ONSATURDAYnight eight of Australia’s best stayers will be chasing a winner’s cheque of $75,000 and Group 1 glory in the Zoom Top. The staying event is named in honour of one of the greatest greyhounds to ever grace a racetrack. ARG’s Duncan Stearn is a huge Zoom Top fan and wrote a book on the feats of this great, titled “Zoom Top, Australia’s Greatest Greyhound”.
Duncan had the following to say –
“By the time Zoom Top recurring injury forced her into retirement in early 1970, Zoom Top had swept all before her in a series of thrilling victories, downing some of the best racers in the country over a variety of distances. Her amazing versatility remains unchallenged to this day. No greyhound before, or since, has ever registered such a series of mind-boggling performances over such a long period. Was she a freak, as some suggested, or simply one of the most gifted and intelligent racers of all time? Zoom Top, despite the passage of time, remains the yardstick by which true greatness is measured.”
As well as the $75,000, the winning greyhound will have their name etched into an honour-roll along with some of the best stayers of the modern era. Irinka Barbie (2004), Miss Brook (2008), Blue Lorian (2011), Miata (2012) and Destini Fireball (2013) are just some of the winners of this prestigious race.
We will find out at 8.22pm who will be crowned the Group 1 Zoom Top champion, with Space Star set to start the race as the odds-on favourite.
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Has been racing in great form of late and has managed to be placed in two feature finals. From the red he should be able to settle in a prominent position early and he has raced solidly here in the past. There isn’t much speed on his outside so there should be no excuses in the run to the first turn and he has tested the two favourites in recent times, he could be the value in the race.“
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Has grown a leg since joining the Ennis camp and she appears to be showing a lot more early zip. She should be suited to the rails draw and she should be able to tuck in behind the speed and get a nice sit. My concern with her is that she had her chance to beat Space Star last week and he still proved too strong for her and she has struggled in her five runs here previously, obviously she has improved a lot since her last effort here but even so I dont think she can turn the tables on the Pink.“
Petar Jovanovic (Trainer): “I think she is on their level and has reached the mark where she can run times. She might need some more experience against the seasoned stayers. I just hope she gets a clear run early.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Classy SA chaser and she has been flying since resuming from a spell. Her lack of early speed is a big worry though and I can’t see her giving her rivals a start and a beating. This is clearly the strongest race she has contested in her career and she is going to need a lot of things to go her way. She deserved consideration for this event, however I just can’t see her making an impact.“
David Crawford (Trainer): “This is her biggest test to date clearly. Britton’s dog in the pink might be a near good thing, but I think mine can lead and if she does she will be mighty hard to beat. I’m hoping she can run a place. She does like the Meadows.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Very honest chaser and she is probably just a couple of lengths off the top class, she loves racing over this track and trip and that means that she must be considered tonight. The box draw hasn’t done her any favours but she does have the ability to step cleanly and with a good getaway tonight she might be able to settle in the first half of the field, she is very strong in the run home and a top three finish would not surprise tonight.“
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Has been struggling for a little while but in recent weeks she has bounced back to her brilliant best and her last start 34.00 Sandown Park win shows that she is in peak condition. The sectionals she posted in that effort suggest that she will have the speed to lead tonight and if she does find the lure she might just zip away mid race. I’m still not convinced that she runs a genuine 700m but her early speed means that she will always put herself into contention. Has a winning hope but I think she could be value for the place.“
Neil Staines (Trainer): “It’s a very hard race, but it couldn’t be coming at a better time for the dog himself. He is fresh and well and if we can run a place we will be happy. If he can get to the front he might upset the apple cart without being too confident about things.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Classy NSW stayer but he appears to be a little down on his best form at present. He tends to save his best for Wentworth Park and he is better suited to an inside draw. Would need to lead to have any chance tonight and I just can’t see that happening. Will be big odds and can really see him making an impact“
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Could be the smokey in the event, he has always shown tremendous promise but unfortunately he has never really taken it to the next level. He has tasted victory in his only try here and he does have the ability to step cleanly and he could settle in a top four position early. He is very strong in the run to the line and when given clear galloping room he is capable of matching it with any chaser in this event, he can do a lot wrong in his races but if he happens to get some luck in running he could be the value bet in the race.“
Rob Britton (Trainer): “It’s a tough race like any hand picked race, but he is drawn well and going super. Getting a clear run is everything in greyhound racing and we are hopeful he will get a clear run from out there. If he does get that he will run a mighty race.”
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Absolute star and he reminds me a lot of a former champ called Texas Gold. Like Texas Gold he likes to scout extremely wide in his races but he is blessed with outstanding speed and stamina. In recent weeks he has gone to the next level and he should continue to be a dominant force over the staying journey. Of his most recent victories, I think he showed his true star status when he managed to reel in Lady Toy last week, that even surprise me, from the pink tonight he should settle in the top two early and then when he goes into overdrive mid race, he should put an absolute space in them. Very short at $1.65 but he deserves to be that short an I really can’t see him being beaten.“