Champion trainer Jason Thompson says a repeat of Equalizer’s barnstorming last-to-first heat victory won’t be good enough to win Saturday night’s Group 2 Evans Petroleum Warragul Cup Final (460m).
While new track record holder Shima Shine stole the show in last Friday’s heats, Equalizer produced a visually stunning performance, coming from a conspicuous last to win running away in 25.50s, his fourth win from seven starts at Warragul.
WATCH: Equalizer win his heat of the Warragul Cup from box eight.
“He was the second quickest heat winner, it was a very smart win and it was one of the bigger efforts but he can’t do that again and expect to win the race,” Thompson conceded.
“To think that could happen again he would be relying on a lot of trouble.”
A younger half-brother to Thompson’s former superstar Black Opium, Equalizer will be making his third appearance in a Group event, having finished unplaced in both the Silver Chief and Great Chase, both at The Meadows.
Equalizer had box eight when a close fourth in the Silver Chief on January 2 and again in his remarkable heat victory and he’s drawn the pink for the third time in a row.
TAB has marked Equalizer at $7, with Thompson acknowledging odds-on favourite Shima Shine will take a power of beating.
“If Equalizer flops out like last week, it doesn’t matter where he’s drawn because he’s going to be last and looking for runs,” said Thompson.
“He can begin – and every now and again he does – and if he happens to come out and gets around the corner in the first four he’s powerful and you never know what can happen.
“I actually think he’s a good chance to run top three, because a few of the other dogs have to be on-speed and that’s not going to happen, whereas that’s not the case with him.
“But to win he would have to do absolutely everything right, which he hasn’t done for quite a while, and Shima Shine would have to get into trouble.
“Shima Shine is most definitely the one to beat. By a long way. He’s the class dog, he’s the fastest qualifier and he’s the fastest dog in the race. He’s won Group races whereas not many of the other finalists have won a Group race yet.”
Thompson will also have a feature runner at Sydney’s Wentworth Park on Saturday, with Aston Silk to contest the opening heat of the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder, where the Group 1 Sapphire Crown runner-up is a $5 chance from box three.
“I sent Memphis Keeping up for the Derby (heats, Friday night) so Aston Silk went up with him, just because she’s been up there before,” Thompson explained.
“She’s won at Wentworth Park and made the final of the (Group 1) National Futurity last year. She’s honest and Wentworth Park is a track where the best dogs don’t always win.”