The picturesque Yarra Valley will be buzzing with the sound of pounding paws this Sunday, with the running of the 31st Healesville Greyhound Cup over 350m.
This race is the flagship event for the Healesville Greyhound Association, which boasts Victorian greyhound racing’s only TAB straight track.
Race 1 at Healesville is scheduled for 11.09am on Sunday, with the Cup to run at 12.59pm.
One of Victorian greyhound racing’s premier provincial races, the Group 3 Healesville Cup boasts prize money of $67,000 in the final, including $47,000 to the winner. As such, the event has again attracted a group of dogs, and trainers, that have shown their abilities not only on the straight track, but also the more familiar loop circuits.
Coming out of box one is the greyhound that’s setting the bar – Mount Wallace trainer Correy Grenfell presents superstar Tiggerlong Tonk, who is contesting his eighth group race final and looking to add a second country cup to his repertoire after snaring the Horsham Cup earlier this year. With winnings of more than $277,000 he’s the most successful of the final eight runners and is undefeated in five starts from the inside alley. He also posted the fastest time of the eight heat winners last Sunday (18.93sec).
Many eyes will be on the relative newcomer Paua Of Oscar, who has fewer starts (14) than any other dog in the field but has made them count handsomely, including a win over superstar Hard Style Rico in his heat and equalling the 400m track record at Warragul in only his fourth start.
Rowsley trainer Anthony Azzopardi, who last weekend celebrated when his Melbourne Cup winner Whiskey Riot was named Victorian Greyhound of the Year, is looking to repeat his 2019 Healesville Cup win with Myrniong And All. Azzopardi has two finalists this year – Aston Pilsner and Short Pork. The kennelmates will start from neighbouring boxes, five and six.
The legacy of the legendary Barcia Bale is also on show here, as he is sire to three of the eight finalists: group race debutante Broken Drum, Aston Pilsner, and the ‘surprise packet’ in box eight, Tin Shed Fred. Trained by David Kerr in Warragul South, Tin Shed Fred upstaged sprint queen Black Opium (first reserve) and was the second-fastest qualifier, just 0.02 sec behind Tiggerlong Tonk.
Where to watch the 2020 Healesville Cup
Greyhound racing continues to operate throughout Victoria without crowds and with strict social-distancing protocols in place, however fans and punters can now watch every Victorian greyhound race – including this bumper Healesville race meeting – LIVE and FREE at watchdog.grv.org.au or by downloading The Watchdog app. For comprehensive social media coverage of the event follow ‘Watchdog Racing’ on Twitter (twitter.com/WatchDogRacing) or Facebook (facebook.com/WatchDogRacing).
2020 Healesville Cup heat winners
Eight heats of the Healesville Cup were conducted on Sunday, 30 August with the winners making up the final.
Heat times (fastest to slowest): Tiggerlong Tonk (18.93sec, Best), Tin Shed Fred (18.95), Short Pork (18.97), Zambora Lou (18.97sec), Paua Of Oscar (19.00), Aston Pilsner (19.06), Out Of Sprite (19.17) and Broken Drum (19.19).
WATCH: Tiggerlong Tonk was the fastest Healesville Cup heat winner last Sunday.
2020 Healesville Cup Field
350m – Sunday, 12.59pm
1 Tiggerlong Tonk (Correy Grenfell, Mount Wallace VIC)
2 Broken Drum (Lisa Cockerell, Buckley VIC)
3 Out Of Sprite (Ashlee Terry, Nilma North VIC)
4 Zambora Lou (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
5 Aston Pilsner (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley VIC)
6 Short Pork (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley VIC)
7 Paua Of Oscar (Steven White, Buln Buln East VIC)
8 Tin Shed Fred (David Kerr, Warragul South VIC)
9 Black Opium (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
10 Max Dynamo (Kelly Bravo, Lovely Banks VIC)
Supporting features on the Healesville Cup card:
Castle of Mey Healesville Cup Consolation (350m). First prize $5,000.