New Zealand Cup winner Bago Bye Bye added an intriguing extra dimension to an already compelling Group 1 TAB Australian Cup picture with a breathtaking heat performance at his Meadows debut.
Bago Bye Bye, now back with Queensland trainer Darren Russell after an extraordinary stint in the Shaky Isles, where he won 10 of his 13 starts, highlighted by the NZ Cup in November, created plenty of interest in the last of Saturday night’s eight cut-throat heats.
Drawn in box eight in one of the more open run-offs, the son of Barcia Bale started at $7 and came out running to lead clearly at the winning post the first time.
It was one-way traffic from that point as Bago Bye Bye put his rivals to the sword, celebrating his return to Australia with an emphatic ten-length victory over Blackjack Neo in a scintillating best of night 29.54sec, his 15th win from 23 career starts.
Prior to Bago Bye Bye setting tongues wagging in the final qualifier, three high profile trainers had dominated proceedings, claiming heat doubles – Seona Thompson, Dave Geall and Andrea Dailly.
Thompson started the night in perfect fashion when Melbourne Cup runner-up Black Opium ($1.90) returned to winning form, taking full advantage of box one to lead throughout in 29.91sec, her 11th win from 15 starts.
Thompson then completed her double in the penultimate heat when Deliver ($2.80), winner of the Group 1 Rookie Rebel over 600m on the opening night of the Cup Carnival, had absolutely no problems dropping back in distance, posting 29.70s to record his fourth straight win.
The first of Dave Geall’s winners came in heat three, courtesy of flying ex-NSW front-runner Miss Splendamiro ($4.40), which held on to defeat fast-finishing favourite Poke The Bear ($1.70) by one length in 29.73sec.
Geall’s Melbourne Cup hero My Redeemer ($1.70) then booked a berth in another of the great races on the Australian calendar when running 29.71sec off the rails in the fifth run-off.
Andrea Dailly, who last year celebrated her fourth Australian Cup success courtesy of Hecton Bale, will have two finalists as she strives to go back-to-back, with litter mates Dyna Patty ($12.30), winner of the Group 1 Maturity at The Meadows last year, and Dyna Oscar ($7.40), running 29.67sec and 29.94sec respectively.
The remaining run-off saw another Melbourne Cup placegetter in She’s Gifted ($4.90); trained by Deborah Coleman, finish best to take out heat three in 30.36sec, the only winner not to break 30 seconds.
The all-important Australian Cup box draw will be conducted on Monday at Zinc which will be live streamed on The Meadows and GRV’s facebook pages.