EIGHT sensational heats of the Group 1 Australian Cup take centre stage at The Meadows this Saturday night with each winner progressing through to next week’s $250,000-to-the-winner final.
No fewer than 25 individual Group winners will contest the series, all looking to add their names to the honour roll which boasts some of the greatest names the sport has seen.
The inaugural Australian Cup was in 1958 at the old North Melbourne track and was won by champion chaser Rookie Rebel. Since then, greyhounds of the calibre of Benjamin John (1969), Tangaloa (1980), Ginger (1989), China Trip (1992-3), Tenthill Doll (1996), Brett Lee (2001), Bogie Leigh (2004) and Dyna Lachlan (2010) have taken home the coveted trophy, with last year’s prize going to the recently retired Tasmanian Buckle Up Wes.
The 2015 Australian Cup has attracted some of the best sprinters from across the nation.
Heat One – The first heat features last week’s Group 1 Rookie Rebel winner Cosmic Wise (box five) up against track record holder Allen Deed (box four) and boom NSW sprinter Winsome Prince (box six). Recruitment might be able to sneak under the radar, ideally drawn in box one after his slashing 29.84 last-start victory over the track and distance.
Heat Two – Fernando Bale (box two) and Azza Azza Azza (box three) headline the second heat with both coming into the series as recent feature race winners. Fernando Bale showed explosive speed throughout the three-week National Derby series at Wentworth Park, claiming that Group 1 event in devastating fashion. He will contest the heat as a winner of his past five races. Azza Azza Azza, a winner of 21 from 31, broke through for a deserved win in the Group 2 Shepparton Cup last month before scoring at The Meadows in a hot 29.71 last start. Outside of those two it is very open with Lamia Bale (box four), Dyna Nico (box five) and Secret Spell (box six) all in with a chance.
Heat Three – Anything Less (box one), Above All (box two) and Dyna Double One (box seven) are the star chasers in the third heat. Anything Less comes to Victoria with outstanding Wentworth Park credentials while Dyna Double One is fresh off his win in the Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation at Cannington. Above All will be aiming to bounce back from his solid fourth placing in last week’s Temlee.
Heat Four – If Dyna Villa (box one) can take out the Group 1 Australian Cup series he will become Australia’s highest stakes earner, but he has to bounce back from a couple of uncharacteristically poor performances. He is drawn in box one and has plenty of speed so he should find the front, but has had an extremely long preparation for such a young dog. The main dangers appear to be Ride The Rails (box four), Midnight Flynn (box five) and Astronomize (box eight).
Heat Five – Marcus Joe was all heart when placed third in last week’s Temlee and he looks drawn to feature in this series after coming up with box one for his heat. He will have to put his best paw forward with speedy greyhounds Chica Destacada (box three), Spring Leaf (box four), Ronray Spirit (box five) and Hostile (box seven) set to ensure an excellent battle to qualify for the final.
Heat Six – My Bro Fabio (box seven) has been in superb form, claiming the Group 1 Perth Cup and Temlee in recent weeks. He looks ideally suited out wide to swoop around the field, with his main opposition including Kiss Me Ketut (box one), Avondale Porche (box three) and Diva’s Shadow (box eight).
Heat Seven – Ikaku Bale (box five) stunned a lot of spectators last Saturday when scoring in a sizzling 29.60 over the track and distance, but he faces a much tougher task this week from the middle draw. Luca Neveelk (box three) is ultra consistent and looks to be the early leader, while Ritza Hattie (box six), Winsome Mission (box seven) and Waymore’s Blues (box eight) will also be right in contention.
Heat Eight – The final heat is an extremely open affair with the class runner definitely Awesome Project (box eight). He ran second in last Saturday’s Temlee and is as honest as they come. His biggest problem will be attempting to cross from the pink. Hawk Alone (box one), Dawkins Bale (box four), Weblec Belle (box five) and Droopys Bentley (box seven) are other notable contenders in the last qualifier.