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Thompson’s ‘gang of five’

Rising star Zambora Smokey provided highly decorated Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson with his fifth Group 2 TAB Warrnambool Cup (450m) tonight.

A noted brilliant beginner, Zambora Smokey ($2.00F) came out smokin’ from box two and led from go-to-whoa in defeating dual Group 1 winner Simon Told Helen ($2.50) by one length with rank outsider Leon Bale ($45.00) a further two and a half lengths away third in a sizzling 24.80sec. (Leon Bale’s trainer, Andrea Dailly, rugged four finalists and was chasing her fourth Warrnambool Cup victory.)

Then followed: Faithy Bale ($23.90), Spearhead ($32.90), Razor Sharp ($28.50), Jax Bale ($9.80) and Aston Cade ($15.70).

Zambora Smokey, who only turned two on April 30, notched his eighth straight win and his winning time was just over one length outside the 450-metre track record of 24.72sec set by Unlawful Entry in April 2016. He is also undefeated in four starts over 450 metres at Warrnambool.
Bred and owned by Charlie Azzopardi in Leppington, NSW, Zambora Smokey recorded his 12th win from 16 starts. The $31,500 first prize catapulted his earnings to $52,415.

Zambora Smokey and Holly Thompson

He also emulated his sire, Zambora Brockie, who won the 2016 Warrnambool Cup.

“It was pretty a spectacular run. We’re very happy. It’s dad’s birthday so this is a pretty good birthday present,” Thompson’s daughter, Holly, said. (Thompson turned 51 today.)

RSN racecaller James Van de Maat tipped Zambora Smokey to win and was gobsmacked by his performance.
“What a blistering run,” James said in his call. “Zambora Smokey has landed the Warrnambool Cup in mighty fine style. It was a complete reversal to what happened in his heat when he came from behind to run down Simon Told Helen.”

Thompson’s previous Warrnambool Cup winners are El Galo (2008), Hanify’s Impact (2009), Ronan Izmir (2013) and Black magic Opal (2014).

He also trifectaed the 2014 Warrnambool Cup – 1st Black Magic Opal, 2nd Innocent Til, 3rd Ronan Izmir.

WATCH: Zambora Smokey (2) gets off to a great start before being challenged by Simon Told Helen (1) and kicking away.

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Photos by Clint Anderson

Peter Quilty
About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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