Stepping from box two in the second of four heats, the Anthony Azzopardi-trained greyhound was safely away and quickly mustered pace in the charge to the line on the first occasion, railing underneath Whirly Way (box seven) before kicking clear in the run down the back.
Swinging for home and the son of Nitro Burst and Flying Liddy was in a race of his own, stretching out to score by eight and one quarter lengths over Vegas Bound (box four).
The Victorian speed machine has subsequently been installed as the $1.75 favourite with Bet365 to take out next Thursday’s $75,000 to the winner decider, with the black dog coming up with box four.
Fellow Victorian Blazin’ Bomber was the punter’s pick in the opening heat of the night, sent to the traps as the $2.30 top elect from box six.
When the lids flew open speedy front runner Split Image (box one) landed in front, setting the pace ahead of Tripum (box seven) and Abby’s Magic (box four), with the favourite working his way into fourth around the first turn.
Coming off the back and little Split Image was out by four, but Blazin’ Bomber had moved into second and began cutting down the margin, levelling up in the home straight and exploding clear to register a four length victory in a flying 29.71.
NSW raider Knight Sprite looked to have the third heat at his mercy after a faultless beginning from box four, but the son of Magic Sprite and Jaydo’s Neglect tired in the closing stages, with top honours going to Outside Pass.
Beginning last from box seven, the Tony Apap-trained bitch did well to work her way into fifth around the first turn before making her move down the back.
Out in the clear, Outside Pass began grinding away, circling around her tiring rivals on the home turn and unleashing a powerful run down the middle of the track, hitting the front to score by half a length over Master Jackpot (box two) in 30.20.
Queensland star Thirty Talks was all the rage in the fourth and final heat of the night, but the son of Where’s Pedro and Unfinished left his supporters breathless after a poor beginning from box six.
Luckily the brindle dog was quick to find his feet, bursting through the pack to find his way to the front in the back straight.
Turning for home and the Tony Brett-trained chaser had a race winning break, holding off the fast finishing Cyndie’s Magic to win by one length in 29.93.
Thirty Talks has now won 14 of his 18 starts to date, with a win in next week’s feature set to take his career earnings to above $220,000.
Group 1 Winter Cup – box draw
Box 1 – Cyndie’s Magic – $15
Box 2 – Vegas Bound – $51
Box 3 – Outside Pass – $8.50
Box 4 – Zambora Brockie – $1.75 with Bet365
Box 5 – Master Jackpot – $12
Box 6 – Thirty Talks – $6
Box 7 – Split Image – $21
Box 8 – Blazin’ Bomber – $5
1st Res – Abby’s Magic – $51
2nd Res – Cheeky Chance – $51