has been a prolific winner on the Victorian provincial circuit for a long time and amazingly never had a metropolitan start before this series. Makes the race very interesting as the runners either side will want to muster through and will also force Rewind to run around him to find the lead. Not sure he has the sheer ability to hold this field out, but may be a blowout chance if the wider runners crumple up.
3) Walk Hard (Nicole Mcrae)
17strts 6-6-1 Heat Time 25.81.
Began fairly at boxrise last week before bursting through from box one to win without threat. Ran .10 outside the track record and was the only chaser to break 26 seconds. Will need to improve his first step for the final, as there are plenty of good box dogs in this field, but clearly has the ability to win this event. Looks the likely favourite for the event, but the conditions of this race may be different to what he has seen previously.
4) Rewind (Morris Strickland)
77strts 48-14-6 Heat Time 26.22.
If ever a greyhound deserved to win the Hobart Thousand it would be this fellow. Has easily been the best Tassie chaser in the last year and comes into the event having won ten straight. Lost the final in a thriller to Dyna Tron last year and his stalwart trainer deserves another chance. Admittedly, he might be 3-4 lengths off what he once was based on recent times, but the draw won’t worry him and is beginning as well as ever.
5) Custodian (Steven O’Brien)
55strts 12-12-5 Heat Time 26.41.
Ran the race of his life last week to win at 40/1 when all the breaks went his way. Connections should be thrilled to have made it this far, but that’s where the positives will end. Was the slowest heat winner by 3 lengths, draw is horrible and not usually a great beginner. Will need all that luck and more for a top half finish.
6) Dark Warrior (Ted Medhurst)
7strts 7-0-0 Heat Time 26.29.
Undefeated local greyhound that made the most of box one to score over Proven Maddy by a length. Trainer knows what it takes to win this event, but would need to keep improving to ensure it ran a low enough time to win this Group One. Is a reliable beginner and will make a pest of himself early in the race.
7) Maverick Tiger (Kel Greenough)
20strts 11-4-0 Heat Time 26.16.
This son of Big Daddy Cool is starting to make a name for himself, coming off a win in the Group 2 Ballarat Cup and good form throughout the Melbourne Cup series at Sandown. Had a great battle with Nitro Cee in the heat, eventually being too classy in good time. Normally an excellent breaker, he is bound to improve again this week, and with a clear run early will be very hard to beat.
8) Blackalls Boss (Michelle Mallia-Magri)
56strts 26-10-4 Heat Time 26.25.
Got a soft run into the final when dispatching a field of five in similar time to those beforehand. Gets a good draw here, and will be given every chance to use his pace and run to the front. Loves one-turn tracks and has shown he is up to this company. Must be included amongst the top chances, and not many will begrudge the dog or Michelle a victory at the highest level.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS:
Similar to the National Sprint that was held over this distance, the charge to the first turn looks fascinating. Burnt Fuse, Rewind, Dark Warrior, Maverick Tiger and Blackalls Boss are all genuine speedsters while Walk Hard and Under Threat will be trying to muster up. Advantage must be given to the wider boxes, however trying to cross Rewind will be a hard task as he traditionally stays in the middle of the course.
Maverick Tiger looks the in-form chaser and capable of running a time fast enough to claim the prize, while Walk Hard holds the X-factor from the McRae camp. The long Elwick straight usually provides the stage for entertaining feature racing and this is expected to be no different.
THE PREDICTION: 1) Maverick Tiger 2) Rewind 3) Blackalls Boss 4) Walk Hard.