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Amarillo’s Highway to Cup glory

Amarillo Highway qualified for back-to-back country cups finals with an electrifying performance in Saturday night’s heats of the Group 2 Backmans Greyhound Supplies Cranbourne Cup (520m).

Trained locally by Glenn Rounds, Amarillo Highway ran fifth to kennelmate Aeroplane Eric in the Warragul Cup Final earlier this month.
After mixed results in a NSW campaign during the second half of 2020, Amarillo Highway, a son of Aussie Infrared, which won the Maitland Cup in 2017 and contested the Geelong and Healesville Cup Finals in 2016, has returned to form with a vengeance.

Amarillo Highway defeated Jax Bale, which was another impressive heat winner at Cranbourne, in the Warragul Cup heats and started $2 favourite on debut at his home track in the third of four heats.

Beginning well from box two, Amarillo Highway swept to the front in the back straight and it was one-way traffic from that point as he romped to a 3.75 length victory over Fabriola Zad in 29.82s, easily the quickest qualifying performance.

WATCH: Amarillo Highway win his Cranbourne heat from box two.

The opening heat saw Lots Of Chatter continue his near-faultless start to 2021 when upsetting pre-series favourite Equalizer .

Trained by Graeme Jose, Lots Of Chatter had won three of his four starts in the New Year but faced a daunting task in the first run-off, tackling Jason Thompson’s $1.40 favourite Equalizer, runner-up in the recent Warragul Cup Final.

Junk Food Junkie ($5.50) and Lots Of Chatter ($6.90) were the only other runners at single figures and they put themselves in the picture, running one/two rounding the first bend, with Equalizer poised in fourth.

Lots Of Chatter broke clear approaching the home turn and kept going strongly, downing Equalizer, which snatched second place and a berth in the final in the last stride, by 2.69 lengths in 29.96s.

It was Lots Of Chatter’s third win from four starts at Cranbourne and narrowly eclipsed his previous personal best of 29.98s, clocked earlier this month.

Yozo Bale was a two-time country cup winner in 2020 for Correy Grenfell, reigning supreme at Ballarat and Bendigo, and he started $2 favourite in heat two to earn a shot at a third provincial title.

However, he was upstaged by another ‘Bale’ talent in Andrea Dailly’s Jax Bale, the $3.80 second elect.

Having run minor placings (including five seconds) at six of his last seven starts, Jax Bale made an overdue return to the winners list at his Cranbourne debut, dropping Dream Wizard and Yozo Bale in the back straight and powering clear in 30.02s.

Ian and Maureen Brown’s veteran outsider Wears Woodleigh ($43.80) finished strongly to grab second and qualify for his second Cranbourne Cup finale in three years, having run fourth to Orson Allen in 2019.

Young Devon Meadows trainer Ned McDonald is dreaming of what would be a fairy tale Group victory on his home ground after favourite Zipping Sultan was a dominant winner of the final heat.

Former NSW speedster Zipping Sultan started $2.60 from box eight, having won four of his last five starts, including a flying Sandown Park hat-trick, posting 29.25s, 29.37s and 29.45s.

Having his first start at Cranbourne, Zipping Sultan worked three-wide into the first turn but gained the ascendancy over Squiggle Keeping and recorded a commanding 29.97s victory, boosting his imposing record to 12 from 21.

HEAT WINNERS (fastest to slowest)

  • 29.82sec Amarillo Highway
  • 29.96sec Lots Of Chatter
  • 29.97sec Zipping Sultan
  • 30.02sec Jax Bale

Photos by Clint Anderson

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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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