2008 Victorian Greyhound of the Year El Galo heads the sprinting A-list contesting the eight heats of the Group 1 MTD Australian Cup (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Trained by Jason Thompson of Pearcedale, El Galo finished second (beaten a neck) to Tasman Queen in last year's golden anniversary Australian Cup.
One of the sport's most decorated mentors, Thompson is out to break his Australian Cup hoodoo; assuming he survives this afternoon's delayed El Galo positive swab hearing stemming from the 2008 Topgun with his registration intact.
Thompson has also finished second with Hotshow Vintage (beaten two and three-quarter lengths) to Arvo's Express in 2000 and second with Monsters Inc (beaten three lengths) to Bogie Leigh in 2004.
Thompson believes this year's ‘Awesome Lodge team' provides him with his best chance of securing the “Cup of Dreams”, which carries a $150,000 first prize.
The sport's “golden boy”, El Galo is being afforded cult hero status by an adoring public.
“I'm extremely fortunate to own such a drawcard… Greyhounds like him are great for the industry,” said El Galo's owner Seona Hood who is Thompson's defacto partner
The Australian Cup and $50,000-to-the-winner Group 1 Australian Stayers Trophy (725m) will be staged on Saturday night, February 28, and will be presented by Western Bulldogs stars and Brownlow medallists Adam Cooney and Jason Akermanis who are joint ambassadors of the Australian Cup Carnival.