Four of the nation’s best greyhounds were announced tonight as the starters in the Group 3 Shootout to be held at Sandown on Thursday 7th November 2013. The $50,000 to the winner event may not have the standard eight dog field, but it is certain to be just as exciting.
The first runner to be announced was the exhilarating Xylia Allen for Avalon trainer Jenny Hunt. The black bitch, formerly trained by Graeme Bate, is arguably the best bitch in Australia after her terrific wins in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown, the Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic and the Group 1 National Sprint Championship. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale has been racing at the top level for the majority of the career and has amassed 18 wins and 17 minor placings from 45 career starts. The recent Group 1 Topgun placegetter has won over $400,000 in prizemoney and, with her glistening record, was virtually guaranteed a spot in the race from the moment that she was nominated.
The second runner announced was WA champion Dyna Nalin. The Paul Stuart-trained powerhouse notched up his second Group 1 win over the weekend when taking out the Sky Racing Topgun from the awkward box eight. The Perth Cup hero is a model of consistency having won 26 races from 40 starts and should provide an exciting match for fellow backmarker, Xylia Allen, as we find out which is the strongest chaser of the iron pair.
Dual track record holder Punch One Out was the third competitor to gain a start in the Shootout. The Queensland bitch is an absolute freak as shown by her scintillating track records at both Wentworth Park (29.27s) and Richmond (29.90s) and will definitely take some wearing down if she lands on the bunny. After racing against the nation’s elite sprinters in numerous group and feature races, the daughter of Knocka Norris and Little Egyptian was finally rewarded with a deserved Group trophy for her efforts earlier this month when she took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park. With the right credentials to her name, Punch One Out was a fitting runner to line up in the race.
Banjo Boy may be the new kid on the block but he is undoubtedly transforming into the king of Sandown. The Vee Man Vane two year old is yet to crack through for a feature win at the top level, however some of his times would rival some of the greatest greyhounds we have seen grace the racetrack. Banjo Boy will go into the race with a hatrick of wins at his last three starts- two of which have been at Sandown- one of which was in a blistering 29.01s. With just 20 starts to his name, he has untapped potential and is a strong contender for the title.
The reserves for the field will be the Troy Iwanyk- prepared Crump (first reserve) and Jason Thompson’s breathtaking youngster Phenomenal (second reserve)
The all-important box draw will be conducted this Thursday night.