The event will be held over the 480 metre trip at the picturesque circuit nestled on the sandy banks of the Wimmera River, with the final worth a cool $43,750. The first two in each heat will qualify for the big final and they face a short turn-around with the final taking place this Saturday.
The four heats are jam-packed with quality greyhounds including Australian Cup finalists Innocent Til and Musquin Bale, Rookie Rebel winner Hawk Alone and last year’s Horsham Cup winner Peter Rocket.
Here is a look at each heat;
Race 5 – Oscar Furniture Horsham Cup Heat 1 – 8:09pm
The Cup kicks off in grand style with a sensational first heat. Recent Australian Cup finalist Musquin Bale (2) has been racing in terrific heart. Before a fifth placing in last weeks final behind Buckle Up Wes, he had strung three on end, including a 27.17 win at Horsham at his first start at the track.
The talented Zulu Zircon comes into this off a rapid 24.95 win at Shepparton for Pearcedale mentor Jason Thompson. The lightly raced dog has won eight of his 15 career starts and has his first start at Horsham in this heat.
Gold Town (5) returned to form last week with a barnstorming win at Sandown. He has registered 27.13 here in the past and, if he is afforded any room, could be flying home.
Vapourash (4) has won twice at Horsham with a best of 27.09. He made a recent appearance in the Healesville Cup Final, which he followed up with a win at The Meadows in 29.98.
Of the others, Clone Your Own (3) is consistent and will be running on at the finish, while Zambora Storm (6) may also race well at his first look at the track.
Jordan Allen (8) may not be quite in the same class as some of the aforementioned dogs, but does have a great record from the outside alley. Warrior King (1) has won four of his last five including a last start win here in 27.47.
Race 6 – Oscar Furniture Horsham Cup Heat 2 – 8:27pm
Heat Two will see Crump (6) return from a short break after a third in a heat of the Perth Cup. He has had one go at the Horsham circuit for a second. Expect him to unwind a withering burst in the home straight.
Recent Rookie Rebel winner Hawk Alone (1) has been racing between the 500 and 600 metre trips of late and comes off a fall at The Meadows last Saturday night. He is another who is likely to need some room in running.
Stagger (7) is a veteran of 109 starts and has an imposing Horsham record. The Gary Selkrig trained dog has won seven from ten at the track including a best of 26.91. He may be getting on in age but is still racing very consistently and cannot be discounted in this heat.
Humphrey Bale (5) is a young chaser who could go close to leading this race. He has won five from 14 and was placed behind Dyna Nalin two starts back. The lack of early speed in the race could suit this speedy conveyance.
Jewel Bale (8) is an up-and-comer with a good record from the outside box. She could well be on the speed and put herself in the race as a result.
Campaspe Will (4) can also show early pace on occasions. The youngster, who is not quite two-years-old yet, has won six of his ten career outings and is a dog on the rise.
Zambora Power (2) has been a little below his best of late and will need to find form to be competitive, while Sisco Good (3) will probably need some luck to feature.
Race 7 – Oscar Furniture Horsham Cup Heat 3 – 8:50pm
The third heat showcases recent Australian Cup finalist Innocent Til (8). The son of Premier Fantasy and Proven Polly has won 24 of his 42 starts and has his first Horsham start in this race. He looks the one to beat.
Deadly Vane (6) is a recent Warragul Cup finalist who has won eight of his 15 career starts. He has only had one start at this track and trip and had no luck on that occasion, but he has the ability to feature.
Ollie Bale (4) has plenty of talent and will be right in the finish if he can avoid trouble. Look for him to be flying late.
Ontario Lady (5) has won four from eleven at Horsham including a best of 27.11. She may be up in grade for this race but is certainly capable of filling a place.
Sisco Rocket (3) and Tyranimo (7) face a steep class rise and will struggle against the calibre of dogs like Innocent Til.
Race 8 – Oscar Furniture Horsham Cup Heat 4 – 9:09pm
The final heat is another gem of a race and features last year’s winner Peter Rocket (8).
Peter Rocket is a consistent top-line performer who has pocketed over $300,000 from his 64 career starts. He is undefeated at the trip with two-from-two and a slick best time of 26.83. He is the dog to beat here.
Prue Bale (6) is a speedy bitch who should find herself somewhere near the lead. The daughter of Go Wild Teddy and Zambola Bale has saluted in 10 of her 33 career starts and is likely to be thereabouts again in this one.
Evie’s Entity (4) is a strong bitch with a penchant for the Horsham circuit. She is coming off an unplaced run behind Keybow in a heat of the Australian Cup and should find this a little easier. If she reproduces her best of 26.94 she will be in this up to her ears.
Outside of those three the others look to be tested. Sisco Rage (1) comes back to the 480 metre trip after two middle distance wins and may run on. Tick Bale (5) has won at Horsham but will need to go a lot quicker than his best of 27.39, while Colonel Destini (7) has only won two from 25 and looks out of his depth.
It promises to be a great evening of chasing at Horsham and the quality of the runners engaged again highlights the strength of the Victorian country cups scene. The final is sure to be well and truly worthy of its Group Two status.