Sixty four of the nation’s finest greyhounds will battle it out for the richest prize in Australian greyhound racing this Thursday night with the heats of the $250,000 Group 1 Solo Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park.
Thursday night’s races feature arguably the finest array of canine talent ever assembled for a Group race series.
The combined winners of 976 races and over $5.6m in prizemoney, the fields feature 20 greyhounds that have tasted Group race success (eight at Group 1 level), and hold a total of 41 Group race titles (12 at Group 1).
Lara legend Graeme Bate heads the nominations with eight runners as he seeks an unprecedented fourth Solo Melbourne Cup title. Bate has prepared over 20 Cup finalists since Star Lazer made the 1983 final, and is well placed to add to that remarkable record with last start Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout winner Velocette, Dentax Bale, My Lippling, Hayder Bale, Gripen Bale, Turanza Bale, Bora Bale and Dyna Forte set to take their place in the heats.
Darren McDonald will also be vying for Solo Melbourne Cup number four with six runners from his Devon Meadows kennel. McDonald has won three of the past five Solo Melbourne Cups – including the past two with Shanlyn Prince and Surgeon.
Cindeen Shelby is looking to create history with a fourth consecutive Group 1 victory, however she will have to be at her very best to reach the final after drawing box six in her heat.
Several interstate greyhounds will make the journey to the Lightwood Road circuit, including Queen Lauryn, Take The Kitty, Arthur Ritis, Dashing Corsair, Topline Doovee, Repeated, Edie Action, Bogie Bomber, Robo Raptor, Silk Moon, Digital Magic, Joanne Monelli and Accounts looking to upstage the locals.
Due to a lower than expected number of nomination, the final of the $36,000 Group 2 Bold Trease Carnival Cup for the stayers will be run this Thursday night. Amity Bale, a winner of six group races since July, is likely to start a warm favourite from box 5, however she is sure to be tested by exciting youngster Drill ‘Em and rising star Next Top Model.
Interestingly, Amity Bale finished sixth in the 2008 Solo Melbourne Cup over the shorter trip.
TAB Sportsbet will be offering fixed odds betting on all Solo Melbourne Cup heats. The winner of each heat will contest the final on Thursday 26 November. The boxdraw for the final will be conducted at the Melbourne Cup Ball to be held at Sandown Park this Saturday night, and will be available on www.sandowngreyhounds.com.au from 10pm.
For further details and photos, please contact:
Michael Floyd, Racing and Media Manager, on 0409 426 562