Champion trainer Jason Thompson may have found an ‘elusive’ fifth Group 2 Shepparton Cup (450m) winner.
Catch The Thief, a recent acquisition to his all-conquering Pearcedale kennel, ‘stole the show’ with a sensational heat performance tonight, and he has come up with box 2 in Saturday’s $67,000 final.
Okay, he wasn’t quite the fastest heat winner. But the way he ‘pinched’ the race suggested he’s the one to ‘catch’ in Saturday night’s $47,000 to-the-winner final. He was TAB’s ‘All In’ $5 favourite prior to the heats.
Contesting Heat 3, Catch The Thief was only moderately away but cut hard to the rail in front of Tassie sensation Wynburn Sheean rounding the first turn and put paid to the race in the twinkling of an eye!
Returning from a two-month spell, Catch The Thief ($2.60F) defeated Junk Food Junkie ($22.20) by 1.4L in 25.01sec. It was his 21st win from 42 starts and he’s undefeated in three starts over 450m here.
Catch The Thief has competed in three G1 finals, including runner-up in the Adelaide Cup, and won the G2 WA Derby and G3 Warragul St Leger.
Thompson has won the Shepparton Cup with Head Honcho (1993), Whisky Assassin (2004), Hanify’s Impact (2008) and Aston Bolero (2016).
Surprise packet Barooga Smoke, trained by Brett Nye, toppled ‘ultimate professional’ and nine-time G1 finalist Tiggerlong Tonk fair and square in Heat 4.
In a two-dog war, the frontrunning Barooga Smoke ($6.20) defeated Tiggerlong Tonk ($2.00F) by 1.7L in 24.94sec (Best).
(fastest to slowest)
- 24.94sec Barooga Smoke
- 24.99sec Ferdinand Boy
- 25.01sec Catch The Thief
- 25.05sec Papi Go Fast
- 25.06sec Aston Gwen
It was his 12th win from 25 starts. At his previous start, Barooga Smoke finished second to superstar Shima Shine in the G2 Horsham Cup final.
Serious up-and-comer Ferdinand Boy announced his arrival in the big time with a brilliant win in Heat 5.
Trained by David Geall, Ferdinand Boy ($4.20) accounted for Shepparton 385m track record holder Benchester ($21.90) by 1L in a slick 24.99sec.
Ferdinand Boy registered his 15th win from 28 starts and his fourth win from six starts over 450m here. Only a week earlier, he took out the Shepparton Classic.
Heat 2 was always going to be an intriguing race of speed vs strength between Papi Go Fast and Music Event – and it went according to the script!
Trained by Rob Camilleri, Papi Go Fast ($3.50) held off Music Event ($1.80F) by 0.7L in 25.05sec.
Named after Melbourne Storm full back Ryan Papenhuyzen, Papi Go Fast – who finished third in the G1 Silver Chief – notched his 17th win from 28 starts. He’s yet to finish out of place in his career.
The Watchdog was right on the money with Aston Gwen who won Heat 1. When asked how he would spend $50 on TAB’s ‘All In’ market, the form expert suggested $10 on her at $51.
Trained by Benjamin Magri, Aston Gwen ($7.00) defeated Sonny Daze ($12.10) by 1.4L in 25.06. It was her 15th win from 47 starts.
She won the G2 Laurels and was a finalist in the G1 Rookie Rebel and G2 Warragul Cup.
Aston Gwen is also aiming to become the first female to win the Shepparton Cup since Hanify’s Impact in 2008.
Benchester (25.057sec), Tiggerlong Tonk (25.059sec) and Music Event (25.101)
also qualified for the final as the three fastest second placegetters.
Photos by Clint Anderson
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