The ‘world’s greatest greyhound race’ looms as a sensational ‘Sandown Showdown’. This will be a race for the ages!
Yes, the stage is set for a classic $630,000 Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup final (515m) next Friday night.
But who wins the sport’s ‘Holy Grail’ is the $435,000 question: will it be Simon Told Helen, Shima Shine, Tiggerlong Tonk, Hard Style Rico or Tommy Shelby?
Amazingly, less than two lengths separated the ‘fab five’ on heat winning times.
Ultimate professional Tiggerlong Tonk is at the top of his game.
Prepared by Correy Grenfell, Tiggerlong Tonk posted the fastest heat win – a sizzling 29.16sec in Heat 4. He’s now won 10 races from 22 starts over Sandown’s 515m sprint trip.
Tiggerlong Tonk, winner of last week’s G3 Shootout (515m) at Sandown in a race record (29.03sec), rocketed out of the boxes to secure his 32nd win from 60 starts – including 11 of his past 17.
“At the start of the year we thought the timing of this race was when Tiggerlong Tonk was going to be in his prime. So to have him fit and healthy and running the times he is now is huge,” Grenfell said after the win.
Winner of the G2 Horsham Cup (485m), Tiggerlong Tonk ($1.90F) defeated the fast finishing Arizona Eyes ($8.70) by 1.7L, with Immunity ($5.80) a further 0.35L away third.
Star speedster Hard Style Rico, now a five-time G1 finalist, did it in style in Heat 7.
Prepared by Luckie Karabitsakos, Hard Style Rico – who recently defeated Simon Told Helen in the G3 Silver Bullet (525m) at The Meadows – clocked a slashing 29.17sec.
Hard Style Rico ($1.90F) defeated Gladioli Bale ($24.20) by 2.4L, with Mepunga Maggie ($8.90) a further 2L away third.
The G2 Shepparton Cup (450m) winner notched his 20th win from 39 starts – including five of his past nine. He remains undefeated in four starts from Box 8.
Superstar Shima Shine – who was $5.50 pre-post favourite for the Melbourne Cup prior to the heats – was scintillating in Heat 1.
The G1 Topgun (525m) winner at The Meadows and dual track record holder produced a 29.19sec display of unadulterated speed.
Pawnote: The box draw for the $630,000 G1 TAB Melbourne Cup final will be conducted on 7TWO’S Thrill of the Chase on Sunday morning from 10am or watch it live via The Watchdog app.
Trained by Andrea Dailly, Shima Shine ($1.30F) led from go to whoa defeating Knicks Bale ($15.10) by 6.3L, with Super Zoom Jake ($21.00) a further 1.5L away third.
Shima Shine was a reserve for last year’s Melbourne Cup and now gets a crack at the sport’s ‘Holy Grail’.
Runner-up to Tiggerlong Tonk in last week’s G3 Shootout, Shima Shine registered his 26th win from 42 starts – including eight of his past 11.
WA wonder Tommy Shelby, under the caretaker trainership of Kel Greenough, was absolutely brilliant in Heat 6.
The real Tommy Shelby ($3.70) turned up accounting for Short Pork ($11.80) by 1.7L, with Weblec Jet ($15.50) a further 3.6L away third in a flying 29.21sec.
Runner-up in the G1 Vic Peters Classic (520m) at Wentworth Park and a G1 Topgun finalist, Tommy Shelby has now won 21 races from 31 starts and is undefeated in five starts from Box 3.
He’s named after a lead character in the popular Netflix series, Peaky Blinders.
And his owners are donating five per cent of any prizemoney he earns during the month of November (i.e. 10 per cent of the owner’s share) to Movember, which creates awareness about men’s health issues.
Australia’s No. 1 sprinter and reigning Australian Greyhound of the Year Simon Told Helen was simply sensational in Heat 5.
Trained by David Burnett, Simon Told Helen was only moderately away but didn’t take long to adopt his customary catch-me-if-you-can tactics. The four-time G1 winner’s mid-race acceleration was spellbinding!
WATCH: TIGGERLONG TONK (4) delivered another flawless performance, leading all the way in 29.16sec, the fastest of the eight TAB Melbourne Cup heat winners.
Simon Told Helen ( $1.80F) blitzed Faithy Bale ($16.60) by 5.6L, with Sweet Demi ($19.60) a further 0.65L away third in a slick 29.26sec.
He notched his 24th win from 41 starts – including five of his past eight – and his seventh win from 12 starts over 515m at Sandown.
And victory in next week’s Melbourne Cup final would see Simon Told Helen crack the magical million-dollar stakes barrier!
