All is in readiness for Friday night’s $630,000 Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup Final (515m) at Sandown Park, bringing an enthralling conclusion to greyhound racing’s inaugural Metropolitan Festival of Racing.
The richest greyhound race in Victoria and widely considered the world’s greatest greyhound race, the TAB Melbourne Cup is the centrepiece on a night which will incorporate eight feature races including the Group 1 Bold Trease (715m) and almost $1 million ($994,500) in prize money.
Comprehensive coverage of Friday night’s action will take place from 7.30pm on free-to-air television show ‘Thrill of the Chase’, to be screened on 7TWO and via The Watchdog app.
Meanwhile, a dedicated four-page TAB Melbourne Cup lift-out will appear in Thursday’s Herald Sun newspaper.
6.27pm Race 1
7.42pm Race 5 G1 Bold Trease (715m)
8.10pm Race 6 G1 TAB Melbourne Cup (515m)
8.38pm Race 7 G3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m)
Following last Friday’s heats, five of the eight TAB Melbourne Cup finalists are genuine crème de la crème sprinters, headlined by Simon Told Helen, who will become just the eighth Australian greyhound to surpass $1 million in prize money if he snares the $435,000 first prize. He has currently earned $760,135 in stakes.
Chasing a remarkable fifth Group 1 victory, Simon Told Helen could present part-owner Dr Simon Crowley and his wife Helen (whom the dog is named after) with the most timely of gifts, as they’ll be celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary on Friday.
Another headline contender is Tommy Shelby, who is aiming to become the first WA greyhound to win the Melbourne Cup in the race’s 65-year history.
Named after a lead character in popular Netflix series Peaky Blinders, Tommy Shelby is temporarily in the care of leading Victorian trainer, Kelvyn Greenough. His owners Jodie-Louise Harders and Steve Withers have been donating a portion of Tommy Shelby’s prize money to various charities throughout his career and have pledged five per cent (10 per cent of the owners’ share) of any money he wins during November to Movember. Victory on Friday night would equate to a $21,750 donation to the cause, which raises awareness about men’s health issues.
Dual track record holder Shima Shine is aiming to join an elite trio of greyhounds – Rapid Journey (1998), Bombastic Shiraz (2003) & El Grand Senor (2010) – to snare a rare Topgun/Melbourne Cup double.
And Tiggerlong Tonk, who was the fastest heat winner in 29.16sec, will be chasing for similar notoriety as he attempts to join Go Wild Teddy (2000), Bombastic Shiraz (2003) and Aston Dee Bee (2017) as the only greyhounds to have won both the Shootout and the Melbourne Cup.
Rounding out the ‘Fab Five’ is Hard Style Rico, who won the G3 RSN Silver Bullet (525m) on the opening night of the Metro Festival of Racing on 2 November at The Meadows. The Shepparton track record holder sizzled in his Melbourne Cup heat, clocking 29.17sec, the second fastest time on the night.
In fact, only 1.5 lengths separated the sublimely talented quintet in terms of their winning Melbourne Cup heat times.
How to follow Friday night’s TAB Melbourne Cup Final:
– Comprehensive coverage from 7.30pm with ‘Thrill of the Chase’ on 7TWO, via The Watchdog app or at watchdog.grv.org.au.
– Behind-the-scenes Twitter coverage with @SandownDogs and @WatchdogRacing from 6pm.
– Sky Racing, RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM) & SEN Track’s ‘The Lids Fly’ (1593 AM).
$630,000 G1 TAB Melbourne Cup (515m)
Friday 27 November, 8.10pm (Race 6)
$435,000 (1st); $130,000 (2nd); $35,000 (3rd)
1 ZIPPING SULLIVAN (Deborah Coleman, Lara VIC)
2 SIMON TOLD HELEN (David Burnett, Little River VIC)
3 TOUGH TEARS (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
4 LUCY’S MILO (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
5 HARD STYLE RICO (Luckie Karabitsakos, Pearcedale VIC)
6 TOMMY SHELBY (Kelvyn Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
7 SHIMA SHINE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
8 TIGGERLONG TONK (Correy Grenfell, Mount Wallace VIC)
9 ARIZONA EYES (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
10 SHORT PORK (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley VIC)
TAB Melbourne Cup Heat winners (Fastest to slowest):
29.16sec TIGGERLONG TONK
29.17sec HARD STYLE RICO
29.19sec SHIMA SHINE
29.21sec TOMMY SHELBY
29.26sec SIMON TOLD HELEN
29.57sec LUCY’S MILO
29.63sec ZIPPING SULLIVAN
29.70sec TOUGH TEARS
WATCH: Tiggerlong Tonk (4) was the fastest TAB Melbourne Cup heat winner in 29.16sec.
$150,000 G1 Bold Trease (715m)
Friday 27 November, 7.42pm (Race 5)
$105,000 (1st); $30,000 (2nd); $15,000 (3rd)
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)
Bold Trease Heat winners (Fastest to slowest):
41.54sec SWEET AS EMM
41.56sec HOUDINI BOY
41.64sec BLAZING CARTIER
Metro Festival of Racing
The inaugural Metro Festival of Racing incorporates five nights of racing at The Meadows and Sandown Park during November with almost $2 million in prize money being distributed.
Winners so far
G1 Hume Cup, The Meadows: LAST HURRAH, Brett Nye (Little River)
G3 RSN Silver Bullet, The Meadows: HARD STYLE RICO, Luckie Karabitsakos (Pearcedale)
G1 TAB Topgun, The Meadows: SHIMA SHINE, Andrea Dailly (Anakie)
G1 TAB Topgun Stayers, The Meadows: TORNADO TEARS, Robert Britton (Lara)
G3 Shootout, Sandown Park: TIGGERLONG TONK, Correy Grenfell (Mount Wallace)
RELATED: ABOUT THE ‘METRO FESTIVAL OF RACING’