If you are scanning the form guides and wondering where many of the good Victorian dogs have gone, then I suggest you have a look at Race 8 on Traralgon’s Friday meeting, where the Lion Quality Products Group 2 Traralgon Cup final field has been assembled.
With a combined total of 128 wins between the eight finalists (average of 16 per runner), it is one of the best fields ever assembled at the McNairn Road venue, and one that would suit any ‘black type’ race in the country.
Pre-post betting suggests that Paw Licking from the Kel Greenough kennel will be toughest to beat, with an imposing record that is hard to ignore. Having won 17 of its 24 lifetime outings, the son of Elite State and Kingsbrae Di was scintillating in its heat win last Friday, where it easily accounted for Desalle Bale by over six lengths. Running 29.25, Paw Licking enters the final as the fastest heat winner and while box five may cause problems for most chasers, this fellow is usually a faultless beginner and will be very hard to be if it can retain its current form.
Desalle Bale may have had its colours lowered, but the accomplished black bitch is suited by wider draws and coming up with box seven now brings into calculations. Trained by the big-race specialist Graeme Bate, only the daring will be brave enough to think Desalle Bale isn’t without a chance to surge her career earnings towards $300,000 with a win in this event.
Outside of Paw Licking, the most eye-catching performance of the heats was that of Gold Town, who qualified courtesy of a 29.40 heat win. Starting from box three at odds of around $5.00, the Peter Hunt trained speedster settled second in the run, and finished too powerfully to steal the win by half a length. However the most impressive thing about that run was that it was a highballing General Destini that he ran down and they will obviously meet again come final time.
Gold Town will exit box three while General Destini will position itself next door in box two, which will set up interesting scenario heading to the first turn.
New South Wales will have a representative after Transcend Time qualified for back-to-back Group finals with an easy 29.65 lead-all-the-way win. Backing up from a third placing in the Bulli Gold Cup behind Jagger Swagger, Devon Meadows trainer and breeder, Wayne Vassallo now has the duty of caring for the Reg Kay-bred dog during its time in Victoria, taking over from Mark Azzopardi.
Causing a large headache for form students is where Transcend Time will be positioned early in the race, as box four will likely cause many challenges being wedged between the three previously mentioned runners. Nonetheless, Transcend Time will represent value in a race where several runners are capable of putting their best foot forwards.
Meanwhile, Keith and Lisa Hellmuth must be wondering which ladder they walked under recently, after their super chaser Peter Rocket has again drawn off the track. Having started from box 8, 8, 7 and 6 in his last four races he will again don the pink vest for this event. The wide drawn didn’t affect the black son of Where’s Pedro last week however, as he came from behind the speed to land the prize in 29.50 over Garrick Bale. While Garrick Bale will take a seat on the reserves bench, Peter Rocket is another that stands a good chance of making an impact on the race. Being known as a tearaway leader early in his career, Peter Rocket has since shown that he can finish races off in style, and in a final where many dogs may be reliant on leading, strength should be a valuable asset to have.
Despite a decent 29.73 heat win, Hoover Jack is likely to start at double-figure odds from box six. It gives Peter Hunt two runners in the Cup, but is going to need luck from such an awkward draw and against some handy opposition. His form suggests that Hoover Jack is a ‘win or run nowhere’ type of dog and as such will be left out of most punters trifectas.
The most unusual scenario of the 2013 Traralgon Cup final is that an Andrea Dailly runner drawn box one is going to be the roughest dog in the race via Yoda Bale. The Meticulous-Blachura Bale pup scored a narrow win over Hawk Alone at large odds in order to take a spot in the final, and faces the prospect of being run off its legs early in the race. In saying that, underestimating the Wheeler/Dailly combination is fraught with danger and it wouldn’t be the first time a blowout result has been created in such a manner.
Be sure not to miss what is likely to be one of the highlight provincial races on the 2013 calender.
2013 Lion Quality Products Group 2 Traralgon Cup Final
$42,000 First Prize, 513 metres, Race 8 @ 9:42pm AEST
1) Yoda Bale
2) General Destini
3) Gold Town
4) Transcend Time
5) Paw Licking
6) Hoover Jack
7) Desalle Bale
8) Peter Rocket
9) Garrick Bale
10) Hawk Alone