Feature race specialist Jason Thompson doesn’t hesitate to nominate young guns Equalizer and Interrogate as his best chances of breaking a mystifying Australian Cup hoodoo.
The Group 1 TAB Australian Cup, along with the Melbourne Cup, Topgun and Golden Easter Egg, are widely regarded as Australian greyhound racing’s ‘majors’.
And while Thompson boasts multiple victories in the other three, the Australian Cup has thus far eluded the champion Pearcedale mentor, despite in recent years having a remarkable five finalists in 2016, while superstar Black Opium was runner-up in 2019.
Striving to correct this anomaly in 2021, Thompson will unleash an all-out assault on Saturday night’s Cup heats, with runners in each of the eight must-win run-offs, and he provided a comprehensive analysis to yours truly.
EQUALIZER – Heat 1, Box 2, 7.40pm – $3.80 with TAB
“He was very unlucky in the Temlee. Faithy Bale came straight back in his lap after the first corner and had that not happened he would’ve been right there. The slow beginning didn’t help but that’s what he does at times. He was beaten less than four lengths and lost more ground than he was beaten. At the end of the day he’s got a six next to his name but without the interference I’ve got no doubt he would’ve been in the finish. He’s drawn well and while there are no easy heats it hasn’t got the depth of a Temlee.”
ASTON SILK – Heat 2, Box 4, 7.58pm – $6
“She’s getting towards the end of her career and has been a bit up and down with her form in recent runs. She relies on leading to be a factor but if she can get to the front she’ll give them something to catch.”
PIRATE PETE – Heat 3, Box 8, 8.18pm – $3.80
“Very good run at The Meadows last week (29.71s BON). Even though it was only a mixed grade it was good to see him put the time and sections on the board. I’ve always said he wants a wide draw and he’s got that. The key to him is an early race because he plays up shocking in the kennels. Race 11 couldn’t have been any worse last week but he was able to overcome it and moving from race 11 to race 6 will definitely help.”
MEMPHIS KEEPING – Heat 4, Box 6, 8.40pm – $10
“I’ve got a big rap on this dog. Good run for second last week behind Pirate Pete in good time. He’ll need luck from the draw but nothing he does would surprise me. One night he’s going to put it all together – I’m not saying it will be this week – and he’s going to surprise a lot of people but he won’t surprise me because I’ve got a very big opinion of him.”
MR. AMERICA – Heat 5, Box 1, 9.03pm – $4.80
“It’s a bit of a throw at the stumps because he’s a very young dog – he’s only 22 months. He needed to draw one or two to be a chance and he’s got the red. The only thing is that Shima Shine is in the race, which isn’t an easy task. We’re not going there expecting to beat Shima Shine but the box will give him every chance.”
WILD CARD – Heat 6, Box 3, 9.23pm – $6
“He’s honest and has a pretty good record at The Meadows. He could run a place.”
INTERROGATE – Heat 7, Box 7, 9.48pm – $5.50
“Yeah, I do like him. He’s a good, young dog and he’s finally drawn where he needs to in the city. If you go through his form he’s drawn the red six times in his 16 starts but he hates an inside draw. He’s out wide and he’s got a good beginner (Run Baba Run) on his inside and a slow beginner (Enter The Son) on his outside so if he gets the start right he should get a clear run. He’s a real chance.”
AUSSIE SECRET – Heat 8, Box 3, 10.10pm – $4.80
“He’s very honest and his recent form has been good. He’s another dog that goes well at The Meadows. He relies on his early speed and needs to lead to be a chance.”
Note: Jason Thompson will also be chasing feature race success in NSW on Saturday with Squiggle Keeping (box 2) an $8.50 chance with TAB in the Group 2 Cyril Rowe Bulli Gold Cup.
The Australian Cup Carnival is an arm of the ‘Metro Festival of Racing’ incorporating nine feature races and carrying well over a million dollars in prize money. Read more HERE
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