It will be a classic battle of the sexes in Friday night’s $67,000 Bottle-O Ballarat Cup Final (450m), to run at 9.27pm.
Only one female greyhound has won the Ballarat Cup in the past decade – Shared Equity in 2015 – but four of the eight contenders in this year’s final are of the fairer sex.
That includes the two fastest heat winners – Shima Classic (24.76sec) and Oriental Amber (24.89sec) – the former running just .07sec (just over one length) off the track record. The female contingent is rounded out by Aston Gwen and Fortuna Bale, the latter running third in the 2020 Ballarat Cup four months ago.
Traditionally held in December, the Ballarat Cup is now part of greyhound racing’s new $700,000 Western Festival of Racing, which runs throughout Autumn and incorporates the Horsham Cup (won by Shima Shine), Ballarat Cup (April 9), Geelong Cup (April 23) & Warrnambool Cup (May 5).
A total of six heats of the Ballarat Cup were run on Monday afternoon, with the winners and two fastest second placegetters now in line for a $47,000 first prize.
Shima Classic opened up the TAB favourite at $2.30 after drawing Box 2, followed by Ferdinand Boy ($2.80), who has come up with the same draw (8) from which he won last month’s Group 2 Shepparton Cup in track record time.
Here’s a rundown of the contenders:
1 AUSSIE SECRET
Trainer: Jason Thompson (Pearcedale)
Comment: Won 18 from 34. Chasing first group win. Unplaced in G1 Silver Chief & G2 Horsham Cup. Boasts a sizzling 24.87sec PB over the track/distance.
2 SHIMA CLASSIC
Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie)
Comment: Just 24 months old. Younger half-sister to champion sprinter Shima Shine. Won 8 from 13. G1 Australian Cup Finalist.
3 BOUND TO SUCCEED
Trainer: Noel Massina (Golden Square)
Comment: Won 27 from 44. Contesting first group final.
4 ASTON GWEN
Trainer: Ben Magri (Avalon)
Comment: Won 15 from 50. Big-time performer who won the G2 Laurels at Sandown and was unplaced in the G2 Warragul Cup, G1 Rookie Rebel and G2 Shepparton Cup.
Trainer: Darren Fisher (Lara)
Comment: Won 15 from 32 including seven of his past 10. A son of G1 Sapphire Crown winner Maja Mahi Mahi. Contesting his first group final. Unbeaten in three starts at Ballarat.
6 ORIENTAL AMBER
Trainer: Rodney Clark (Toolleen)
Comment: Won 18 from 34. Second fastest heat winner and she holds the 410m track record at Horsham. Won last month’s Shepparton Matchmakers.
7 FORTUNA BALE
Trainer: Mark Delbridge (Balliang)
Comment: Won 22 from 50. Ran a gutsy 2nd to Shima Classic in her heat. Ran 3rd in the G2 Ballarat Cup Final last December, which was her only other appearance at group level.
8 FERDINAND BOY
Trainer: David Geall (Lara)
Comment: Won 5 on end and 18 from 31 overall. Had Box 8 when winning last month’s G2 Shepparton Cup (8) in track record time.
9 ULTIMATE AVENGER
Trainer: Joe Borg (Maryborough)
Comment: Won six from 17 and has plenty of ability, but this is a huge rise in class.
10 WEBLEC JET
Trainer: Jeff Britton (Anakie)
Comment: Won 7 from 24. Multiple group race finalist.
HEAT WINNERS (fastest to slowest):
24.76sec Shima Classic
24.89sec Oriental Amber
24.92sec Ferdinand Boy
25.03sec Aussie Secret
25.12sec Bound To Succeed
OTHER FEATURES ON BALLARAT CUP NIGHT
- Ballarat Cup Final (450m) – First prize: $47,000
- Ballarat Cup Consolation (450m) – First prize: $9,800
- Autumn Classic Grade 5 Final (450m) – First prize: $7,000
- Special Event (390m) – First prize: $6,000
- Special Event (545m) – First prize: $6,000
- Special Event (660m) – First prize: $6,000
- Life Members Cup (450m) – First prize: $3,000
- Life Members Cup Consolation (450m) – First prize: $1,900
7.08pm First race
8.27pm First leg Quaddie featuring superstars Equalizer and Wallbanger (Race 5)
8.45pm Autumn Classic Final (Race 6)
9.08pm Ballarat Cup Consolation (Race 7)
9.27pm Ballarat Cup (Race 8)
10.46pm Last race (Race 12)
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
- Live coverage with Troy Harley & James Van de Maat at www.facebook.com/GRVictoria or via The Watchdog app from 8.30pm.
- Watch every race LIVE and FREE on The Watchdog app, watchdog.grv.org.au or on Sky Racing.
- RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM) & SEN Track (1593 AM).
- Twitter coverage with ‘@WatchDogRacing’.
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