The Speed Star is a unique concept, with eight of the fastest dogs to have raced or publicly trialled at Sandown Park between June 1 and August 28 contesting one of four two-dog match races on the night.
The winner of each match race is set to pocket $10,000, with the fastest overall winner collecting an additional $15,000 and the Speed Star title.
Jesaulenko qualified for the feature with a fast 29.37 trial at Sandown on August 21, slotting him into seventh qualifying position behind superstar sprinter Zambora Brockie (29.14).
The son of College Causeway and Elite Fairy will start from the inside box in the second match race against Andrea Dailly’s Shima Song, with trainer Terri Morris expecting a good performance.
“I am sure he will be competitive and put his best foot forward,” Morris told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I am expecting improvement this week after his trial last Sunday – I think he was a little bit flat.
“Prior to his trial at Sandown I trialled him at Traralgon on the Monday and he ran 22.20 which is a track record and on top of that he had a hand slip during the week.
“He also went up with the lids a little bit so all things considered I was happy with the run.
“At first I was apprehensive as to whether he would make it into the final after he ran that time because at that point Jason (Thompson) still had two to trial and Darren (Pattinson) had one – I didn’t think he had gone fast enough.
“Luckily he did enough to make it into the field so hopefully he goes well this Thursday.”
Jesaulenko is currently a ‘roughie’ of the field at the $8 mark with Bet365 to win the entire series and is $1.70 to win his match race. Zambora Brockie is the favourite at $1.90, while exciting stayer Burn One Down is the second elect at $3.65.
Don’t be fooled by this price tag, Jesaulenko is a seriously fast animal, having broken Fernando Bale’s track record at Traralgon, running 29.84 over the 525m trip back in April, while he also recorded a phenomenal 29.13 when winning at Sandown back in January.
The black dog heads into the Speed Star having won 20 of his 41 starts, much to the delight of Morris who bred the 32.5-kilogram chaser from her family’s dam line.
“He is just a dream dog to have… it just doesn’t matter what task you give to him he seems to be able to step up,” Morris said.
“Whether he trials or whether he is racing he always puts his best foot forward – he just loves to chase.
“He is very consistent and he is just a very competitive dog.”
On top of being a star sprinter on the track, Morris affirmed that Jesaulenko is a much loved member of her family at home and will have a spot on her couch for life when the time comes for him to retire from racing.
“He is a happy dog – he is spoilt rotten – he basically lives on cheese and bacon rolls,” Morris laughed.
“After every race and trial I get him an ice-cream and happy meal – without the soft drink.
“He has got the worst diet, but it doesn’t affect him – I would hate to see his cholesterol levels though!”
Speed Star – market
Zambora Brockie – $1.90
Burn One Down – $3.65
Dundee Osprey – $6.50
Snakebite Bale (1st Res) – $6.50
Blazin’ Bomber (2nd Res) – $6.50
Jesaulenko – $8 with Bet365
Shima Song – $13
Polijuice Potion – $15
Allen Terminator – $21
Dyna Boomer – $34