Saturday night at The Meadows showcases one of the best nights of chasing on the greyhound racing calendar.
Three heats of the time-honoured Group One Super Stayers will take place over the gruelling 725 metres, which provides the perfect accompaniment to eight heats of the Australian Cup, which will also be conducted on the same card.
The race has been conducted since 1978 under numerous guises. It was originally ran at Olympic Park and won first by King’s Domain. Since that time it has also been known as The Australian Super Stayers and the Gleeson and Tonta Trophy.
The race has been won by greyhounds such as Mystic Hope, Saltwater Sid, Ringside Fire, Boomeroo, Malfoy, Drill ‘Em and Flashing Floods. The 2013 event was won by Destini Fireball, who will take part in the second heat this year.
Next Saturday night the final will be worth $100,000 to-the-winner and the series has attracted some of the countries best stayers.
The man of the moment when it comes to training stayers is the Lara based mentor Rob Britton, who will have no less than seven dogs engaged in the heats, including Cheetah Zorro who took out the Group One Zoom top at The Meadows last week.
Let’s take a look at the three heats;
Race 1 – 2014 Group One Super Stayers – Heat 1 – 7:15pm
The first heat looks to be a gem and has plenty of chances. Recent Perth Galaxy winner Born Ali (1) starts from the inside alley, a box where she has won five of her 10 starts from. She has also won two from three at The Meadows, with the only blemish at the track being last week’s Zoom Top when she found a world of trouble early.
Dyna Willow (5) is a dual group winner who has been racing in great heart. If anything works against her it is her less than flattering record over this trip at The Meadows, where she has won just one of her five attempts.
Infinite Wish (2) is a front runner who ran second in last years Sydney Cup and raced well recently during the Galaxy series at Cannington, finishing fourth in the final. The Angela Langton trained bitch could well land on the speed and give them something to chase.
Of the others, Wag Tail (4) is a strong conveyance makes the trip down from Queensland. She faces a rise in class here but must be considered a rough chance. Oscar De Largo (7) has just his 17th start in this race and looks an improver, but is likely to find this too tough.
Slipaway Miss (3) needs to improve on recent efforts to be competitive at this top level, whilst four-year-old veteran Mimicking looks well below his best and has only won two races from 26 attempts at this trip.
Race 4 – 2014 Group One Super Stayers – Heat 2 – 8:22pm
Heat two will see the precocious Dyna Kayla (2) boxed extremely well and looking like the one to beat. The daughter of Surf Lorian and Amity Bale has revelled since stepping up to the 700 metre events and ran a flashing second in last week’s Zoom Top despite having little luck during the run. She has good box manners and should find herself in the top couple of dogs early on.
Sweet It Is (7) recently made the final of the Group One Galaxy in Perth and has to be in calculations on the back of her heat win there. She is the type who needs a little bit of luck throughout the run and her record over this trip at The Meadows doesn’t really flatter with just one win from eight attempts.
Last year’s winner Destini Fireball (8) is nearing four years-of-age but just keeps on going. He produced a dour effort to finish fourth in last weeks Zoom Top at this track. There is no doubting that his best days are behind him, but he still able to produce glimpses of the class that has yielded him over half a million dollars in career prize-money.
Benarkin (3) is unlikely to win the event but is sure to be in front for a long way. The Tony Brett trained dog was overhauled in the last hundred metres of the Zoom Top to finish third. That was his second group placing over the longer trip and he will keep bobbing as they head for home and is definitely one for multiples.
Happy Tiger (1) is an interesting runner. The son of Mogambo and Jacinta Bale was transferred from the Tasmanian kennels of Brendan Pursell late last year for a tilt at some of the riches in Victoria. He is now in the care of staying supremo Rob Britton and gets his chance to show his wares against some of the best here. This will prove a tough test of his ability.
Tarks Nemesis (4) and New Tibur (5) look to have their work cut out for them if they are to win this heat.
Race 11 – 2014 Group One Super Stayers – Heat 3 – 10:42pm
In the words of Vanessa Williams, the Super Stayers may have gone and “saved the best for last”, with the third and final heat looking to be a cracker.
Last week’s Zoom Top winner Cheetah Zorro (1) has drawn the rails which should be of great assistance for the good beginner. He may well be able to find the front early and give them plenty to catch.
Lucy Wires (3) failed to get hot in the Zoom Top last week but will be a little more suited by a draw closer to the fence. She has a good record from the box and has won three of her six races over this trip at The Meadows. If she is anywhere near handy early, watch for her to unleash a withering burst in the latter half of the race.
Gold Affair Two (8) was a reserve for the Zoom Top and finished third in the Group One Galaxy a fortnight ago in Perth. She should have no trouble dealing with the wide draw and could well be a knockout chance here if the favourites make any mistakes.
Maddison Dee (6) has been racing well but has not been afforded any favours with the box draw here. The Michael Chilcott trained bitch will need a little bit of room early on if she is to figure. There is no doubting that she has her share of ability and is far from out of this one.
Dyna Werribee (2) is a consistent type without being a champion. She is yet to win from box two in four outings, but does have good form from box one. She may get a cart into the race from Cheetah Zorro and looms as a solid place chance.
Of the others, Speed Lane (4) is a handy middle distance type who steps up for a crack at the big time over the longer trip. She looks tested in this race.
Whodat Knockin’ (5) and Halla Belle (7) are also dogs who are stepping up from the middle distance and both are relatively untried at this sort of distance. I would prefer to see them around here and I’m happy to risk them.
With the talent very evenly spread over the three heats and some dogs who have not had a lot of luck lately boxed well, it should be an all-engrossing evening of staying racing, which provides the perfect companion to the Australian Cup heats.
Cheetah Zorro looks for her third Group One win in as many months, Lucy Wires looks to land a big one in Victoria and the up-and-comer Dyna Kayla attempts to make her mark at the highest level, but to name a few. Saturday night simply can not come quick enough.