Harry Manolitsis was no stranger to Group 1 glory heading into Thursday night’s Sapphire Crown (515m) at Sandown Park, having bred and raced 2016 Golden Easter Egg hero Moreira.
But the Pearcedale owner/trainer received one of his greatest thrills in greyhound racing when lightly-raced speedster Elevated was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the prestigious female Classic.
Elevated was one of the most inexperienced finalists in the $100,000 to-the-winner Sapphire Crown, stepping up to Group 1 company for the first time at just her 14th start.
After a slick 29.42sec heat victory, Elevated was a $5.60 chance from box five in Thursday, with Andrea Dailly’s recent Group 3 Bill Collins Speed Star victor and fastest qualifier Dyna Patty the $2.60 favourite from box four.
Elevated was best to begin, taking her potentially awkward alley out of the equation, and after breaking clear of roughie Envy Heist ($25.60) approaching the home turn she increased her advantage in the home straight, defeating Angela Langton’s outsider Go Seek Heidi ($26.30) by 3.74 lengths in 29.29sec.
Envy Heist held on for third ahead of favourite Dyna Patty.
“She’s got a lot of ability and to beat the likes of Miss Splendamiro and Dyna Patty was a great effort,” said a delighted Harry Manolitsis.
Elevated has now seven of her 14 starts, having burst into the spotlight in April when she clocked a scintillating 29.12sec at Sandown Park at just her tenth start.
“It’s a lot easier to win races when you’ve got the cattle,” said Manolitsis after celebrating Group 1 glory as a trainer, having bred and raced former star and now stud dog Moreira.
“I’m sure a lot of the bigger trainers would understand where I’m coming from when I say that.
“She was one of the most experienced greyhounds in the race and I was just hoping she would begin well and settle in the first two or three.
“I’ll just let the dust settle now before deciding where to race her next. I’ll most likely target more of the female-only races.”
2018 SAPPHIRE CROWN
This article was compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Andrew Copley. Photos by Clint Anderson.