The2014Group Two Healesville Cup final this Sunday boasts arguably one of the most even fields in many years. A fairly solid case can be put forward for almost every runner for the world’s richest straight-track race, in what promises to be a real blue-ribbon affair.
Hobart Thousand winner Paw Licking is the pre-post favourite for the event, with the popular Warragul Cup winner Walk Hard also well fancied.
Comments: Kelly Bravo (Trainer) – “Box eight would have been better, but one is probably a lot better than four or five. We thought he was well drawn last week. He’s a little bit of a risky beginner at the boxes sometimes so I think being drawn off the track, particularly in a straight line, allows him to muster a little bit. I don’t know if he will get that chance from box one.”
Comments: Kel Greenough (Trainer) – “It’s not a bad draw, he’s normally pretty reliable and every time he races he has a pretty good crack. It’s just the dogs drawn around him that might be a worry, I know Transcend Time can begin brilliantly. If my bloke doesn’t lead then he can’t win, I think it’s the sort of race where you just wouldn’t want to do anything wrong.”
Comments: Wayne Vassallo (Trainer) – “It’s probably not ideal being drawn outside of Paw Licking, but he’s better close to the rail so it’s a reasonable draw. I think he was slightly hampered last week so I’d say he can go a touch quicker than what he ran.”
Comments: Nicole McRae (Trainer) – “We have never had any luck with the boxes, maybe eventually one day he will draw a good box. I know how strong he is but he will have to be up there, you can’t give them too much of a head start up the straight, it is only 350 metres. He’s pulled up good, he should have gone a couple of lengths quicker last week but he had a dog cannon into him and lay all over him for half of the race.”
Comments: Jason Thompson (Trainer) – “Somebody has to draw box five, I’d rather him in there than sitting at home in his kennel. Like any of these big races, you need to begin. If he begins how we know he can then he will be right in the race, he ran down a good dog last week in Dark Warrior. He can definitely go quicker, that was his first run up the straight last week.”
Comments: Wayne Vassallo (Trainer) – “He’d been trialling pretty good before last week and I thought he was a chance, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him this week. He hasn’t drawn well and the others have a few lengths on him. He’s sort of got to lead, if he can lead he is usually right, but if not he can put in an average run.”
Comments: David Geall (Trainer) – “We give her a good chance, the draw hasn’t helped but she is a very fast bitch. She has surprised me at how fast she is but she hasn’t surprised the owners. I thought she might take a few more runs to get used to our way of training down here, but she has settled in really well and has virtually done the job straight away.”
Comments: Kel Greenough (Trainer) – “He’s drawn exactly where he wants to be. Last week he overcame a few difficulties and realistically probably lost four or five lengths so he has to come into it with a bit of a chance. He has a pretty good record off the outside. He’s got his box and he will stay out wide so he gets his chance to win a group final.”
Comments: Could race on the pace and put in a bold showing if he gains a start.
Best Healesville Times
The moment the boxes fly open on Sunday will be ultra-important for Paw Licking (2) and Coco Benz (7) who look the main chances to lead. If Walk Hard (4) is parked anywhere near the early leaders he should be able to run over the top of them, but the box draw has not been too kind to him.
Transcend Time (3) and Zulu Zircon (5) are also runners who will loom large if they land anywhere near the speed, while risky beginner Nic Nat Nui (1) is also a chance should he fly the lids.
The real smokey in the field has to be Frosty Jay Jay (8). He could well find himself all alone out wide from the box he relishes and with the space he needs to unwind, the rest will be up to him.
With so many genuine chances in the race, the winner is likely to be the dog who does everything right and possibly gets a little luck along the way. This race should be an absolute gem.