Other heat winners were: Lucy’s Milo ($19.40) – 29.58sec, a son of 2015 Melbourne Cup winner Dyna Double One; Zipping Sullivan ($18.10) – 29.63sec; and Tough Tears ($44.00) – 29.70sec, a younger full-brother of Tornado Tears and litter brother of Here’s Tears.
Andrea Dailly, who won the Melbourne Cup with Dyna Tron (2011) and Dyna Double One (2015), has two finalists this year – Shima Shine and Lucy’s Milo.
TAB Melbourne Cup Heat winners (Fastest to slowest)
*Box draw to take place on Thrill of the Chase, Sunday 10am on 7TWO.
- TIGGERLONG TONK (Correy Grenfell, Mount Wallace VIC) 29.16sec
- HARD STYLE RICO (Luckie Karabitsakos, Pearcedale VIC) 29.17sec
- SHIMA SHINE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC) 29.19sec
- TOMMY SHELBY (Kelvyn Greenough, Pearcedale) 29.21sec
- SIMON TOLD HELEN (David Burnett, Little River VIC) 29.26sec
- LUCY’S MILO (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC) 29.57sec
- ZIPPING SULLIVAN (Deborah Coleman, Lara VIC) 29.63sec
- TOUGH TEARS (Robert Britton, Lara VIC) 29.70sec
9 ARIZONA EYES (Robert Britton, Lara VIC) 29.28sec
10 SHORT PORK (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley VIC) 29.33sec
Stayers on show in G1 Bold Trease
Meanwhile, three heats of the G1 Bold Trease (715m) – named in honour of the “Warrnambool Warrior”, who won four consecutive Sandown Cups (1986-89) – were also staged.
Heat 1 provided a shock result with six-time G1 winner and the sport’s latest millionaire Tornado Tears ($1.80F), who won last year’s Bold Trease, failing to qualify for the final by finishing fourth.
In a boilover, Sweet As Emm ($9.90) defeated star SA stayer Sir Truculent ($4.90) by 0.4L, with Ellias Bale ($38.30) a further 0.9L away third in 41.54sec.
Trained by Brendan Pursell, the versatile Sweet As Emm – who was a finalist in last month’s G2 Geelong Gold Cup (520m) – notched her 18th win from 52 starts. She also finished third in last year’s G2 McKenna Memorial (595m) at Sandown.
RELATED: BOLD TREASE TAB MARKET
Arguably the most ‘exciting’ greyhound in Australia, Houdini Boy – known as a last-to-first ‘escape artist’ – didn’t need to ‘unlock the shackles’ in Heat 2.
Contesting only his second staying start, Houdini Boy exited smartly from the traps and was in a prominent position from the get-go.
Prepared by Kel Greenough, Houdini Boy ($1.70F) strolled to a comfortable 4.5L win over G1 Sandown Cup third placegetter He Shall Power ($16.30), with I’m Easy Boys ($23.40) a further 0.25L away third in 41.56sec.
Winner of the G3 Speed Star (600m) and runner-up to Tornado Tears in the G3 Top Cat Video Cup (725m) – both at The Meadows – Houdini Boy recorded his 11th win from 21 starts and his fifth win from his past six starts.
Bold Trease Heat winners (Fastest to slowest)
- SWEET AS EMM – 41.54sec
- HOUDINI BOY – 41.56sec
- BLAZING CARTIER – 41.64sec
Trainer Rob Britton didn’t enjoy any luck with Tornado Tears and Here’s Tears but still has the chance of securing his fourth Bold Trease in a row after Blazing Cartier showcased her well-known stamina in Heat 3.
Now a seven-time G1 finalist, Blazing Cartier ($5.00) hauled in Manila Knight ($2.50EF) to score by 1.6L, with Sunset Bourbski ($2.50EF) a further 0.5L away third in 41.64sec.
It was her 16th win from 62 starts and her seventh win from 16 starts over 715m at Sandown.
G1 Bold Trease box draw (715m)
Friday, 27 November – First prize: $105,000
1 SUNSET BOURBSKI (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
2 SWEET AS EMM (Brendan Pursell, Lara VIC)
3 ELLIAS BALE (Mark Delbridge, Balliang VIC)
4 BLAZING CARTIER (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
5 HE SHALL POWER (Shona Crawford, Pearcedale VIC)
6 HOUDINI BOY (Kelvyn Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
7 SIR TRUCULENT (Walter Harkins, Reynella SA)
8 MANILA KNIGHT (Mario Briganti, Tuerong VIC)
9 I’M EASY BOYS (Raymond Henness, Heathcote VIC)
10 TORNADO TEARS (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
Photos by Clint Anderson.
The inaugural Metro Festival of Racing incorporates 10 group races run across five nights of racing at The Meadows and Sandown Park during November, with almost $2 million in prize money being distributed
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