Six heats of the Group 2 Lion Quality Products Warragul Cup were conducted on Sunday afternoon and the excitement factor was at an all time high when the Nicole Mcrae trained chaser, Walk Hard, broke the track record in the third heat.
The final will be an interesting affair with Paw Licking and Black Magic Opal meeting for the first time since Paw Licking's track record breaking win in the Hobart 1000. That match up alone will have plenty of eyes drawn to Warragul for Friday night's final. Here is a summary of the six heats:
2014 Warragul Cup Heat One
There was a boil over in the first heat when Risk of Damage (4) finished too strongly for Whata Good Size (2). Whata Good Size and Transcend Time (1) were vying for favouritism before box rise. When the lids lifted, Risk of Damage, Ollie Bale (5), Transcend Time and Whata Good Size all got away well. By the first turn there was only Risk of Damage, Whata Good Size and Ollie Bale contending for the lead. Ollie Bale was stuck on the outside of the other two and up the straight, Whata Good Size hit the lead but Risk of Damage wasn't finished yet as he reeled in Whata Good Size to win by half a length in 26.04. He was a $29.60 in Victorian betting markets. Ozzie Bullet (7) rattled home for third.
2014 Warragul Cup Heat Two
Black Magic Opal (4) returned to the winner's circle with an emphatic two and a quarter length win in the second heat. Black Magic Opal recorded 25.61 and defeated Crump (7) and Empire Allen (8). Black Magic Opal led and the race was over from that point on, with the contest for second and third the only race happening. Check My Swagger (6) got away well and was positioned nicely in second but collided with Mepunga Armagh (2) in the home straight. Crump finished strongly, getting into second and booking a place in the final.
2014 Warragul Cup Heat Three
The third heat resulted in an amazing track record breaking run by Walk Hard (3) who ran down Paw Licking (7) in an exciting duel up the home straight. Walk Hard recorded 25.46 in his one length victory. Paw Licking led easily into the turn, running the fastest first sections of all the heats and the race looked all but over. Walk Hard began midfield but was able to find a nice position on the rails to begin his record breaking run. Mepunga Fearon (1) battled away for third. Walk Hard is clearly the fastest qualifier through to next Friday's final.
2014 Warragul Cup Heat Four
Banjo Boy (7) started favourite but wasn't able to overcome the box and finished fifth. It was a tight run into the first turn with Nic Nat Nui (8), Izack Bale (2) and Cee Ronaldo (1) all challenging for the lead. Cee Rinaldo came off best but Evie's Entity (4) was finishing fast along the rails and she drew away to win by two and a half lengths in 25.78.
2014 Warragul Cup Heat Five
This was the hardest heat to pick a clear winner. The recent Tasmanian edition to Darren McDonald's kennels impressed with a solid second in this heat. Cointreau Cap (6) led the field up with Premier Event (8) doing the chasing early. Behind them, Awesome Grunt (1) was working himself into the race nicely with a run along the rails. Cointreau Cap kept plugging away up front but Awesome Grunt was slowly working him down, eventually getting to him and winning by three quarters of a length in 25.79. Crawf's Bread (3) snuck home for third.
2014 Warragul Cup Heat Six
Deadly Vane (8) was much too good in the final heat. He used the outside box to perfection to run away with a five length win in 25.57. Musquin Bale (7) performed well at his first start back from a long spell to finish second with Dark Warrior winding up in third.
The field and box draw for the final on Friday, 24 January 2014 (including heat times) is:
2014 Warragul Cup Final Box Draw
- 1. Paw Licking – Kelvyn Greenough (25.52)
- 2. Deadly Vane – Joe Borg (25.57)
- 3. Awesome Grunt – Ian Bindley (25.79)
- 4. Evie's Entity – Lyn Smith (25.78)
- 5. Walk Hard – Nicole Mcrae (25.46)
- 6. Risk of Damage – Geraldine Debono (26.04)
- 7. Black Magic Opal – Jason Thompson (25.61)
- 8. Crump – Troy Iwanyk (25.75)
- 9. Cointreau Cap – Darren McDonald (25.84)
- 10. Musquin Bale – Andrea Dailly (25.88)