Jumping from box three in the fourth qualifier, the son of Buck Fever and Fancy Jaffa was only fairly into stride and had to settle for a midfield position on the fence in the run to the line on the first occasion.
Heading through the catching pen, Buck Forty was able to work his way into second spot behind Bulkender (box one) before grinding away to capture the lead in the home straight, drawing clear to record a 34.78 victory on a rain affected track.
A winner of 13 of his 34 starts, Buck Forty has been installed as the $3.20 favourite to claim the $75,000 winner’s cheque on Saturday night, where he will jump from box one against a cracking line-up.
Buck Forty’s trainer Jason Thompson will have three runners in the final, having also qualified Pop The Cork and Aeroplane Tommy.
Pop The Cork was impressive in claiming his heat of the feature, working his way through the field from second last early to triumph in 34.76. He is rated a $4.50 shot to topple the favourite and will start from box three in pursuit of his first group 1 trophy.
Aeroplane Tommy took out the last heat of the night, putting in a courageous performance to score despite finding a stack of interference throughout the run. Clocking 35.02 on the bog track, he is much better than that, having recorded a 34.41 win over the track and trip three starts back.
Boom youngster Fanta Bale is also right in contention for the title, having won her qualifier in 34.73. Starting from box seven, the Rob Britton-trained bitch landed straight in front and was too strong for her opponents, defeating group 1 winner Midwinter to score her 12th career win at start 16.
The daughter of David Bale and American bitch Ucme Typhoon will have to contend with box six in the final, however she is still rated a strong chance, having been installed as the $4.20 second favourite with Crownbet.
Britton won two heats of the Hume Cup on Saturday night, also putting the polish on the fastest qualifier, Silverali. Despite being drawn awkwardly in box six, the brindle dog was able to find the lead in the early stages, holding off a late challenge from Brad Hill Billy to clock a 34.45 triumph. As the fastest second, Brad Hill Billy will also progress through to the decider where he has drawn box five.
The remaining heat was taken out by consistent campaigner Margins, making it win 23 at start 75.
The black dog was taking on a sensational field and never looked like winning after a slow start, however he kept grinding away back in fourth spot, hooking to the outside around the home turn and storming down the centre of the track to find the front.
Runner-up Eddie Eagle booked the final spot in the decider, qualifying as the second fastest second in 34.75.
The final of the Group 1 Hume Cup will be run over 600m at The Meadows on Saturday night, with the winner pocketing $75,000.
Group 1 Hume Cup – early betting market
1 – Buck Forty $3.20
2 – Aeroplane Tommy $5.50
3 – Pop The Cork $4.50
4 – Silverali $17 with Crownbet
5 – Brad Hill Billy $13
6 – Fanta Bale $4.20
7 – Margins $11
8 – Eddie Eagle $13
1st Res – Reichenbach $26
2nd Res – Hukanui $11