Greyhound trainers, along with racing fans and punters, have warmed to the popular Gr8 Eight series.
The concept was developed 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.
Four of the 12 x Special Events have already been conducted and attracted Group 1-like fields. And the fifth, over 595m at Sandown on Thursday night (Race 5, 7.25pm), is no exception.
Expert form analyst The Watchdog rates the race a match in four between True Detective ($3.50F), Last Hurrah ($4.20), Perfect Marshall ($4.60) and Rajasthan ($4.80).
And it’s no surprise True Detective (Box 8) is the top elect – he’s one of the most versatile performers in the sport.
Trained by Jeff Britton, True Detective boasts an enviable CV – over middle distance and staying trips.
True Detective won last year’s G1 Hume Cup (600m) at The Meadows before venturing predominantly into staying ranks where he finished runner-up in the G1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers (725m) at The Meadows and G1 Sandown Cup (715m). He’s also won four races in five starts at Sandown over 595m.
Meanwhile, G1 Australian Cup finalist (525m) Last Hurrah has been racing in rare form – particularly since largely focusing on middle distance events.
Trained by Brett Nye, Last Hurrah (Box 4) has notched three wins, three seconds and one third from his past seven starts.
G1 Rookie Rebel winner Perfect Marshall (Box 1) has drawn perfectly. In fact, he won the Rookie Rebel from the ‘red’ trap.
Trained by Janet Cottrell, Perfect Marshall has a 33.93sec PB over 595m at Sandown, which is only bettered in this field by True Detective (33.77sec) and Rajasthan (33.83sec).
And ‘journeyman’, Rajasthan is in the similar versatility mould of True Detective.
Trained by Rob Camilleri, Rajasthan (Box 7) won last year’s G1 Sandown Cup (715m). The five-time G1 finalist was also runner-up to Perfect Marshall in the G1 Rookie Rebel (600m) at The Meadows.
Thursday night’s Gr8 Eight also comprises Steinbrenner (Box 2), Rockstar Beav (Box 3) and Weblec Haze (Box 6). (Steinbrenner and Weblec Haze are kennelmates of True Detective.)
Weblec Haze, who is quoted at $8.00, won a Gr8 Eight (600m) at The Meadows last Saturday night. He defeated Last Hurrah by 2.1L in 34.31sec. (Perfect Marshall and Steinbrenner finished fourth and seventh respectively.)
Steinbrenner ($12.00) was a finalist in the G1 Sale Cup (650m) and G1 Rookie Rebel (600m).
Three-time G1 finalist Rockstar Beav ($10.00), trained by Andrea Dailly, contested last week’s G1 Sandown Cup (715m).
Pawnote: Mister Harlewood (Sandown, May 7 – 715m), Rockstar Beav (Sandown, May 14 – 595m), Simon Told Helen (Sandown, May 28 – 515m) and Weblec Haze (The Meadows, May 30 – 600m) are the first four winners of the 12 x $15,000 Gr8 Eight Special Events spread across Victoria’s two metropolitan tracks and run over a variety of distances.
Further races on the Gr8 Eight calendar are:
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)
WATCH: True Detective (1) claims a heat of the 2020 G1 Sandown Cup (715m) in May.