Victa Damian the one to beat in Australian Cup final

Victa Damian
Despite drawing box seven, young gun will be tough to beat in the Australian Cup final at on Saturday night.

In an ominous sign for rivals, has promised Victa Damian will be even better for the Australian Cup final at The Meadows this Saturday night.

The supremely talented South Australian chaser had the crowd stunned after he won his heat by 5 ½ lengths in a time of 29.70 over the 525m distance on the weekend.

A sluggish beginning from the coveted box one was simply not a worry for this precocious talent.

In what seemed like just a blink of an eye, Victa Damian burned his rivals after the first turn and it was all over from there, with finishing runner-up.

And despite drawing box seven for the $300,000-to-the-winner final, make no mistake Victa Damian will still be tough to beat.

Because of that starting lane he has $7 winning odds with online bookmakers, but that could offer great value to punters.

The brilliant sprinter should also have no problems again lining up at the Melbourne track.

He finished sixth and third there in his first two Meadows starts, both at Grade 5 level in November.

But – except for his start, which was far from terrible – there were no signs of rust on Saturday night.

“He's the best travelling dog I've ever had. I expected that, and I was hoping he'd go a little better than that,” Rasmussen told Australian Racing Greyhound after his heat victory.

“One hundred per cent (he'll improve for the final).

“When I brought him here the first two times I never trialled him. I just chucked him in.

“That was a mistake on my behalf. I should've trailled him before I raced him here – then he would've been a different dog.”

Australian Cup Semi Final 1 – Victa Damian (1st)

A veteran greyhound trainer with a sharp eye for talent, Rasmussen does not mince his words when he speaks about how much talent last month's winner possesses.

“It's exciting for us (co-trainer and wife Lisa, and connections) because we've never had a dog of this quality before,” he said.

“We've had good dogs, but not dogs .

“He's just unbelievable. And I've got another one at home, his sister.

“And we're thinking she could be as good.”

Victa Damian could very soon become the best-ever chaser to emerge from South Australia.

But for all his natural ability, he also has plenty of toughness and resilience.

“When he won his feature race at , the next day his face blew out,” Rasmussen said.

“This was before (the Derby) in Sydney.

“He had something stuck in his tooth. After that he was on antibiotics.

“He got over that, and his weight just kept going up and up.

“Now we've got him where he needs to be. He's a champion.”

The fastest Australian Cup heat time went to Baby Jaycee, with Robert Douglas' two-year-old bitch taking out the second qualifier by 1 ¾ lengths and crossing the line in 29.66 seconds.

Australian Cup Semi Final 2 – Baby Jaycee (1st)

Mortified was the third-fastest qualifier, producing a 29.76-second effort for .

She crossed beautifully from box eight to lead at the first turn, and she was not headed from there.

“I was very happy with her back section,” he said.

“I thought if she could lead she could run them off their legs.”

O'Brien is based at Hill in southern New South Wales and drove nine hours to oversee an excellent performance from Mortified on Saturday night.

“Definitely (the drive was worth it). I came down on Monday and trialled her,” he said.

“I stopped a couple of times and kept her hydrated.”

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