The traditional Melbourne Cup-eve meeting at The Meadows always brings back memories of when Monday nights were on par with Thursday as the premier greyhound fixture.
With the Silver Bullet providing that exciting link between the Topgun and the Melbourne Cup, the Group 1 Hume Cup adds that middle distance flavour, and it again proved to be one of the most entertaining nights of the year.
This year’s Silver Bullet saw a superstar field scamper over the 525 metres, with an open betting race greeting punters for sixth race of the night.
Peter Rocket ($4.20) had come up with the cherry draw for a second consecutive week and looked hard to beat on paper. However Desalle Bale ($5.30) had drawn comfortably in box eight, with the in-form Farmor Las Vegas ($6.60) next door in box seven. Buckle Up Mason ($5.10) and Iona Seven ($12.00) were hoping to overcome awkward middle alleys with Gold Town ($12.40) also in that category. Dark Warrior ($8.60) was at juicy each-way odds while veteran chaser Imry Bale ($8.10) rounded out the talented field.
Upon boxrise it was Dark Warrior who speared the lids, along with Farmor Las Vegas and Desalle Bale carving across out wide. Once the dust had settled around the first bend, Dark Warrior still showed the way, but it wasn’t long before Farmor Las Vegas took control of the race.
Unleashing a powerful burst, the son of Knocka Norris and Farmor See You came away to win well in a brilliant time of 29.71.
Robert Britton’s ferocious chaser put the writing on the wall Thursday night with an impressive win at Sandown Park, when he overcame a poor start and ran down National Time in the shadows of the post. He also qualified for the Adelaide Cup with what was easily the quickest heat time, running a slashing 29.36 on that occasion.
But on his 43rd career start, Farmor Las Vegas extended his record to 18 wins and 13 placings, with what is probably the biggest win of his career to date.
Of the beaten brigade, Dark Warrior put up the best fight, with Peter Rocket holding down third after only a moderate getaway.
Two races later it was the stayers turn in the Hume Cup final over 600 metres. Bookkeeper ($1.70) was a deserved favourite after breaking the track record in the heat, but box six may have not been the ideal draw. Proven Impala ($4.00) was closer to the rail in box three, and those two would subsequently dominate the market.
Despite the seasoned opposition, it was to be Alpe D’Huez ($11.30) who would upset the apple cart though, winning his first Group 1 final for Kelly Bravo and the Horizon Gold Syndicate.
Sitting second behind Easton Bale ($27.70) with a lap to go, the son Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse was looming large a long way from home. Bookkeeper and Proven Impala both failed to find clear galloping room, especially when Easton Bale used plenty of the track, and Alpe D’huez was in the best position to swoop when the leader tired on the home corner.
Charging away like a quality greyhound should, the 34kg fawn chaser clicked into overdrive in the home straight to win the $75,000 prize in 34.33.
Bookkeeper got home hard for second, but was realistically never a winning hope, with Easton Bale clinging on to the minor end of the money, running a cheeky race.
Alpe D’huez has now had 44 starts for 17 wins and with this landmark victory, doubles his career purse to over $140,000.
The remainder of the program consisted primarily of a strong Grade 5 series. Vapourash was impressive winning the opening heat in 30.07, before Lukey Deez was successful in 30.09. Crackerjack Lil showed her usual dash against easier-than-normal opposition in 30.10, while Paw Licking lead all the way as expected in a slick 29.95. Mystic Fancy was a surprise winner of the fifth heat and Dyna Filbert rounded out the night with a good win from box two in 30.23.