The Victorian feature racing spotlight will shine brightly on the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges this Sunday when eight heats of the greyhound racings richest straight track race in the world, the Healesville Cup will take place.
The race was first held in 1990 on the grass track over 340 metres, it was first won by the Victorian Greyhound of the Year, Eureka Man. 2011 saw the surface switch to loam and an additional 10 metres added to the race distance. Marbro Man took the event out that year for Kel Greenough who has two runners engaged in this year’s heats.
It is an early start this Sunday at Healesville with plenty of quality racing on the card, including four semi-finals of the big maiden. Let’s take a look at the Cup Heats;
Race 5 – Lion Quality Products Healesville Cup – Heat 1 – 11:05am
A tough heat kicks off proceedings with a handful of chances. Lady Deedee (1) has raced well at the track with two wins from three starts and a fast 19.19 to her name. The concern is her past two starts which include a last placing at Healesville and a fourth over 400 metres at Warragul. The box is certainly in her favour and she does look to be a major player. Evie’s Entity (6) is the class runner of the field with 19 wins from 41 starts including a second in the Warragul Cup final last time out. She may need a little bit of room early given her moderate box manners but expect her to be flying home late.
Walkaway Blaze (7) won at the track last week in his second look at the venue. He registered 19.35 in the process and comes into calculations on the credence of that effort. Of the others, Sultan Of Swing (5) has won three from six at the track, Dirty Mary (8) has been consistent and has also gone a slick 19.17 in the past, while Frosty Jay Jay (4) also has his share of ability and has his first run at the track here.
Race 6 – LQP Trailer Accessories Healesville Cup – Heat 2 – 11:20am
Heat Two is headlined by the recent Cranbourne Cup winner Banjo Boy (2). The Ken Virtue trained star has won both starts at the Healesville track and has broken the magical 19-second barrier. He is clearly the one to beat in this race. The Darren McDonald trained youngster There’s A Earn (2) will have his first race start at the track in this heat. He has ability but may need a little luck with two quicker beginners drawn either side of him.
Nic Nat Nui (8) has won nine from 33 and also has his first go at the track for trainer Kelly Bravo. If he can use the wide alley to his advantage then he may get a clear run throughout the race. Hard Days Night (6) has a real penchant for the straight track with three wins and two seconds from just six goes at the venue. He has posted a fast 19.08 in the past and could be some hope. Of the others, Acclaimed Love has won three from five here, producing a best of 19.25 and is from a long line of quality New South Wales straight trackers.
Race 7 – LQP Air Compressors Healesville Cup – Heat 3 – 11:35am
Heat three showcases the recent Warragul Cup winner and Healesville flyer Walk Hard (8). The Nicole McRae trained conveyance will be storming home like a freight train at the business end of this race and has registered 18.82 at the track, faster than any other dog in these heats. He has won four from five at the track but, astonishingly, has his first start from the outside alley in his 34 race career. If he handles it, he will be winning here.
Cointreau Cap (1) has recently landed in the astute Darren McDonald kennels. He has a plethora of early speed and could give them something to catch. Demonstrous (6) has had 27 starts at Healesville, winning 7. He has registered a slick 19.04 in the past and could pose some threat on that basis.
Race 8 – LQP Battery Chargers Healesville Cup – Heat 4 – 11:50am
The speedy Paw Licking (8) will start a short priced favourite in Heat Four. The son of Elite State and Kingsbrae Di has won no less than 27 races from just 46 outings and has won at Healesville in 19.06. He has proven himself from wide alleys, winning four of eight from the pink, so the draw should not be a concern; he is the one to beat. Juddy Burst (1) has never missed a place at Healesville in five attempts and has posted a quick 19.05 here before. He has not won since November which makes him a bit of a risk but he is not without hope.
Fancy Amigo (4) has his first start at the track this Sunday but has shown his share of ability elsewhere and is in the Darren McDonald kennel, he may be worth a thought. Of the others, Denersur has won four from 10 at the track but is yet to flatter on the clock while First Blood (6) has been in good form on the circle at Shepparton and Horsham of late.
Race 9 – LQP Jump Start Systems Healesville Cup – Heat 5 – 12:06pm
Heat Five looks to be one of the more open heats. Transcend Time (8) is a quality conveyance and will exit the outside alley for trainer Wayne Vassallo. He won his only start at Healesville in 19.18 and has been racing in good company; he looks the obvious one to beat. Mat’s Entity (3) has won 24 of his 43 career starts and never finished outside the top two at this track in four tries. He has a best of 19.23 and should land on the speed.
Billy Rocket (2) is a lightly raced dog who has gone very quick here in the past, registering 19.04 from a similar box. He will be another one who should be on the pace early and could make his own luck. Symmetry Lad (7) is a very consistent beginner who has his first look at the straight here. He has won six of his 16 races and could be a value hope at around double-figure odds.
Race 10 – LQP LED Spotlights Healesville Cup – Heat 6 – 12:22pm
Dark Warrior (8) will more than likely start favourite in Heat Six. He has won both of his career starts at the track and has posted a 19.10 from a wide alley. He should be able to use the box to his advantage here and go very close to winning. Release The Heat (6) has been placed in nine of his 10 races here and has won four of those, including a 19.15 effort. He may be a rough chance at odds.
Vapour Storm (1) is well boxed and has a 19.29 to his credit from and inside alley. He has only had one start back from a spell and failed to flatter, so he will need to be taken on trust. Zulu Zircon (4) is a young flying machine in the Jason Thompson kennel. He has his first look at the track but there is no reason why he cannot convert his circle form to the straight.
Race 11 – LQP Car Fridges Healesville Cup – Heat 7 – 12:43pm
Top Innings (2) will headline Heat Seven of the Cup for Anakie trainer Jeff Britton. The Silver Chief place-getter loves to fly the lids and is drawn to win the race. Premier Magpie (3) loves straight-tracking and has registered a couple of times in the low-nineteen’s during his four wins over this trip. He may be starting to get on a bit but he has won two of his last three and has to be considered.
Special Pup (4) is an interesting runner having his first start for Michelle Mallia-Magri after coming from Western Australia. He has won 17 from 33 including his last two and may be worth keeping an eye on. Texan (7) looks the best of the rest with three wins from seven starts over this trip including a 19.18 and a 19.19 which he produced two starts back.
Race 12 – LQP Load Restraints Healesville Cup – Heat 8 – 12:58pm
Hallelujah Henry (4) is an ultra-consistent chaser who has a real affinity with Healesville. He has won two of his three attempts at this trip and posted a flying 18.93. He is definitely the one they will have to catch here. Dyna Carnage (2) has won 10 from 21 career starts and is a promising chaser. He is not the fastest beginner but could be a hope with a clear crack at them.
Burj Khalifa (8) is an interesting runner. He won two-in-a-row at Appin, a straight track in New South Wales, before coming to Victoria and winning on debut over 300 metres at this track in the best on day; he could be a smoky. Premier Event (6) has a good record here winning two of his three starts and running 19.16. Coco Benz (1) has a terrific career record with 14 wins from 22 starts. She makes her Healesville debut but has to be a solid chance from the red alley.