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Ringmaster of the Zoom Top

Underestimate master staying conditioner Robert Britton at your peril in any long distance feature and that’s especially the case when it comes to Saturday night’s Group 1 Zoom Top (725m) on the opening night of the Australian Cup Carnival.

Incredibly, Britton has won the Zoom Top invitational four times in the last eight years, with Cheetah Zorro (2014), Space Star (2015), champion Fanta Bale (2018) and recently-retired superstar Tornado Tears (2019).

Chasing a fifth title, greyhound racing’s ‘Bart Cummings’ has two runners in Here’s Tears, a younger full brother to Tornado Tears, and Blazing Cartier, which remarkably finished second and third respectively to Just Terms in last year’s Zoom Top.

Here’s Tears, back in Victoria after running fourth in the Listed Gold Cup in Brisbane last Thursday, is clearly the more fancied of Britton’s duo, with TAB marking him on the third line of betting at $5.50 from a suitable draw in box eight.

Latest TAB odds

“He’s going okay. He’s been very consistent without being dominant,” Britton said.

“I think he’s suited in box eight and hopefully he can get into a forward position, which he’ll need to.

“He’ll still need to do everything right from out there but I think he can lead and if he does lead he’ll be in it up to his ears.”

But Britton has handed punters a free tip, saying Blazing Cartier, a last start fourth in the Group 2 Summer Distance Plate in Sydney, was way over the odds at her initial quote of $51, which has already shortened to $31.

“She (Blazing Cartier) doesn’t deserve to be that price,” said Britton.

“I think she and Here’s Tears should be a lot closer.

“I would say off the draw that Here’s Tears is the better chance but I’m not disappointed about Blazing Cartier drawing five because she likes the middle more than the wings.

“Blazing Cartier has been racing consistently in Group races but unfortunately she’s been a bridesmaid and hasn’t been able to win one yet.

“I thought she was very unlucky in the Topgun Stayers at The Meadows late last year, which Tornado Tears won. She had them cold on the home turn before she got into trouble and if he can produce another run like that she’s a winning chance.

“It’s a very good field but there’s probably only two or three dogs in the race that are genuine stayers and Blazing Cartier is one of them, so she’s always a chance. I’d say Here’s Tears is five yards short of being a genuine stayer.

“If Blazing Cartier is sitting second or third you know she’ll be one of the dogs coming home. She doesn’t need to lead whereas Here’s Tears does. If he’s not in front he’ll be in trouble.”

While Houdini Boy is a clear-cut $2.70 favourite, Britton says Andrea Dailly’s $4.80 second elect Sunset Bourbski put the writing on the wall with a barnstorming second to another Zoom Top contender Sir Truculent in last week’s Albion Park Gold Cup.

“Regardless of what Houdini Boy does, I really feel that Sunset Bourbski is knocking on the door.”

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gerardg
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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