A new wave of hopefuls and some seasoned veterans ventured to Cranbourne today to contest six heats of the Group Two Cranbourne Cup. The six heat winners and two fastest seconds will contest next weeks $45,000 to the winner final, with ambitions of joining an already star-studded honour roll.
The first heat saw the Jason Thompson- trained Whodat Knockin’ lead all the way from box seven in 30.36, holding off the fast finishing Wind Whistler by just under half a length. It was a huge run from Wind Whistler after finding trouble on the first turn and rattling to the line late in proceedings. Recruitment ran an honest race to finish third in his first start for Darren McDonald.
Recent Ballarat Cup winner Luca Neveelk headlined the second heat and was sent out as the $2.60 favourite. As expected the Gerald Kleeven- trained speedster speared out to the early lead from box four, but was unable to clear out down the back. Hostile was always going to be very hard to hold out if he could position himself on the speed, and when he lobbed second down the back things were ominous for the early leader. Hostile finished strongly on the rails to win by over a length in 30.24, with Ride The Rails grinding home for third.
Keybow was sent out a raging $1.50 favourite in the third heat from box five but was slow to begin and found trouble early. Once the Kel Greenough- trained Avondale Porche found the front early it was goodnight, with the comeback chaser clearing out to win by nearly six lengths in a slick 30.21. Dyna Geldof and Bit Berger filled the minor placing’s, with Keybow beaten out of sight in seventh after finding constant trouble.
The 2014 Cranbourne Cup winner Banjo Boy lined up in the fourth heat at the $2.40 favourite with hopes of defending his title for Ken Virtue, however the Graham Whitford- trained Zambora Magic was having none of that. The despised 20/1 outsider ran down early leader Ibrox Digger late in proceedings by a half-length in a steady 30.54. Banjo Boy loomed up as a threat on the turn but could only manage third in the run to the line. Bunga Bunga was the unlucky runner in the event after copping a check in the home straight.
The 2007 Cranbourne Cup was won by Vapour Whirl and one of his well performed progeny in Oakvale Destiny will be attempting to etch her name into the same record books as her father. The Jeff Britton- trained star made a fantastic start to her Cranbourne Cup campaign with a dominant performance in the fifth heat of the day, winning by an ever widening five lengths in 30.32. Although she was slow early, the breaks went her way and when she lobbed second on the fence behind early leader Turbo Norris, it was a case of times and margins. Dave Burnett’s quality chaser Kiss Me Ketut was a huge run to finish second after being crossed early by Turbo Norris.
Sonic Pirate provided the second massive shock in the sixth and final heat. The Peter Reinders- trained son of Premier Fantasy and Sonic Jet chased his heart out to come again and beat the much more fancied Weblec Belle at 33/1. When Weblec Belle railed underneath Sonic Pirate to find the front clearly down the back it looked like it was going to be a one act affair, but Sonic Pirate fought back and got up in the last stride in a slow time of 30.64.
The field for the $45,000 to the winner final is as follows :
1 – Wind Whistler – Angela Langton
2 – Sonic Pirate – Peter Reinders
3 – Hostile – Darren Beasley
4 – Luca Neveelk – Gerald Kleeven
5 – Avondale Porche – Kel Greenough
6 – Oakvale Destiny – Jeff Britton
7 – Zambora Magic – Graham Whitford
8 – Whodat Knockin’ – Jason Thompson
Dyna Geldof – Steve Collins
Ibrox Digger – Steven Clarke