With the seasonal scratching of Juniper Pearl in the Group 1 Rookie Rebel (600m) on Saturday night, there has been plenty of interest for first reserve Blue Striker who finds himself jumping from box five in one of three Group 1 features at The Meadows.
Trainer, owner and breeder Peter Akathiostis admits that he was initially shocked Blue Striker wasn’t drawn in the starting eight but is now more than happy being a late call up.
“I am quietly confident heading into the Rookie Rebel,” Akathiostis said.
“For Blue Striker, drawing box five is just as good as drawing the inside because he will just go straight out of the boxes.”
“Even if a greyhound has equal ability to the first mark, it is a very hard task to try and win races from boxes seven and eight.”
Naturally, Akathiostis labelled in form and $2.60 TAB favourite, Deliver as the greyhound to beat in the 600 metre Group 1 invitational thanks to his impressive first split last week at The Meadows, running a head off the first split record.
Deliver has won 12 races from 23 career starts, which includes his Group 1 Vic Peters Classic win at Wentworth Park. He has found his niche over the middle distance having yet to be defeated in three starts.
“Races are generally won at the start of the race, and Blue Striker comes out good over the 500m against good sprinters which really puts him in this race.”
Blue Striker is the winner of nine races from 29 starts, which includes 13 minor placings.
He has had just the two starts over the 600 metres at The Meadows, his first start being a best of the night 34.110sec, 3.3 lengths outside Dyna Double One’s track record.
The Group 1 Rookie Rebel is one of three Group 1 Invitationals at The Meadows on Saturday night, kicking off the Australian Cup Carnival.
WATCH: James Van de Maat and George Farrugia take a deep dive into the Group 1 Rookie Rebel which will be run and won over the 600 metre distance on Saturday night at The Meadows.