Strength in numbers paid off for Jason Thompson when Trip To Eden (pictured) upstaged superstar kennelmate Burn One Down in the Australian Super Stayers Final, the first leg of a Group 1 double header at The Meadows on Saturday night.
After brilliant victories in the Group 1 Zoom Top and Super Stayers heat in the first two weeks of the Australian Cup Carnival Burn One Down was all-the rage in the $100,000 to-the-winner Super Stayers, starting at $1.70 from box six.
Thompson’s ‘second stringer’ Trip To Eden ($4.80) was chasing a change of fortune in his third consecutive Group 1 assignment after finishing runner-up in both the Galaxy and Zoom Top, where he was beaten nine lengths by Burn One Down.
The winner of nine of his ten starts over 725m at The Meadows, Burn One Down began well but was shuffled back to second last with one lap to go as Western Australian Teddy Monelli led the way.
With Burn One Down at the tail of the field, Jason Thompson’s focus shifted to Trip To Eden when he moved threateningly into third in the back straight.
Trip To Eden burst between Teddy Monelli and Alera Bale in the home straight, defeating Teddy Monelli by 1 ½ lengths in 42.31sec, while Burn One Down failed to beat a runner home.
“Trip To Eden had been knocking on the door of a big race win, and I had a real feeling he was going to win tonight,” Jason Thompson’s wife Seona said.
“We won’t know until Burn One Down cools down whether he is injured or not.
“We don’t normally train stayers, so when Burn One Down and Trip To Eden ran the Quinella in the Zoom Top it was a huge thrill as it meant we had the best two stayers in Australia.
“They are total opposites in some ways. Burn One Down is a really big dog, whereas Trip To Eden is quite small.
“All going well we will most likely enter the two of them in the Traralgon Distance Cup later this month and then the Association Cup at Wentworth Park.”
A son of former Group-winning stayer Key To Eden, Trip To Eden has inherited his mother’s distance capabilities, boasting three wins and three seconds in elite company since stepping up to ‘700’ in late 2016.
“The owner Steve Connor has had some handy greyhounds over the years with us including Suave Fella, who was his first Group 1 winner, and Hanify’s Impact, who ran second in the Melbourne Cup,” Seona said.
It was the second time leading WA trainer Dave Hobby has had to settle for second prize in a Meadows’ 725m major, with Magpie Bob edged out by NSW’s Smart Valentino in the 2013 National Distance Grand Final.
Earlier in Saturday night’s bumper meeting the Sharp family from Lara celebrated their greatest success to date when Oronsay held on for a thrilling all-the-way victory in the Group 3 GRV Vic Bred Maiden Final.
Oronsay ($7.90), a daughter of former classy sprinter Walk Hard, trained by Jessica Sharp, staved off a late challenge from the well-supported Brueghelino ($2.70) to claim the $25,000 to-the-winner feature in 30.13sec, with litter sister Angel Dash, trained by Jessica’s husband Jason, running third.
*This article was compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Andrew Copley.