Victorian greyhound racing’s richest provincial greyhound race – the $107,000 Group 1 Gold 98.3 FM Group 1 Sale Cup – will take place on Boxing Day evening as part of the Gippsland Festival of Racing.
A star-studded field has been assembled following last Sunday’s heats, with the sport’s pin-up dog Houdini Boy setting the standard with a sensational victory in 36.78sec, just two lengths outside the 650 metres track record.
While Houdini Boy is a hot $2.20 favourite three days out from Saturday night’s final, punters will be heartened by the fact that only three favourites have won the race in the past decade.
Houdini Boy has an enormous fan base, largely because of his ability to come from seemingly hopeless positions to win, which has led to him being dubbed an escape artist.
Kelvyn Greenough’s superstar is chasing his first Group 1 win, but he’ll need to topple some fellow big names if he is to do so including Christo Bale ($4.20) and Last Hurrah ($12).
Meanwhile, omen punters may follow the fortunes of the classy Weblec Ace ($12), whose cousin Weblec Eagle won the Sale Cup last year.
Zack Monelli ($4.50) is the sole interstate greyhound to make this year’s final, and he is aiming to become the third West Australian to win the Sale Cup in the past eight years.
A total of five feature races will be run on the card, starting with a two-dog battle for a $10,000 winner’s prize between Run Like Jess and Blazing Cartier in the Cup Night Match Race (650m), which is Race 4 at 7.50pm.
The Sale Cup is the first of three group races tied into greyhound racing’s 2020/21 Gippsland Festival of Racing, along with the Warragul Cup (Jan 16) and Cranbourne Cup (Feb 6).
Racing fans can enjoy live and comprehensive coverage of Sale Cup night with Troy Harley, James Van de Maat and Molly Haines via GRV’s Facebook Page and The Watchdog App from 7.40pm on Boxing Day.
Group 1 Gold 98.3 FM Sale Cup (650m)
Saturday 26 December, 9.13pm
Prize money: $107,000 total; $75,000 (1st); $21,335 (2nd); $10,665 (3rd)
1 ARIZONA EYES (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
2 CHRISTO BALE (Mark Delbridge, Balliang VIC)
3 ZACK MONELLI (David Hobby, Nambeelup WA)
4 BOBBY THE BRUTE (Brendan Pursell, Lara VIC)
5 HOUDINI BOY (Kelvyn Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
6 LAST HURRAH (Brett Nye, Little River VIC)
7 WEBLEC ACE (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
8 I’M EASY BOYS (Raymond Henness, Heathcote VIC)
9 SECRETS UNTOLD (Peter Schofield, Devon Meadows VIC)
10 BURN TIME (Keith Hellmuth, Pearcedale VIC)
How to follow Saturday night’s Sale Cup Final:
– Facebook Live coverage at www.facebook.com/GRVictoria from 7.40pm or via The Watchdog app.
– Watch every race LIVE and FREE on The Watchdog app, watchdog.grv.org.au or on Sky Racing from 6.30pm.
– RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM) & SEN Track (1593 AM).
– Live Twitter coverage with ‘@WatchDogRacing’.
Heat winners (fastest to slowest):
36.78sec Houdini Boy
36.92sec Christo Bale
37.06sec I’m Easy Boys
37.13sec Bobby The Brute
Features races on Sale Cup night:
7.50pm Cup Night Match Race – Special Event 650m – 1st Prize $10,000 (Race 4)
8.13pm Rising Star – Restricted Win (1-4 Wins) 440m Final – 1st Prize $6,645 (Race 5)
8.32pm Summer Cup – Special Event 520m Final – 1st Prize $6,645 (Race 6)
8.52pm Gippsland Festival Sprint – 440m Final – 1st Prize $6,645 (Race 7)
9.13pm Gold 98.3 FM Sale Cup – 650m Final – 1st prize $75,000 (Race 8)
Recent Sale Cup winners
2010 Symmetry (Robert Britton, Lara VIC)
2011 Mystic Apple (Val Awramenko, Leopold VIC)
2012 Destini Fireball (Emilio Rinaldi, Lethbridge VIC)
2013 Dyna Nalin (Paul Stuart, Nambeelup WA)
2014 Star Recall (Jeffrey Britton, Anakie VIC)
2015 No Donuts (Bradley Canty, Cardiff NSW)
2016 Dundee Osprey (Geoffrey Scott-Smith, Pakenham South VIC)
2017 Quick Jagger (Christopher Halse, Nambeelup WA)
2018 Neo Cleo (Wendy Neocleous, Hazelwood North VIC)
2019 Weblec Eagle (Matthew Lanigan, Anakie VIC)
WATCH: WEBLEC EAGLE (2) recovers from some early tangling to take out the 2019 Sale Cup.