One of the finest nights of racing on the Australian greyhound calendar will be run at Sandown Park on Thursday night, with eight heats of the $250,000 Group 1 Solo Melbourne Cup (515m), and two heats of the $72,500 Group 1 Bold Trease Carnival Cup.
Race 1: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 1 (7.07pm)
The opening heat of the night is likely to see Cohen Bale (7) start a short favourite despite drawing box 7. Widely regarded as one of the fastest greyhound in the country, Cohen Bale would be better drawn closer to the rail however the son of Big Daddy Cool did record an impressive win from the box in FFA company at Sandown Park on 21 October. Dee Winter (1) recorded a slick 29.52 run from the red box in a recent steward’s trial and also won the Traralgon Cup in good time from this box in June. Magpie Lomar (2) has been running well over the 595m of late but does have two wins from three starts over this distance and will finding the line late. Proven Jett (5) is a three time Group 1 finalist and with a 29.61 best at the track, cannot be discounted despite drawing box 5. Tombstone Jack (4) is the Tasmanian sprint champion and has improved in each of his three runs under new mentor Kel Greenough.
Tips: 7 – 1 – 2 – 5
Race 2: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 2 (7.25pm)
Group 1 Topgun winner El Grand Senor (3) is one of the best greyhounds of his generation and will again be hard to beat here. A winner of 21 of his 27 starts – including two Group 1 titles – El Grand Senor has won three of five at Sandown Park and boasts a best time of 29.46. Skipping the Group 3 Shootout to focus solely on this event, El Grand Senor broke his own track record in a trial at Sale last weekend, and having started favourite in each career start before his last start in the Topgun, is bound to again start a short favourite here. Vee Best Vane (1) has brilliant if at times erratic speed and is drawn to find a good position at the first turn. Seek And Destroy (4) is another who has been mixing his distances but does have five wins from 13 starts this track and distance including a best of 29.43.
Tips: 3 – 1 – 4 – 7
Race 3: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 3 (7.44pm)
Greywinds Doll (7) comes into this heat off a brilliant last start win in the Group 3 Silver Bullet at the Meadows in a stunning 29.72, also from this box. Penthouse (2) is a brilliant youngster finally drawn near the rail and is the biggest threat to Greywinds Doll. Symmetry (8) has little luck in sprint races but did record two slick wins from box 8 in August and September and if he can get a clear run around the first turn will be powering to the line late.
Tips: 2 – 7 – 8 – 6
Race 4: Bold Trease Carnival Cup heat 1 (8.09pm)
So Seductive (6) has been a revelation since converting to the staying distance, her only defeat in eight starts coming by half a length to top ranked stayer Blue Lorian in the Group 3 Topcat Cup final at the Meadows (incidentally, from this box). Has shown she is capable of leading all the way or working through a field and will start a deserved short favourite in this. Forty Twenty (8) has already tasted Group race success at Sandown Park and has drawn well in the pink. Slick Lee (1) is another New South Wales stayer drawn well in box 1. He missed the kick in the recent Group 2 Sir John Dillon Memorial but ran on well to finish third behind So Seductive, and if he can get away here will give a good sight. Jarvis Bale is a grand campaigner aiming at a remarkable 26th Group race final. Hasn’t won since June is a good place chance.
Tips: 6 – 8 – 1 – 7
Race 5: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 4 (8.28pm)
One of the most difficult races of the night sees National Sprint Champion Smooth Fancy (6) attempt to reach a fourth Group 1 final. A controversial omission from last week’s Shootout, Smooth Fancy is yet to salute over this distance at the Lightwood Road venue but was runner up in the Group 2 McKenna Memorial over 595m in July. Nova Surf (7) looms as his biggets danger. Generally a fast breaker, Nova Surf was an impressive winner of the Group 2 Warrnambool Cup, has a sound record from the wide boxes, and has five wins and four minor placing from nine starts at the track. Cosmic Planet (1), a litter-mate of Group 3 Shootout winner Cosmic Chief, was a runner up in the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder and is a good each-way chance here.
