Superstar Striker Light made amends for a narrow defeat in the 2017 Warrnambool Cup Final on Wednesday night when running down Zoom Out to claim a thrilling victory in the Group 2 showpiece.
Twelve months earlier, the Brett Bravo-trained Striker Light started favourite in the Warrnambool Cup when beaten three-quarters of a length by outsider Leo’s Gift.
Striving to go one better, Striker Light came to Warrnambool for her second tilt at the $47,000 to-the-winner Cup only four nights after running fourth in the Group 1 Perth Cup.
In a wonderful performance from Striker Light and Brett and Kelly Bravo, Striker Light backed up from the gruelling cross-continent expedition to win her Warrnambool Cup heat in 24.92sec, the second fastest qualifying performance behind Jimmy Newob’s 24.87sec.
Drawn in box five, Striker Light started favourite in the Cup Final for the second year running at $3.60, ahead of Jimmy Newob ($4) and the speedy Zoom Out ($5.50), which was undefeated in three appearances at Warrnambool.
Striker Light came out running from her middle draw but was crossed by Zoom Out, which led into the home straight; however Striker Light’s class and will-to-win prevailed as she finished strongly to defeat Zoom Out by .37 of a length in 24.90sec, with Jimmy Newob finishing third.
It was Striker Light’s sixth win from seven starts at Warrnambool, her only defeat coming in last year’s Cup Final, and 27th from 56 overall.
“To come back from the Perth Cup, back up and perform in her Warrnambool Cup heat a couple of days after landing and then go on to be the Warrnambool Cup champion after finishing second last year is a credit to Kelly and Brett; they are unbelievable trainers and do an amazing job with her,” part-owner George Farrugia said.
“It was a huge effort to run down Burn Like Fire in her heat, and to do the same with Zoom Out is a credit to Kelly and Brett and just proves how much of a superstar she is.”
It was Striker Light’s first country cup victory and fourth Group success of her wonderful career, having won three Group 1 trophies; the Golden Easter Egg, Temlee and National Futurity.
“I have the easy job as the owner, watching this girl compete in all of these big races is surreal,” Farrugia explained.
“You can only dream to own, or even be a part of a dog like this; this is her fourth Group race now and we are just so proud of her.”
Striker Light’s memorable triumph completed a treble for the Bravo kennel, with Cadalora taking out the $5000 to-the-winner Hire Australia 650m special event and Zipping Jess prevailing in a maiden.
Anthony Azzopardi’s odds-on favourite Raw Ability, third in the 2017 Warrnambool Cup, took out the Stan Lake Memorial (450m) and accompanying $5900 winner’s cheque.
This article was compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Molly Haines. Photos by Clint Anderson.
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