KELLY Bravo says dual group 1 winner Striker Light (Kc And All x Pretty Fancy Mar ’15) is spot on ahead of the Group 1 Topgun (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
The black bitch comes into the race following an unlucky seventh in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup (515m) at Angle Park, but prior to that she had won both starts since resuming from a short spell.
Bravo said she her and husband Brett weren’t too disappointed with her Adelaide effort, with her chances blown once she missed the start against the high-class field.
“She didn’t come out the best and one of the dogs on her inside moved up the track a little bit,” Bravo told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Once Raw Ability crossed her she was always going to be in trouble – up against that field she had to be off and gone early.”
Striker Light received her invitation for the Topgun series courtesy of her wins in the Group 1 National Futurity and Group 1 Golden Easter Egg, both of which were held at Wentworth Park earlier in the year.
Knowing the bonny bitch, a winner of 19 of her 37 starts with nine placings and $443,300 in prize money, was practically guaranteed a start, Bravo said she was purposely lightly raced since recovering from a minor injury in August.
With a few hard hit outs under her belt now, Bravo is adamant she is back to her best.
“After the Puppy Classic at Cranbourne she pulled up with some ligament problems in her hocks, so we freshened her up and took her to Warrnambool and she won down there in good time and by a big margin.
“She is going as good as ever, she just hasn’t been racing as much because we wanted to make sure she was right for this race.
“She has proven numerous times she can win at this level – she beat a very good field in the Golden Easter Egg and she has been racing against the best going around.”
Striker Light has drawn box three for Saturday’s $150,000 to the winner final, a draw from which she has won two of five starts with two placings, and has been installed as a $21 chance with Bet365 to take home the title.
2016 Melbourne Cup winner Ando’s Mac (El Grand Senor x Brook’s Doll Jun ’14) is the current favourite at $2.25 for Anthony Azzopardi, with kennel mate Raw Ability (Barcia Bale x Bugatti Flyer Apr ’15) a $4 shot.
Seona Thompson also has two in the final – Aston Dee Bee (Barcia Bale x Aston Elle Apr ’15) his top pick at $3.50 off box two, whilst Group 1 Megastar winner Aqua Cheetah (Cosmic Rumble x Dalta Bale Mar ’14) is the $26 outsider of the field.
Lightning Frank (Black Magic Opal x Kirrabilli Abbie Sep ’14) will be aiming for the Temlee – Topgun double and is a $10 chance, whilst perennial bridesmaid Up Hill Jill (Premier Fantasy x Where’s Demonica Feb ’15) will be seeking her first win at the highest level and is $13 to do so.
Rounding out the field is Mister Twister (Collision x Double Twist Jan ’15) which is trained in NSW and is a three-time group winner. He will have to improve off his disappointing fifth on debut at The Meadows last Saturday if he is to make an impact.
Bravo says Striker Light will need to lead to win on Saturday, but is optimistic she can show a clean set of heels at box rise.
“She has got to get out and go – but the box draw suits as long as she comes out,” Bravo said.
“I would much rather here where she is than in the middle our out wide where she’d have to cross the entire field.
“Her best sections are her first and middle section, so if she can find the front early she might pinch a bit of a break and from there we’re hoping she is good enough to hold on.”