Feted Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson has won every country cup on the Victorian greyhound racing calendar – except one!
It’s purely a blip on his amazing training CV that Thompson is yet to claim his hometown cup. In fact, in the past decade, Thompson has prepared nine Cranbourne Cup finalists, with the closest result being Whodat Knockin’s third placing in 2015.
He also had both reserves – Flynn and Submission – for last year’s final.
But that could all change when his two finalists – Equalizer (Box 3) and Squiggle Keeping (Box 8) – contest the Group 2 Backmans Greyhound Supplies Cranbourne Cup (520m) on Saturday night.
“I’ve been living in the area for around 25 years and it’s a fantastic place to live,” Thompson said. “I’d love to win the Cranbourne Cup.”
Greyhound racing is also a close-knit family affair for Thompson, who adds it would be a huge thrill for his wife Seona and children Luke, 19, and Holly, 17, if they snared the $50,000 first prize.
Both Equalizer and Squiggle Keeping finished second in last week’s heats, but Thompson says the pair will be better for the experience as they “hadn’t seen the track”.
“I think he (Equalizer) is a fantastic chance, but he does rely on a bit of luck,” he said. “He’d never seen the track, so he’ll be much better for the run. Some dogs thrive on that, but he’s not one of them.”
Thompson says Equalizer – rated the “next big thing” in the sport – is “very clever in a field”. “It took him a while to fathom it out, but he really took off once he learned to work through a field.”
Equalizer has won 12 races from 26 starts – including five of his past eight. He was a G1 Silver Chief finalist and runner-up in the G2 Warragul Cup.
He’s TAB’s $3.50 second elect for the final, behind fastest heat winner Amarillo Highway at $3.00.
Thompson is also buoyant on the chances of Squiggle Keeping and said: “I can’t believe he’s a $14 chance.”
“He had to draw box eight to have a chance; all he wants is the outside. I think he’s a super chance,” he said. “He’ll also be better for the experience; the grand final is this week not last week.”
Pawnote: The Cranbourne Cup is the last of three group races tied into greyhound racing’s 2020/21 Gippsland ‘Festival of Racing’, along with the G1 Sale Cup (650m) – taken out by Houdini Boy on Boxing Day – and the G2 Warragul Cup (460m) won by Aeroplane Eric on January 16.
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