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Australian Cup trainers have their say

The $429,000 Group 1 TAB Australian Cup Final (525m) will take place at The Meadows on Saturday night at 9.37pm.

And we’ve done all the hard work to help you find the winner, bringing you the inside word from the trainers of all eight finalists along with extended analysis from Australia’s premier form expert, The Watchdog.

Enjoy comprehensive coverage of Australian Cup night on Sky Racing Active from 6.30pm and on ‘Thrill of the Chase’ on 7Mate from 9pm, with both broadcasts to be streamed live via The Watchdog app and at

1 UTAH BLUES ($51)
STARTS: 22: 10-3-5     PRIZE MONEY: $38,310     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  8: 3-2-1
PAST 10 RUNS: 1114123331     GROUP WINS: None     MEADOWS PB: 30.05sec

TRAINER SAYS: “Box 1 is the only draw I wanted, and it gives me a little bit of hope. He’s not as fast as some of the others, but he’s a reliable beginner and I wouldn’t be surprised if he found the early lead. Being a front-runner gives him some chance.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “He was the slowest heat winner but also the gutsiest. He’s a rank outsider but has the gun draw and early speed. He has won four from four out of Box 1. It’s been 22 years since ‘Mandatario’ won the Australian Cup at cricket score odds, and he may produce something similar.”


STARTS: 17: 6-8-2     PRIZE MONEY: $37,715     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  2: 2-0-0
PAST 10 RUNS: 2241112211     GROUP WINS: None     MEADOWS PB: 29.74sec

TRAINER SAYS: “Being drawn near the rail is exactly where he wants to be, and I expect him to be vying for the early lead. If he does lead it’s going to take something special to run him down because he’s capable of running in the 29.50s or 29.60s at The Meadows.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “Showed great determination through the first bend in his heat win and really powered to the line. He can probably trim his first section to sub-5.10sec and if so, he should follow the ‘red’ through and be a major factor.”


STARTS: 9: 6-0-0     PRIZE MONEY: $29,985     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  2: 2-0-0
PAST 10 RUNS: 117411151     GROUP WINS: None     MEADOWS PB: 29.76sec

TRAINER SAYS: “She’s a bit like a teenager, so racing doesn’t knock her about at all… Her first section was 5.02sec last week, and she didn’t come out great. Hopefully, she can come out a bit better this week and break five seconds, which she’ll need to do to be in front.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “We declared her a potential megastar after her third start. She was phenomenal in her heat defeating dual country cup champ Yozo Bale. Her box manners are a slight concern, but she’s the most brilliant from the 20m to 80m mark of the finalists.”


4 TOMMY SHELBY  ($2.80)
STARTS: 40: 24-4-6     PRIZE MONEY: $448,565     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  4: 1-0-0
PAST 10 RUNS: 1311131371     GROUP WINS: G1 Hobart Thousand, G3 Perth Cup Consolation     MEADOWS PB: 29.51sec

TRAINER SAYS: “The draw could’ve been better, and it could’ve been worse. It’s more what the dogs drawn around him do because he’s a lot more powerful once he gets on his feet than he is out of the boxes. Getting that first 20m to push into a spot is the key.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “Was outstanding in his heat and that was the ‘Tommy’ we hoped to see. The start will be crucial, so if he can avoid the ‘three’ early, he will have a big say over the final stages.”


STARTS: 31: 6-6-4     PRIZE MONEY: $66,960     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  10: 4-1-0
PAST 10 RUNS: 4231262461     GROUP RACE HONOURS: None MEADOWS PB: 29.66sec

TRAINER SAYS: “I’d prefer to be drawn outside Fernando Bluey, but he goes okay from the ‘middle’. He’s got experience on his side and I don’t want a tearaway leader as he’ll be running on strongly. Lately, he’s been avoiding ‘traffic’ and his run-home times have been great.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “Extremely hard greyhound to follow but steps up on the big nights having qualified for his third Group 1 final. His 29.66sec heat win clearly shows he has the talent to win, but he’s likely to get back early.”


STARTS: 30: 17-3-4     PRIZE MONEY: $77,580     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  8: 5-0-1
PAST 10 RUNS: 1111131111     GROUP WINS: None    MEADOWS PB: 29.77sec

TRAINER SAYS: “It doesn’t really matter where he’s drawn as he’s such a reliable beginner, it’s more what’s around us. But he still needs to come out running as these races are won in the first 50 metres, not the last 50. He’ll need to be rolling along out in front as he’s not overly strong.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “Has won nine of his past 10 starts in town and his consistent sectionals and overall times are amazing. He went to the next level in a heat breaking the 5.00sec barrier to the first mark, so he may look the winner off the back straight.”


STARTS: 68: 34-12-7     PRIZE MONEY: $385,055     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  16: 7-4-3
PAST 10 RUNS: 1141257231     GROUP WINS: G2 Horsham Cup, G3 Easter Gift, G3 Shootout     MEADOWS PB: 29.74sec

TRAINER SAYS: “You don’t want to be drawn this wide in a Group 1, but the ‘six’ may drag him into the race. He’s got to get to the first turn untouched, but he’s experienced and knows how to put himself into a race. His second section is what burns other dogs off.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “The ultimate professional lines up in yet another Group 1 final. He would have preferred a rails draw but will stay mid-to-wide through the first turn. He deserves a Group 1 win before his career ends.”


STARTS: 49: 20-9-8     PRIZE MONEY: $198,285     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  18: 8-2-4
PAST 10 RUNS: 3321114261     GROUP WINS: G2 McKenna Memorial, G3 Speed Star
MEADOWS PB: 29.61sec

TRAINER SAYS: “Initially, we weren’t happy with the ‘pink’, but it might work in his favour. There’s a lot of early pace on his inside but he’ll stay out. He’s not brilliant out of the boxes but musters quickly. He’s such a hard chaser and never gives up.”

WATCHDOG WORD: “Mr. Versatile, who returned with a brilliant 29.75sec heat win and although he has drawn the ‘car park’, things may fall into place for him. With the abundance of speed inside, he may swoop around them and enter the back straight in a stalking position.”


STARTS: 39: 11-5-9     PRIZE MONEY: $52,439     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  14: 4-4-3
PAST 10 RUNS: 1131611522     GROUP WINS: None    MEADOWS PB: 29.69sec


10 WOW  ($5.50)
STARTS: 27: 17-6-1     PRIZE MONEY: $287,125     MEADOWS 525M RECORD:  2: 1-1-0
PAST 10 RUNS: 1111111112     GROUP WINS: G1 Temlee, G1 Paws Of Thunder
MEADOWS PB: 29.78sec



*Prices as at 7am Friday 26 February at

The content on this page was accurate at the time of publishing. If you notice any inaccurate content on this page or anywhere on the website, please report it here

About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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