STRIKER Light (Kc And All x Pretty Fancy Mar ’15) has been there, done that when it comes to performing on the big stages in greyhound racing.
The Kelly and Brett Bravo-trained bitch is already a dual group 1 winner, claiming both the National Futurity and the Golden Easter Egg earlier in 2017.
But, this Friday, the black speedster will line up for her biggest task to date – the world’s richest greyhound race – the Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park.
It’s the race everyone wants to win and the Bravo family are no different.
Kelly Bravo said Striker Light’s early speed is a huge asset going into the $420,000 to the winner decider.
“It’s nice to have a strong dog, but speed wins these types of races and slow beginners can get caught out the back a little bit,” Bravo told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She has good early speed – she gets out of a box well and she chases hard. If she gets her chance she will be in it for a long way.”
Striker Light qualified for the Melbourne Cup with a brilliant front running display last Friday night, clocking 29.37 off box two.
It was a few tenths off the 29.12 best set by Aston Dee Bee, but her sizzling first and second sectionals (5.01 18.55) are sure to put her in contention with a clean getaway in the final.
The win was the 20th of her career and took her earnings above $455,000.
Remarkably, punters were able to snare a massive $67 about her winning this week’s decider prior to the heats, with Bravo surprised punters and enthusiasts didn’t give her more of a chance.
“I don’t know where people got that from really,” Bravo said.
“People see a couple of 7ths and 8ths beside her name and assume she has gone off a bit I guess.
“When you really look at her form she is racing quite well. She came back from a break and won by a big space at Warrnambool in fast time, then she went to Adelaide and won a heat of the Cup.
“Her past couple of starts in the Adelaide Cup final and the Topgun she has drawn inside Raw Ability and both starts he has taken her running straight out of the boxes.
“Both times it’s not that she hasn’t gone well, she just hasn’t had the chance to get into the race early and she is not the type of dog to come from behind.”
Bravo said she and Brett are happy with their charge heading into the final and, despite initially being disappointed by drawing box eight, realise things could have been worse.
“At the end of the day she is probably better drawn out there than stuck in the middle – she has had box three in a couple of the big races recently and when there is so much pace in them you have to begin brilliantly or you are no better off.
“At least in box eight you don’t have any dogs to worry about on her outside and it’s all up to her.”
Naturally, Bravo concedes Striker Light will need a bit of luck, but says she has the ability to put herself in contention for the biggest prize in Australian greyhound racing.
“She can break five to the first mark. If she gets out well and can find the front early she will get the chance to break them up mid-race – that’s where she wins her races.
“But she will have to be on her game, that’s for sure.”
2017 Group 1 Melbourne Cup box draw
1. Aston Dee Bee
2. Kouta Mayhem
3. Chasin’ Crackers
4. Raw Ability
5. Up Hill Jill
7. Aston Miley
8. Striker Light
9. Not Available
10. Ando’s Mac