Thompson looking for first Darwin Cup win with Invictus Rapid

Jason Thompson with Invictus Rapid. PIC Paul Munt.

INVICTUS Rapid (Cosmic Rumble x Miss Fiesty Feb ’14) will be out to give Seona and Jason Thompson their first win in the Group 3 Darwin Cup (530m) when he lines up to contest the $25,000 to the winner feature next Sunday night.

The leading Victorian conditioners earmarked the Darwin Cup as the target for Invictus Rapid several weeks ago and the black dog kept the dream alive on the weekend when winning his heat in 31.69.

It was a solid effort from the 34.6-kilogram greyhound which began fairly off box five but was squeezed up at the start of the race.

Despite the congestion, Invictus Rapid barged his way through the pack, slipping into third spot entering the back straight as he set off in pursuit of the leader, Zipping Zeus (Magic Sprite x Scarlett Girl Dec ’13).

Swinging for home it was a race in two as Invictus Rapid railed through along the inside, surging at Zipping Zeus right on the line to score by a head.

Thompson said he was pleased with the determined heat run and expects his charge to improve heading into the final.

“I was very impressed with his heat run. Whilst he certainly didn’t go the quickest, the style of the win and to do what he did was very good as he had never seen the track,” Thompson told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“I think he will take a lot of benefit out of that run and he will improve heading into the final with an extra week to settle in to the kennels up there and adjust to the weather.”

Invictus Rapid has been an ultra-consistent greyhound for Thompson and his owners, the Invictus Kennels Syndicate, having won 26 of his 70 starts with 26 minor placings.

His career highlights include a second in the Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic, a second in the Group 2 Healesville Cup and a third in the Listed Australian Sprint, while he also qualified for the 2016 Group 1 Silver Chief Classic, the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson and the Group 2 Shepparton Cup.

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Thompson said the Darwin Cup seemed the ideal series for Invictus Rapid to finally get a deserved group title next to his name, with a triumph in the final set to elevate his career earnings beyond $170,000.

“He was set for this race two months ago. The race fell at the perfect time for him when the National Sprint series was on because a lot of the good dogs from each state will stay home,” Thompson said.

“I felt the series really gave him the chance to finally get a group win beside his name because, whilst he is very honest, he is getting a bit older now and if he were to stay home and race through the Nationals I thought he would have struggled.

“The plan was always to go up there provided he got through each run down here which he did and he was able to go up there full of confidence having won three of his past four.”

Time honors from Sunday’s heats went to Maurice Minor (Cosmic Rumble x Shabeky Jun ’15) which took his Winnellie Park to four wins from five starts when landing the third heat in 31.56.

Close behind him was Iona Flyer (Swift Fancy x Iona Habit Apr ’14), a younger full brother to Group 1 Paws of Thunder heroine Iona Seven, which scored on debut in Darwin in 31.57 for WA trainer Pete Brown.

The remaining heat was taken out by SA competitor Striker Klinsman (Dyna Tron x So Faithful Mar ’14) which won his 20th race when triumphing in 31.77.