Tips: 7 – 6 – 1 – 4
Race 6: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 5 (8.52pm)
Cosmic Chief (7) was a brilliant winner of last week’s Group 3 Shootout in a stunning 29.33. Arguably the best sprinter in Victoria, Cosmic Chief has six wins from 11 starts at Sandown Park and with an ounce of luck through the first turn will prove very tough to hold out here. Miss Bel Air (1) is an exciting youngster who has won 10 of 16 career starts. She has drawn well in box 1 but races her stiffest test here. Tuaki (5) is a Group 2 winner at Wentworth Park who trialled well between races two weeks ago and will be better for his first look at the track. Aston Elle (3) is another exciting youngster making just her fifth race start. She fell in a Prelude last week but provided her confidence is unaffected, has the early pace to threaten. Gripen Bale (8) is drawn well and can contend if at his best.
Tips: 7 – 1 – 5 – 3
Race 7: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 6 (9.11pm)
An intriguing race, Crossfarnogue (1) may represent outstanding value following the boxdraw. The son of 2003 Melbourne Cup winner Bombastic Shiraz recaptured form with back-to-back wins at Cranbourne before his brilliant win in the final Cup Prelude last week in 29.57. Enry Walt (3) is likely to start favourite on the back of his outstanding Sandown record. He was an unlucky third in last week’s Shootout and is better drawn off the track. Numero Uno Bale (5) may hold the key to the race. Mad for the rails, he may compromise the run of those drawn inside him and open up the race for those outside. However if he can find the rail early, the determined chaser is capable of taking out the race himself. Group 1 Sandown Cup winner Next Top Model (6) resumed from a long lay off with a sound run last week. Should Numero Uno Bale crash hard left, Next Top Model should get plenty of room early and will be doing her best work late. Proven Chevy (7) is a good place chance.
Tips: 1 – 6 – 5 – 3
Race 8: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 7 (9.35pm)
Another intriguing race, Lethal Power (2) has drawn ideally in his bid for a fifth straight victory. The well bred youngster has risen quickly through the grades but is at home in this company. Snozz (5) is the oldest greyhound contesting the Solo Melbourne Cup series but is racing in career best form with two recent placings in the Group 3 Silver Bullet and Group 1 Topgun. Push The Paint (6) is two years younger than Snozz but has displayed a ton of potential in his young career, including an impressive second behind Cosmic Chief in last week’s Shootout. Bremerton Bale (7) announced his arrival with a slick 29.46 run in Grade 5 company two weeks ago and from the draw, is perhaps three time Cup winning trainer Graeme Bate’s best Cup chance.
Tips: 2 – 5 – 6 – 7
Race 9: Solo Melbourne Cup heat 8 (9.55pm)
Perfect Fancy (2) followed up his 29.45 Grade 5 heat run with a 29.68 run in a Prelude last week. With a similar racing pattern to younger half-brother and National Sprint Champion Smooth Fancy, Perfect Fancy will need a bit of luck early but is in the care of three-time Cup winning trainer Darren McDonald and will be primed for this. Aston Galilee (5) is a highly regarded, impeccably bred youngster in the Jason Thompson kennel and despite his inexperience is right in the mix here. Flash Of Light (8) is a four time Group race winner this year drawn well in box 8. Is best suited over the middle distances now but did with the Group 3 Dawson over this track and distance earlier this year and cannot be discounted. Dyna Forte (7) won the 2009 Group 3 Dawson and struggled since, however did record recent back to back wins and is well drawn here.
Tips: 2 – 5 – 8 – 7
Race 10: Bold Trease Carnival Cup heat 2 (10.14pm)
Satanic Cash (8) is one of the country’s most exciting stayers with his drop-out and run-on style. It was a huge run two weeks ago when chasing So Seductive home in the Group 2 Sir John Dillon Memorial. He has an outstanding record at the track, has drawn well out wide and will start a short favourite. Lady Arko (2) is an exciting staying prospect from New South Wales in the care of Gary Ennis for this campaign. She trialled at the venue recently and will improve on this run. Blue Lorian (3) is arguably the nation’s best stayer but has struggled at the venue in the past. Jersey Bale (7) is capable.
Tips: 2 – 8 – 3 – 7
The full fields for the 2010 Group 1 Melbourne Cup Heats can be found here : 2010 Group 1 Melbourne Cup Heats.
The boxdraw for the $250,000 Group 1 Solo Melbourne Cup will be conducted on the dais following race 10, while the boxdraw for the Bold Trease Carnival Cup will be conducted in the committee room after the last and will be available soon after.