Raw Ability is the TAB favourite at $3.30 to win Sunday’s Group 3 Healesville Cup (350m).
A two-time Group 1 winner, Raw Ability has drawn box three in the $25,000 to-the-winner final after a narrow win last weekend in 19.12sec, the second fastest time of the eight heats.
Trainer Anthony Azzopardi was delighted with the run, which was Raw Ability’s first start at Healesville. After leading in the early stages, Raw Ability was headed by the highly promising Eye Got It before digging deep to win.
“When Eye Got It headed him I thought Raw Ability would run second, but he is such a tough dog. He’s one in a million,” Azzopardi said.
Having endured shoulder and sesamoid troubles, Raw Ability missed three months of racing in the middle of the year, but he has had three starts upon return and won his past two.
“He has been beginning really well and I think box three will suit him down to the ground. If he can begin like he did in his heat he will be hard to beat,” Azzopardi said.
The fastest heat winner was Hot Jean in 19.02sec – 1.5 lengths quicker than Raw Ability. She is a $5.50 chance with TAB to win the race, which would be veteran trainer John Barbara’s first win at group level.
Barbara is hoping Hot Jean’s vast experience at the track will hold her in good stead.
“A lot of people trial their dogs at Healesville but don’t necessarily race there. Hot Jean has plenty of race experience there and I think that generally makes a big difference,” Barbara said.
Barbara said that with Healesville being Victoria’s only straight TAB greyhound track it suits Hot Jean perfectly.
“I run her up my 240m straight track at home every second day and she loves it,” he said.
The Healesville Cup is Race 8 on Sunday and is scheduled to run at 1.04pm.