A brand-new initiative, the Gr8 Eight series is only in its infancy but already the concept is generating Group 1-like fields.
Mister Harlewood (Sandown, May 7 – 715m) and Rockstar Beav (Sandown, May 14 – 595m) were the first two winners of the 12 x $15,000 Special Events spread across Victoria’s two metropolitan tracks and run over a variety of distances.
The Gr8 Eight series is also meeting a dual objective, to allow Victoria’s elite greyhounds to earn greater prizemoney and stimulate interest from racing fans and punters.
And Thursday night’s third staging – comprising a star-studded cast racing over 515m at Sandown (Race 4, 6.57pm) – is no exception.
It’s a mouth-watering clash which features sprint sensations Simon Told Helen (Box 1), Jax Bale (Box 7) and Tiggerlong Tonk (Box 5) who filled the trifecta in last week’s G1 Harrison-Dawson (515m) at Sandown.
WATCH: Simon Told Helen (3) defeat Jax Bale (7) and Tiggerlong Tonk (6) in last week’s G1 Harrison-Dawson at Sandown.
And for good measure, you can also throw in gifted chasers Mepunga Pegasus (Box 2), Halberd Bale (Box 4) and You Tell Me (Box 8).
Expert form analyst The Watchdog has selected Simon Told Helen to claim the $10,500 first prize from Tiggerlong Tonk and Jax Bale.
And a similar scenario exists on the tab.com.au fixed odds market: Simon Told Helen ($1.40F), Tiggerlong Tonk ($5.00) and Jax Bale ($5.50).
Trained by David Burnett, Simon Told Helen is a three-time G1 winner who has won 14 races from 23 starts. He’s also won four times in seven starts over Sandown’s 515m sprint trip, with a 29.21sec PB.
Meanwhile, three-time G1 finalist Tiggerlong Tonk – trained by Correy Grenfell – has won 20 races from 38 starts. He won the G2 Horsham Cup and G3 Easter Gift. And he’s also won five times in 14 starts at Sandown, with a 29.12sec PB.
Rising star Jax Bale, trained by Andrea Dailly, made his G1 debut in the Harrison-Dawson, where only 3L separated first to third. He’s won five races from 15 starts and boasts a 29.14sec PB at Sandown.
So, as you can see, there are ‘Gr8 expectations’ at Sandown on Thursday night.
Pawnote: Importantly, these Gr8 Eight special events are aimed at providing opportunities for Victoria’s top-class greyhounds to race for above-average prizemoney in a climate where there are travelling restrictions and changes to Australia’s group racing calendar due to COVID-19.
Further races on the Gr8 Eight calendar are:
Saturday, May 30 – The Meadows (600m)
Thursday, June 4 – Sandown Park (595m)
Saturday, June 6 – The Meadows (525m)
Thursday, June 11 – Sandown Park (715m)
Saturday, June 13 – The Meadows (600m)
Thursday, June 18 – Sandown Park (515m)
Saturday, June 20 – The Meadows (725m)
Thursday, June 25 – Sandown Park (595m)
Saturday, June 27 – The Meadows (525m)