Backing up after taking out the Traralgon Puppy Classic just four nights earlier, Ronan Izmir exploded out of box one and registered blistering sections of 6.48 and 11.24 en route to a 9 1/4 length 23.68 heat victory. In 2012 Thompson landed the Skill Training Bendigo Cup with speed machine Peggy May and after drawing box two Ronan Izmir is set to start favourite for the $42,000 to the winner Group 2 event on Easter Sunday.
Fastest qualifier Paw Licking is one of two Bendigo Cup finalists for trainer Kel Greenough and the former NSW Northern Rivers speedster clocked the second fastest time recorded over the 425m trip at Bendigo when he registered 23.59 from box one. Paw Licking recorded the fastest second split time of 11.21 of the eight heats however he will need to begin cleanly to overcome the box five draw in the rich final, especially with faultless beginner Arizona Dozer drawn immediately on his inside.
Greenough’s other qualifier, another former NSW sprinter and littermate to Paw Licking, Take The Weight was impressive in a 23.73 victory from box one and he is drawn well in box seven.
Another ex NSW sprinter Arizona Dozer was at his brilliant best in a smart 23.77 heat win after clocking 6.48 and 11.23 to the marks and he has drawn box four for the master Graeme Bate. Like Greenough, Bate has two runners in the Bendigo Cup after Nico Bale saluted in a steady 24.30, clearly the slowest of the heats.
Evergreen sprinter Stagger landed his 44th career victory at his 82nd race start when he led through to qualify for yet another feature race final stopping the clock in 23.79 and with a nice draw in box three the four and half year “veteran” is a live chance.
Former Queenslander Gardam Ace clocked 23.92 and Vapour Storm registered 24.00 in taking out the other two Cup heats. Sunday’s Skill Training Victoria Bendigo Cup will be run at 8.09pm and highlights a sensational card of greyhound racing with no less than seven feature events of the twelve event card.
Box draw for the Bendigo Cup Final is as follows: 1. NICO BALE 2. RONAN IZMIR 3. STAGGER 4. ARIZONA DOZER 5. PAW LICKING 6. GARDAM ACE 7. TAKE THE WEIGHT 8. VAPOUR STORM 9. VEYRON BALE 10. ESPECIALLY