THE Australian Cup carnival is set to commence in fine style on Saturday night with three group 1 events at The Meadows.
The Temlee (525m), Rookie Rebel (600m) and Zoom Top (725m) will each see a quality crew of greyhounds assemble, all of which have been chosen by invitation to compete in their respective events.
The 24 greyhounds engaged across the three events have won a staggering 513 races between them and an enormous $5.1 million in prize money earnings.
Both the Rookie Rebel and Zoom Top carry a winner’s purse of $75,000, while the Temlee will see a massive $100,000 handed over to connections of the first-placed greyhound.
The first of the main features is race five and will jump at 8:38pm.
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Race five – Zoom Top – 8:38pm
It is hard to go past Burn One Down (2), which looks poised to finally capture his first group 1 trophy in this event. Trained by Jason Thompson, Burn One Down comes into the event following a dominant win in the final of the Victoria Cup (699m) at Cranbourne and if he can fine a nice spot in the early stages he should blow this field away.
WA greyhound Bogie Bekim (4) was a brilliant winner of the Group 1 Galaxy last start and, although he took on a much weaker field than this, he still looks capable of making an impact here. Box four won’t do him any favours, but he can show early dash and he did trial here over the sprint in 29.88 last week which should give punters a bit of confidence.
Jaimandy Hatty (6) won at The Meadows two starts back in 34.48 over the 600m and she does have a nippy 42.15 PB over the 725m trip. Probably better drawn closer to the fence, but she still must be respected.
Trip To Eden (3) ran second in the Group 1 Galaxy last start at Cannington and comes into the race in fine form – with a touch of luck early he should be running in the top four.
It’s A Bird (1) mixes her form, but she is a classy bitch and is ideally positioned on the fence. She is already a group 1 winner, having won the Bold Trease in November, however she does come into this race with over two months off the track which is a concern coming into this event first-up.
Race six – Rookie Rebel – 9:00pm
Reefton Treasure (1) is ideally positioned in the cherry and if he can position up well in the early stages he should go close to winning. Prepared by Anthony Azzopardi, the black dog has won two from two over the middle distance trip including a slick 34.41 over the 600m at The Meadows last start. He is also unbeaten from the inside alley which is a massive advantage in a speedy race such as this.
Fanta Bale (3) has won three from three over the track and trip and she looks drawn to lead. If she can find the front on top she should be carving out fast time and they will have to produce a massive effort to run her down.
Dundee Osprey (8) is a three-time group 1 winner and he does look well boxed out wide. He should get room to move in the early stages and if he can cross and position himself close to the front he will play a big part in the finish.
Buck Forty (6) is a much better performer than his recent form reads and if he can avoid bother at box rise he is capable of causing an upset at big odds.
Suggested bet: WIN bet on Reefton Treasure at $3.20 with Sportsbet
Race seven – Temlee – 9:22pm
Going for a bit of value here with Jesaulenko (5) who probably isn’t too badly drawn in the yellow. There is a stack of speed on his inside so if he should get a nice run into the race and if he can avoid congestion on the first turn he is a massive chance.
Striker Light (1) comes into the race in great form having won the Group 1 National Futurity at her most recent start. The Brett Bravo-trained bitch is dynamite out of the boxes and will be looking to hold a forward spot in the race around the first turn. This is obviously a massive rise in class, but if she is out in front that’s half the battle because they will have to be running time to catch her.
Aston Bolero (3) has breathtaking early sectionals and he will be driving towards the top in the run to the line on the first occasion. He does tend to get a bit tired in his races, but he looks a genuine place chance.
Pantera Nera (4) has developed into a much stronger chaser in recent months and he is another greyhound which is generally flawless out of the boxes. He will need luck from box four but is definitely capable.
Zambora Brockie (2) is the most accomplished greyhound in this race and box two is suitable, however there is a stack of speed boxed around him so there is a big chance he will get squeezed out in the early stages.
Suggested bet: WIN bet on Jesaulenko at $10 with Bet365