New Years Day will see six heats of the Group 2 Ken Hickey Concreting Cranbourne Cup take place. The race carries a first prize of $43,750.00 and is run over the 520 metre distance. The track record for the 520 metre distance is 29.68 and is held by the freakish Pororoca. Phenomenal went close to that record back in November and he lines up in Heat Three. The heats also feature Group performers Farmor Las Vegas, Xylia Allen, Dyna Beth and Peter Rocket.
Heat One (Race 3 at 7:28pm)
This is an interesting heat with recent Hobart Cup aspirant and Brisbane Cup runner up Farmor Las Vegas lining up from box five. The son of Knocka Norris-Farmor Cee You has not started at Cranbourne during his 49 career starts, but he is the class runner in the field and has been racing in top company of late. He will need some luck from the awkward draw, but if he’s given a sniff, he will win his way through to the final. Noaki Spitfire is coming off a sixth placing in the Sale Cup Final, which he led for most of the way. He is a good beginner with a record at Cranbourne that reads three wins and two placings from six starts, with a personal best of 30.22. He drops back to a distance that suits but will jump from box eight, a box he hasn’t won from in his career. Pop’s Max has had two starts for two wins at Cranbourne and has drawn box seven. His personal best at the track is 30.53 which he ran when winning on 4 December 2013. Bookkeeper is an interesting runner in box two. He has been racing predominately over the middle distance trip in recent runs and drops back for this event. He failed at The Meadows last start when dropping back to 525 metres, but prior to that had four wins from his last six starts. He is capable of leading and likes an inside draw so he is worth keeping an eye on. Galloping Rocky is a last start winner at Cranbourne in 30.36, leading all the way from box two. She has box three for this event.
Heat Two (Race 4 at 7:48pm)
This race contains a mixture of experienced dogs against some young up and comers. It remains to be seen if Ollie Bale will don the pink rug and take his place on Wednesday night, as he has qualified for the Silver Chief Final at The Meadows on Saturday night. He is a dog on the rise that has been very impressive in his last two runs at The Meadows, where he has finished off strongly each time. His litter sister, Prue Bale, jumps from box five in the same heat. She is a recent Laurels finalist and has won nine of her 24 starts. Her box manners have been mixed, so she may struggle from the awkward draw. Tonk, who starts from box four has been most impressive in recent weeks, winning four of his last six. He hasn’t been to Cranbourne before but he is a good beginner and looks the likely leader. Gold Town has box two and has a good record at the track, with two wins and a second from three starts. The Surf Lorian-Golden Gwen dog is a strong finisher and has a personal best of 30.25. Expect him to pounce on the leaders. Darren McDonald’s runner in box three, Fancy Amigo, ran third to champion bitch Xylia Allen at this last start, which was at Cranbourne. The Brett Lee-Sweet Fancy dog has recorded 30.10 at the track and has won here twice. He isn’t without a chance.
Heat Three (Race 5 at 8:11pm)
After a luckless run in the Sale Cup final, Phenomenal returns to Cranbourne from box five. Phenomenal has had just the one start at the track and that was back in November when he won the $10,000 special event and recorded the second fastest time ever at Cranbourne; a flying 29.78. He has won three times from box five and looks the clear favourite in this heat. Keybow, in box two, is a young dog with a lot of talent. He has just raced in the Silver Chief series at The Meadows and was impressive winning his heat in 29.94. He qualified as second reserve for the final after running third in his semi. He has won six from 13 and has flown around Sandown in 29.36. He loves the box two draw, winning all three times he has started from the box. Hailstorm Billy is another that has gone through the Silver Chief series, running third in his semi. He has had two starts at Cranbourne for two placings. He has box one here and isn’t the best of beginners but has a strong finish. Dyna Beth is a good beginner and has box three. She hasn’t raced at Cranbourne but has won 10 of her 24 starts and did run second in the Melbourne Cup. If she leads she is in with a big hope.
Heat Four (Race 6 at 8:29pm)
Xylia Allen is the class runner in this field from box four. She recorded a sub 30 second win at Cranbourne last start and has won two at the track from four starts. The Turanza Bale-Tayah Bale bitch is a multiple group winner and you can’t go past her in this field. Banjo Boy, from box two, is also a sub 30 second winner at this track. He hasn’t won since late October but has been placed every run since so he looks a natural place chance here. Check My Swagger has only been unplaced five times in his 20 start career. He has the early speed to lead the field from box three but will have to be wary of the strong finishers that will be right on his heels. Heidi Go Seek has never won from box five but has won at Cranbourne in 30.25. She is another that can lead but she performs better drawn closer to the rail.
Heat Five (Race 7 at 8:50pm)
This is a hard heat to pick a winner in. Crump is in winning form of late and lines up from box seven in this heat. He has had one start at Cranbourne for a 30.12 victory. If he repeats that effort, he is in with a winning chance. Where’s The Surf is another fast winner at Cranbourne, recording a best of 30.14 from his two wins at the track. He is a more reliable beginner then Crump and has the suitable inside draw. Maximum Lil also has good form at Cranbourne, winning both her starts at the track and recording a best of 30.22. She recently ran second to Ritza Hattie in the Laurels final at Sandown and has won twice from box six. She is the interesting runner in the field. Jason Thompson has Innocent Til engaged in box one. The Premier Fantasy-Proven Polly dog hasn’t won from box one previously but he has won at the track in 30.38. Hawk Alone is also a winner at the track in 30.14 from box four, the same box he has in this heat. Rocky Bale is a get back dog and may not be suited by the box three draw. He had this box at The Meadows last start and found a world of trouble. He has loads of talent but will need some early luck.
Heat Six (Race 8 at 9:08pm)
Veetee Turbo is engaged in box six in this heat, but it remains to be seen whether the dog will start as he has made the final of the Silver Chief, to be run at The Meadows on Saturday. If he does line up, he is a big chance. His recent form has been brilliant, winning his last three including a 30.64 win here at Cranbourne. He has been beginning well of late and can put himself right in the race. Peter Rocket is the experienced Group performer in the race and he will jump from box four. He begins well most of the time and has placed at his only start at Cranbourne. Given the class he has been racing in, he is one of the chances. Watta Good Dee arrives at Cranbourne after a Laurels campaign at Sandown. She is a three time winner at Cranbourne with a best of 30.48. She has box seven and hasn’t won from a box outside box six. She is a hit and miss beginner but has good race experience at the track so is worth some consideration. Speed Series loves box one but hasn’t won since late October. Iona Seven has a suitable inside draw, starting from box two. She has shown good early speed at Geelong and Sandown recently but was unplaced at her last start at The Meadows. She has had two placings at Cranbourne and is in with a shot if she leads. Peloton Bale has two wins from his last five starts and has been a consistent place getter. He has box three, a box he has won three times from. He has mixed box manners and this his first start at the track.
The six heat winners and the two fastest seconds progress through to the final that will be held on 8 January 2014.