Despite the shock elimination of many of the series favourites in last week’s semi-finals, tonight’s group one Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic is shaping up to be a terrific race with some sensational youngsters lining up for their crack at the prize.
Early favourite for the $100,000 to the winner event is the Graeme Bate trained Schroder Bale ($2.50 fixed odds with Sportsbet) from box two. The son of Dyna Lachlan was very impressive when coming from behind to claim his heat in a sizzling 29.82 seconds (BON) and is definitely the dog to beat. Schroder Bale has been racing extremely well in similar company over the past few months and will be given his best chance to secure an elusive group race victory with a favourable box draw. The black and white chaser is a good beginner and a fantastic railer with a flawless two from two from the checks.
Hoover Jack ($4.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet) is another quick beginner who will be making Schroder Bale work hard in the early stages when he exits box one. After a good getaway last week the Peter Hunt trained greyhound never looked in danger claiming his qualifier by four and one quarter lengths in a slick 29.99 seconds. Returning to the cherry for the decider, the winner of 15 races looks a big chance particularly with his strong record over the track and distance which currently stands at five wins and two minors from eight starts and a personal best of 29.78 seconds.
Arguably the most impressive finalist is Dyna Nalin ($4.20 fixed odds with Sportsbet). After an average beginning last week the son of Ashom Bale ran a stunning race to salute by three and one quarter lengths in a fast 29.89 seconds in what was easily the performance of the night. If he steps evenly with the field they will be hard pressed to hold him out however with a poor box four draw and a tendency to mix his box manners he will have a hard task ahead of him. Regardless, Dyna Nalin’s overall record is impeccable as a winner of twenty two races from thirty three starts. As a proven group winner, the Western Australian greyhound is all class and one of the biggest threats in the race.
The value runner in the event at this stage is the Troy Iwanyk prepared Crump ($5.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet). The May 2011 whelp has only had nineteen starts on the track but has already notched up twelve wins and four minors with tonight’s group one certainly an acid test however he does appear up to the challenge.
The son of Superman was brilliant when claiming his semi-final last week in classy fashion. Beginning well from box three, Crump was beaten for speed by the Mark Delbridge trained Allen Makoto who took up the lead in the run out of the first turn. Once he balanced up in the back straight Crump dashed pashed the rails runner to record a three length victory in 29.92 seconds.
Iwanyk, who has a huge opinion of the dog, was impressed with his run.
“I thought he would go well, it was a very hard semi but he put himself in the race early”, Iwanyk said.
“He has always put the times on the board and had talent but he has just taken some time to mature”.
“I rate him as the best I have ever been associated with”.
The time of 29.92 seconds was well off his personal best of 29.68 seconds over the track and distance, however given the style of the race it was a very convincing performance.
“He had to work hard coming from behind to get around Allen Makato but he still went on to draw clear”.
This week Crump moves into the awkward box six but if his early career performances are any indication of his ability, he should be able to overcome the draw.
“It’s not ideal but it’s not entirely terrible”, Iwanyk explained.
“The way the field has panned out as long as he can get away cleanly and balance up, with his pace he should be up there early”.
“As is the case with many dogs it’s not so much where he comes from but how he begins and the dogs around him”.
After many of the blistering speed dogs were knocked out of the series last week, it does leave the event open for many of these runners who do take a couple of strides to find their top speed. Crump will be one such runner that should be able to muster plenty of pace in the run to the first turn and give his rivals a shake.
Crump has an added incentive to win with an incredible $100,000 breeder’s bonus on offer to his owners and breeder should he cross the line in first position as the first greyhound by Superman (that was whelped after August 2009) to win a group one race.
At this stage all other runners are at double figure prices with Marcus Joe ($10.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet) the next best in the market followed by Hawk Alone ($14.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet), Langi Bale ($17.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet) and Heidi Go Seek ($31.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet). Reserve runners Kiss Me Ketut ($51.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet) and Allen Makoto ($8.00 fixed odds with Sportsbet) have their claims but will need luck in securing a run.
The group one Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic is race eight at The Meadows tonight and will jump at 9:47 pm (Vic time).