Victoria’s only straight greyhound racing track is set to host its country cup this week at the picturesque Healesville Greyhound Racing Association.
The $35,500 Healesville Cup is set to host some of the biggest names in Australian greyhound racing this Sunday, headlined by the highly-acclaimed Raw Ability.
With two group one wins and more than $260,000 in prize money to his name, Raw Ability’s connections will be looking to claim that elusive first country cup.
But while Raw Ability has early favoritism, he will face stiff competition from other highly- credentialled dogs such as Dyna Hunter, Startron and Hot Jean who ran the fastest time in last week’s heats (19.02sec).
Since the first Healesville Cup was run in 1990, the race has grown in prestige with some of Australia’s finest greyhounds such as Heading West, Zinzan Brooke and El Brooklyn among the names to win the Cup.
In that time, two greyhounds have won the cup in back to back years – Koutafidamedes (1997-98) and Schwartzanager (2006-07).
While last year’s Healesville Cup proved to be Zinzan Brooke’s swansong, trainer Brooke Ennis will be looking to win a second consecutive Cup with Barooga Brett. Ennis has also previously won Healesville’s biggest race with Size Does Matter in 2014.
Raw Ability’s trainer Anthony Azzopardi said that while he won his heat from an ideal position in box eight, he would be more than comfortable running in the final from box three.
“If he doesn’t get touched early, it could really suit him to the ground. He’s been beginning really well and if he can repeat that beginning he’ll be hard to beat,” Azzopardi said.
“He’s just such a tough dog, he’s one in a million this dog. He’s a pleasure to have that’s for sure.”