Trained by Brett Bravo, the son of Knocka Norris and She Ain’t Late jumped fairly from box three in the fourth heat of the night, working into the race around the turn before unleashing a powerful run down the centre of the track in the home straight. The brindle and white dog had to dig deep in the run to the line, grabbing tearaway leader Zipping Arnold (box two) in the shadows of the post to record a 23.68 victory.
Just 0.001 of a second behind Unlawful Entry’s time was ultra-consistent speedster Aston Bolero which scored an all the way victory in the opening heat of the night. Jumping well from box three, the 32.7 kilogram chaser was never in danger, striding to the line to score by three and three quarter lengths over Slick Ice (box six), with outsider Sparkeen (box eight) filling the trifecta back in third.
Aston Bolero will contest his eighth group race final in Friday’s decider where he will be aiming to give trainer Jason Thompson his second feature race within a week, with the leading Victoria mentor taking out Saturday’s Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic at Wentworth Park with Buck Forty.
Pantera Nera will be striving to record his second group win within a fortnight when he lines up in Friday’s final, coming into the series following his emphatic victory in the Group 2 Traralgon Cup (525m) on June 18.
The son of Mildean Panther and Go Jessie’s Girl showed his usual brilliant speed to find the front from box seven in the eighth heat on Sunday night, holding off a late challenge from Pure Titanium (box six) and Ando’s Mac (box three) to score by 0.10 of a length in 23.79.
Proven Kodiak (box seven) was back to his best in the second heat, with the Wayne Vassallo-trained dog coming into the race following two seconds at Shepparton in his heat and final of the Northern Districts Cup. The black dog stepped much better in his qualifier on Sunday, surging clear to register his 16th career triumph in 23.77.
The third heat was tipped to be a duel between promising speedsters Ultimate Magic (box one) and Weekend Binge (box five), however when the lids flew open the former made it a one act affair, leading virtually all the way to score by one and one quarter lengths in a speedy 23.74.
Sensational short course sprinter Zoltina’s Legacy qualified for the biggest race of his 37 start career when taking out the fifth heat. Jumping well from box seven, the son of Sir Prize and Zoltina Jay made his classy rivals look like fifth graders, stretching out to defeat One For Me (box five) in 23.94.
The consistent greyhound has now won 21 of his 37 starts with a further 12 placings – remarkably only missing a top three finish four times throughout his career to date.
2016 Group 2 Shepparton Cup winner Gotta Get Back will be striving to add another Country Cup to his name when he contests the $47,000 to the winner final this week, with the blue and white dog defeating a quality field in the sixth heat of the night.
Showing good speed from box seven, the rising four year old was able to roll to the lead and was too strong in the run to the line, defeating Anthony Azzopardi’s Brilliant Shot (box eight) in 23.84.
The remaining heat of the night was the only one to see a double figure runner salute, with Mumma Josie (box six) upsetting some of her more fancied rivals to score at $11.
Star chaser Shared Equity started as the odds on favourite, but never got into the race after a slow start, with Mumma Josie firing out of the boxes and holding off Black Mumbo (box two) to win in 23.98 for Jeff Britton.
2016 Group 2 Bendigo Cup (425m) – box draw
BOX 1 – GOTTA GET BACK
BOX 2 – ASTON BOLERO
BOX 3 – ZOLTINA’S LEGACY
BOX 4 – PROVEN KODIAK
BOX 5 – PANTERA NERA
BOX 6 – MUMMA JOSIE
BOX 7 – UNLAWFUL ENTRY
BOX 8 – ULTIMATE MAGIC
1ST RES – ZIPPING ARNOLD
2ND RES – PURE TITANIUM