Racegoers could witness history in the making in Friday night’s $67,000 Group 2 Geelong Gold Cup, as Australia’s fastest greyhound, Hooked On Scotch (pictured) chases his first country cup win.
With five straight victories featuring a combination of breathtaking times and eye-catching come-from-behind performances, Geelong Greyhound Racing Club Chairman Mark Pearson says Geelong’s 460-metre track record is under threat.
“My word he (Hooked On Scotch) can break the track record,” Pearson said of the $2.40 Geelong Gold Cup favourite.
“If he begins as well as he can it will be game over and the track record will be in danger.”
Black Magic Opal, who like Hooked On Scotch was trained by Jason Thompson, set the track record in the 2013 Geelong Gold Cup Final – clocking 25.11 seconds – before going on to win the Melbourne Cup a few weeks later. The record still stands today.
However, Black Magic Opal was a different type of race dog to Hooked On Scotch, as he created his own luck by consistently displaying dynamic early speed out of the boxes.
“As good as Hooked On Scotch is, he has been very lucky to win his past two starts (Adelaide Cup & Geelong Gold Cup heat) because he has missed the start on both occasions, and his brilliance has got him through.”
“He can’t afford to make a mistake on Friday night, because if he does, Runnin’ Royalty or Vivatar will be ready to pounce. I think numbers 1,3 & 8 will make a good Box Trifecta,” Pearson said.
Runnin’ Royalty was the fastest of the five heat winners last week in 25.48sec – almost eight lengths faster than Hooked On Scotch – while Vivatar, trained at Anakie by Angela Langton, is one of five local greyhounds to make the Geelong Gold Cup Final.
If successful, Vivatar will earn a $10,000 bonus on top of the $47,000 first prize as reward for winning the prestigious Geelong Derby on October 10.
“We offered up a $10,000 bonus to any greyhound that could win this year’s Geelong Oaks or Derby and then go on to win the Geelong Gold Cup.
“Part of our club’s thinking there was that there are so many feature races around Australia, such as last week’s Million Dollar Chase in Sydney, so we thought the bonus could help attract some quality youngsters into the Geelong Gold Cup series,” Pearson said.
Other Geelong locals to make the final are Snags McKenzie (David Burnett), Slingshot Hammer (Robert Camilleri), Last Hurrah (Matthew Nash) and Riley’s Page (Clint Capuano), while seasoned group performers Slingshot Hammer and Peter Galo round out the final eight.
Dining packages are available at the Beckley Centre on Friday night at $45pp or $80pp including drinks. Bookings can be made by calling the club on (03) 5275 2298.
Scotch slowest but sensational nonetheless
2019 GEELONG GOLD CUP FINAL
Friday night 25 October – 460m
$47,000 (1st); $13,350 (2nd); $6,650 (3rd)
1. VIVATAR (Angela Langton, Anakie VIC)
2. SNAGS McKENZIE (David Burnett, Little River VIC)
3. HOOKED ON SCOTCH (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
4. SLINGSHOT HAMMER (Robert Camilleri, Lara VIC)
5. PETER GALO (Garry Selkrig, Devon Meadows VIC)
6. LAST HURRAH (Matthew Nash, Little River VIC)
7. RILEY’S PAIGE (Clint Capuano, Lara VIC)
8. RUNNIN’ ROYALTY (John Barbara, Exford VIC)
9. BLUE STRIKER (Peter Akathiotis, Reservoir VIC)
10. WILBUR DEEDS (Gary Anders, Koroit VIC)
Hooked On Scotch (2) comes from last to win his Geelong Gold Cup heat.