An excited McDonald described his winner as a “bloody good dog” shortly after her amazing display in the world’s richest staying race.
Sent out as an odds-on favourite, the daughter of Mogambo and Off Springer (Flying Penske – Skullring) unleashed a run home that even the great Bold Trease would have been proud of to haul in the early leader Tarks Nemesis in the final stages and claim the race in a time of 42.04.
It was the second Group One win for Sweet It is in as many months and she is fast becoming the Queen of Australian greyhound racing with her eye-catching runs a real favourite among race-goers.
After beginning moderately from box seven, Sweet It Is was caught wide and drifted back to the tail of the field as Tarks Nemesis (4) went to the front.
Leaving the home straight the first time, things looked grim for Sweet It Is as she was forced to negotiate a heavy prat from Butterfly Bling (6).
As the field headed down the back, the three expected front runners from the Jeff Britton/Angela Langton kennel held the top three positions with Tarks Nemesis in front and looking to have most of the field covered. Mepunga Tiara (8) tried hard in second and Supersonic Hawk (1) sat third. If there was one danger it was always going to be Sweet It Is and as they passed the boxes from which they had started, she began to climb her own Everest, unwinding on her long run home.
Rounding the home turn, Tarks Nemesis had beaten off all but one competitor and that competitor was Sweet It Is. Once they hit the home straight, the 28kg black bitch switched on the afterburners and gave the leaders a cold as she zoomed by in display of blinding speed.
She scored by 1 1/2 lengths on the line from Tarks Nemesis who was gallant in defeat, while Mepunga Tiara battled on for third.
Of the beaten brigade Break O’ Day raced in fourth for most of the trip before being disappointed for a run on the home turn and finishing hard again to grab fourth. Zipping Joe (3) raced midfield and wide throughout and was also doing his best work at the end to finish fifth.
Supersonic Hawk (1) jumped third and raced in that position for most of the race before getting a little tired and finishing sixth. Know Class (5) struggled to find a position early and was severely hampered leaving the straight the first time and his chances were all but dashed at that stage. Similarly, Butterfly Bling (6) was slow away and found double trouble leaving the straight. He was unable to recover from that point.
Sweet It Is has now won nine career races from 34 outings and by winning the Sandown Cup, has taken her prizemoney earnings beyond $330,000.
1 – Sweet It Is (7) – Darren McDonald
2 – Tarks Nemesis (4) – Angela Langton
3 – Mepunga Tiara (8) – Jeff Britton
4 – Break O’ Day (2) – Max Wintle
5 – Zipping Joe (3) – Darren McDonald
6 – Supersonic Hawk (1) – Jeff Britton
7 – Know Class (5) – James Shaw
8 – Butterfly Bling (6) – David Phillips
1st Split: 6.15 (4)
2nd Split: 15.78 (4)
3rd Split: 30.71 (4)
Margins: 1 1/2 x 2
Scratchings: Heaps Of Ability (9), Infinite Wish (10)