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Tinker Craig rings Ballarat bell

Mathew Tabb’s patient wait for another crack at Group glory will come to a long overdue end when barnstorming heat winner Tinker Craig lines up in Saturday’s Group 2 Ballarat Cup Final (450m).

Back in the mid-2000s, Tabb raced star sprinter Superman, a dual Group 1 winner of the Perth Cup and Hobart Thousand as well as the Group 2 Queensland Derby for trainer Emin Aydemir.

Tabb’s last appearance in a feature event came in 2012 when Maccaboy was unplaced behind Miata in the Group 1 Bold Tease.

“We won a lot of Group races with Superman and I learnt a lot off Emin (Aydemir),” Tabb explained.

“But from our point of view we haven’t had many (Group) runners and it’s been a long time so we’re very excited.

“Superman and Tinker Craig are similar in the sense they’re just great race dogs. They’re both real professionals and that’s probably why they’re so good. And they run fast time too!

“The big difference between them is that Superman was a better dog off the inside – when he drew box one you could just about guarantee he’d win – whereas Tinker Craig doesn’t want the red. He doesn’t want to be jammed up; he wants to be able to move through his gears.”

WATCH: Superman win the 2006 Group 1 Perth Cup from box seven. As the race caller said… Superman. Super run. Super star…

Lara-based Tabb now finds himself back in the spotlight courtesy of Tinker Craig, a son of Fernando Bale that will contest his first Group event on Saturday after a fast-finishing 25.34s heat victory.

“He’s a jet,” said Tabb.

“Ballarat wasn’t necessarily our goal. We thought we might have taken a bit of pace out of him with the two 500s at The Meadows and were looking more at going down the city path.

“But the Ballarat Cup was on and he’s 100 per cent capable of running low 25s there – he could even break 25s. He’s broken 25s at Shepparton and run super-quick at Sale.”

Ballarat was Tinker Craig’s second tilt at a country cup after he ran a close second in a Bendigo Cup heat in July when sent out favourite.

He again started favourite in his Ballarat heat from box eight and powered to the line to reel in tearaway leader Spring Hummer to claim his 12th win from 23 starts.

WATCH:WATCH: Tinker Craig win his heat of the Ballarat Cup from box eight.

“Going into the corner it looked like he was three or four lengths off the leader but into the straight it looked more like six lengths,” Tabb explained.

“It was a bit of a concern but this dog chases like a demon and he’s got a real will to win. He’s a fair dinkum greyhound.”

Tinker Craig has drawn box three for the Cup Final, with TAB marking him at $7 in a race devoid of a standout.

“We’re just rapt to be in there and if he can run in the first three we’ll be over the moon,” Tabb said.

“I think it’s one of the most even Ballarat Cups I’ve seen for ever and the first 50m will be crucial for everyone.

“I don’t mind box three at all. I just didn’t want one or two, so would’ve been happy with three out.

“He just needs to be left alone for the first 20 metres and then he explodes. If he has clear running between 20m and 200m they’re in big trouble.”

Superman with the son of his trainer Edmin Aydemir taken in 2006. Superman passed away in 2015 after a short battle with cancer.

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Gerard Guthrie
About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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