On a memorable night of greyhound racing that brought together the best staying fields in recent memory, Bobby Boucheau showed why he is widely regarded as one of the country’s best stayers with a an outstanding all-the-way win in a stunning 41.67 seconds – just .03 seconds outside the track record. He defeated the consistent Bramley by 5.5 lengths and the Angela Jackson trained star is likely to start the favourite in next week’s $100,000 to-the-winner final.
Recent Group 2 Easter Chase winner Echelon made no mistake in his heat, racing to a 2.5 length win over track record holder Pillow Torque in a slick 41.73 seconds. Pillow Torque, jumping from box four from which she is yet to win in five starts, found early trouble as Echelon swept around the field from box eight to run down early leader Blues Judd and power to the line to break through for his first Sandown Park win.
In the third and final heat, Shimaguni’s remarkable rise through the staying ranks continued, winning her heat in 42.00 seconds. The youngest and least experienced finalist at just 25 months of age and with just 13 career starts, Shimaguni remains undefeated in four metropolitan ‘half-mile’ runs and has already chalked up 10 wins in her brief career – including the last six on end.
Shimaguni was pushed all the way by Slick Lee, the remarkable New South Wales galloper with an affinity for Sandown Park. Slick Lee stormed home along the rails to be denied by just a nose on the line. In nine starts at the Lightwood Road venue – all in top class – Slick Lee has won three and placed in all others, including three Group finals.
The 2011 Group 1 Radio Sport National Sandown Cup promises to be one of the most exciting in the race’s 49 year history. The finalists include five individual Group race winners and have combined for almost $750,000 in prizemoney, and 108 career wins.
While the country’s best stayers competed for a berth in Australia’s richest staying race, 32 outstanding sprinters contested the heats of the $72,500 Group 3 Dawson.
Iceman Raikkonen upstaged recent Golden Easter Egg winner Radley Bale to record the fastest heat win, stopping the clock in 29.62. Other heat winners included Symmetry, the 2010 Group 1 Solo Melbourne Cup runner-up, who won his heat in 29.82, Group 2 Warrnambool Cup winner Arsonist in 29.85, and Allen Lawson, who defeated the highly fancied Aston Galilee in 29.95.
Both finals will be run at Sandown Park on Thursday 26 May.
In a big night on and off the track, patrons can meet Richmond star Jack Riewoldt who will join the Melbourne Victory’s Archie Thompson trackside. Patrons can win a $2500 Flight Centre voucher, $1000 in free bets, join Mick Sharkie in a Punter’s Club with a $1000 starting pool, and win BIG with a TAB Jackpot quadrella.
Entry is free and gates open at 6.00pm with the first race at 7.00pm. Great dining packages are still available, contact the Club on (03) 9546 9511.