Tomorrownight’sGroup 2 Mega Merch Ballarat Cup promises to be one of the most exciting country cups in recent memory, with a sensational mix of proven stars and some very exciting up and coming sprinters. There is also the added intrigue of Paw Licking and Ronan Izmir chasing the $50,000 GRV incentive on offer for winning three country cups in a calendar year.
Australian Racing Greyhound got the thoughts from the eight kennels in the lead-up to the big race.
Comments: Darren McDonald (Trainer) – “He is some sort of chance from the box. He is two or three lengths off the really good dogs, but his habits are good. If he didn’t have the box he would struggle, but if he does everything right from there he is some sort of chance. I would say a good each way chance, but he will need that element of luck, and with that luck he will be competitive.”
Comments: Tom Dailly (Co-trainer) – “He has drawn nicely inside, but will need to get out of the box to beat Ronan Izmir or Paw Licking. I won’t be holding my breath, he doesn’t come out running very often.”
Comments: Robbie Britton (Trainer) – “It will be tough. I think I’ve got a dog good enough to win the race, but because he isn’t overly quick early it will be tough against these other dogs. However, if he has a little bit of luck, he is definitely good enough to win the race.”
Comments: Jason Thompson (Trainer) – “I think the dog has a terrific chance. Even though the four doesn’t seem like a good draw, with the dogs drawn around him I think it’s ok. I’m actually as happy as I can be considering he drew the middle, we think he will be near the lead or leading the race. He is going very well and has had a freshen up before the series started and hopefully he is ready to peak tomorrow night. He is a very good chance, it’s now up to him.”
Comments: Kel Greenough (Trainer) – “Paw Licking and Ronan Izmir are unbelievably evenly matched, almost identical on ability and I don’t think there is a breath between them. The dog that gets the breaks is the dog that will win the race. but if they do happen to go hammer and tongs at each other they can set it up for something else to run them down.”
Comments: Joe Borg (Trainer) – “It all depends on Ronan Izmir and Paw Licking, who are the likely leaders. I’m hoping I get a clean run and Empire Allen doesn’t cut down on top. My dog has genuine early pace, but not as much as the two genuine speedsters. If he get’s a clean run, then he can finish it off nicely. He is very strong at the end, which is his biggest asset. Proven Impala is the best dog I’ve trained, but this dog is the fastest.”
Comments: Tom Dailly (Co-trainer) – “He has drawn the opposite end and it will be hard to get around the other two, but you never know. He is a good honest dog and was a great run last week. I would have preferred him drawn inside.”
Comments: Tammy Collins (Kennel Representative) – “We are going to need a lot of luck from the pink and we would have preferred him drawn on the rails. Being so young and inexperienced, he might find it tough against the more seasoned campaigners. He is a young dog on the rise and will improve with this experience, but will find it tough.”
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The general consensus among the camps is that the likely leader will be Ronan Izmir or Paw Licking, which will make it very hard for any runner to chase them down. If those two speedsters happen to tangle, then it will set the race up for a run on type such as the highly talented Joe Borg trained youngster Deadly Vane, or Clone Your Own for Robbie Britton. It promises to be an exciting race, with the field assembled worthy of the races Group Two status.
Matthew Jenkins, from TAB Sportsbet who are betting pre-post on the final; reports they have taken bets of $1,600 @ $2.80 on Paw Licking to win the final and that Deadly Vane “has found steady support, backed $16.00 in to $9.00 with plenty of $100 bets.”