Friday night’s $630,000 Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup (515m) looms as a race for the ages given that five of the eight heat winners are genuine superstars at the peak of their powers.
With a first prize of $435,000, so much hinges on the all-important box draw, which will be conducted live on greyhound racing’s television show Thrill of the Chase on Sunday morning from 10am.
Electrifying greyhound Tiggerlong Tonk showed that his breath taking Shootout win last week was no fluke when he was the fastest heat winner in 29.16sec, but his time was only marginally faster than Hard Style Rico (29.17sec), Shima Shine (29.19sec), Tommy Shelby (29.21sec) and Simon Told Helen (29.26sec).
While 62 per cent of races run over Sandown’s 515m trip in the past 12 months have been won by greyhounds drawn in boxes 1-4, no dog would want to be drawn directly inside of reigning Australian Greyhound of the Year Simon Told Helen, who is renowned for making a beeline to the rail in the early stages of his races.
And there’s little doubt that trainer Luckie Karabitsakos would prefer an outside draw with Hard Style Rico (pictured), who made it four from four out of box 8 during his career with his stunning heat win.
Watch the TAB Melbourne Cup box draw live on ‘Thrill of the Chase’ from 10am Sunday on 7TWO, via The Watchdog app or at watchdog.grv.org.au
There’ll be plenty of support for WA sensation Tommy Shelby, who scored his first win on Victorian soil with a gutsy heat performance. Named after a lead character in the popular Netflix series, Peaky Blinders, Tommy Shelby is currently racing for Movember, which creates awareness about men’s health issues. His owners are donating five per cent of any prize money he earns during the month of November (i.e. 10 per cent of the owner’s share) to the cause, which would equate to $21,750 if he wins the Final.
Friday night’s TAB Melbourne Cup race meeting will be the culmination of the inaugural Metro Festival of Racing, which is seeing almost $2 million in prize money being distributed across five race meetings at The Meadows and Sandown Park during November.
2020 TAB Melbourne Cup Heat winners (Fastest to slowest)
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