Victorian greyhound racing’s current sprinting sensation, El Grand Senor last night overcome as tardy start to run a sectional record, reeling in the leaders to win running away in the best of the night.
The win was El Grand Senor’s ninth in a row, and his twenty fourth overall from just the thirty starts.
Last night’s modest prizemoney win from his Ballarat Cup heat win takes his career total to $403,435, but more importantly puts him a step closer to the $30,000 winners cheque awarded to next weeks Group 2 Petstock Ballarat Cup winner.
Unfortunately, the win also almost guarantees El Grand Senor will not be contesting the Group 2 Hobart Thousand heats scheduled for 9th December. The likelihood of which could’ve set up a tantalising clash with Tasmanian sprinting phenomenon Damek, who has now won all ten starts on his Hobart track.
However next weeks Ballarat Cup final does look to be an exciting clash, with El Grand Senor running the best of night in 25.06, but the 40kg black dog did show some vulnerability as he was tardy from the boxes and took almost the whole back straight to rope in early leaders Sheoak Ian and Kilty Lad.
Once on terms though, the Carloyn Jones trained son of Where’s Pedro put the issue beyond doubt, using his blistering acceleration to fly through the second section in 11.15; another second sectional record to go with his Sandown and Meadows second sectional records.
The box draw was performed track side after the last of the heats and has delivered El Grand Senor a task to win his fifth group race, starting from box 3, surrounded by speed greyhounds Proficient and Kynan’s Express.
2010 Group 2 Ballarat Cup Final Box Draw
- Box 1 – Proficient (trained by D. McDonald, Cranbourne) 25.55
- Box 2 – Star Diamond (J. Britton, Anakie) 25.38
- Box 3 – El Grand Senor (C. Jones, Sale) 25.06
- Box 4 – Kynan’s Express (J. Weir, Dooen) 25.54
- Box 5 – Cosmic Chief (D. Brown, Lara) 25.28
- Box 6 – Greta Bale (G. Bate, Lara) 25.20
- Box 7 – Flash Drive (G. Ennis, Sandhurst) 25.23
- Box 8 – Jimmy I Am (M. Turner, Anakie) 25.34 (2nd)
- 1st Res – Gaelic Bale (G. Bate, Lara) 25.43 (2nd)
- 2nd Res – Smoke Home (L. Gorman, Moe) 25.45 (2nd)
Complicating El Grand Senor’s hopes in the final, Flash Drive ran the quickest first sectional of 6.48, almost a length quicker than El Grand Senor’s 6.53 and was only one hundreth slower than El Grand Senor to the second sectional. Although not as strong in the run home Flash Drive’s effort to win his heat from box 1 in 25.23 was very impressive and the young Gary Ennis trained greyhound looks to have a very bright future.
Greta Bale for Lara trainer Graeme Bate was the second fastest qualifier running 6.51, 11.20, 25.20; but it was the effort of Group 3 Sandown Shootout winner Cosmic Chief to win in 25.28 which had everyone talking after the seven heats of the Ballarat Cup.
Coming off the back of what was a herculean run to get with a length and a half of Dyna Obelia in his heat of the Melbourne Cup, the Darren Brown trained greyhound looked to have no hope in last night’s heat after stepping slowly to be a clear last early.
In fact it wasn’t until mid way through the home corner that the greyhound managed to pass the the two slowest greyhounds, but still had a wall of canine rump in front of him while he waited for a run on the rails. Meanwhile Jimmy I Am was in a race of his own out in front reeling of sectionals of 6.50 and 11.24 to enter the home straight at least 2 lengths clear of the next closest greyhound.
And it looked very much like Jimmy I Am would prevail as all challenges fanned on the corner but struggled to make impression on the leader. Meanwhile Cosmic Chief had used the rails run to get within five lengths of the lead but looked as though the winning post would loom too quickly for him.
With just 50 metres to run, the white and black son of Brett Lee had got some clear running but still had to cover a modest 3 length gap to get past Jimmy I Am and guarantee a berth in the Group 2 $30,000 to the winner final. The chase looked forlorn, but the 33kg raised a Rapid Journey-like effort to not only cover the ground but win by .75 of a length.
It was easily one of the most impressive performances of committed chasing seen in a Ballarat Cup heat in recent memory, and throws down the gauntlet to El Grand Senor in next weeks final.
If El Grand Senor can begin better in next week’s final and rattle off record sectional times again, there is only one greyhound in the final who has the speed, the chase and the fire to run him down and we know Cosmic Chief won’t shy away from the challenge.
The stage is set. The 2010 Group 2 Ballarat Cup final is going to be a cracking race no matter how it plays out, but it may go down in history as a race for the ages; a supreme contest of speed versus chase.