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Equalizer follows sister’s Cup lead

Sprinting powerhouse Equalizer is on target to complete what would be an extremely rare – if not unprecedented – back-to-back G1 family double in Thursday night’s $250,000 to-the-winner Brisbane Cup final (520m) at Albion Park.

In 2020 Equalizer’s older half-sister Black Opium, also trained by champion mentor Jason Thompson and bred and raced by the See The Dream syndicate, comprising cousins Serge and Bill Buccilli, was a near-record  29.44sec winner of the Cup.

“It’d be a really good effort if Equalizer does win, especially for the mother (Captivating),” said Thompson, who’s chasing a fifth Brisbane Cup title after victories with Uno Joel (2007), El Galo (2008), Got A Moment (2012) and Black Opium.

“Black Opium ran second off ‘the pink’ in 2019 and she was a bit stiff because Sennachie broke the record when he beat her, and then she won it last year out of box five.”

Black Opium (by Thompson’s 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Black Magic Opal) won four of her six starts at Albion Park and Equalizer has also demonstrated an immediate affinity for the venue, being unbeaten in two appearances.

At his interstate debut, the son of US sire KC And All won the Listed Super Sprinters, running down G1 winner Qwara Bale in 29.77sec (BON).

Then in last week’s heats, Equalizer claimed heat honours when coming from midfield in a dynamic railing performance to win running away in 29.93sec, not going around another runner in a ‘ride’ Thompson’s star jockey son Ben would’ve been proud of.

“Equalizer has taken to Albion Park. His two runs there have been good,” Thompson said.

“He blew the start the first week, which helped him win the race because he avoided the trouble and got a run through.

“Then on Thursday he began better, got into the right spot and probably had the race won from the first corner because he’s so strong.”

Equalizer shaded fellow Victorian Shima Shine for heat honours, with Andrea Dailly’s superstar, winner of the G1 Gold Bullion at Albion Park in February, making it three from three at the track when clocking 29.96sec.

WATCH: Powerhouse Victorian Equalizer (2) sweeps to a sensational 29.93sec G1 Brisbane Cup heat win at Albion Park last week.

TAB has installed Shima Shine as $1.85 favourite from box seven and he looms as Equalizer’s greatest hurdle to claiming a deserved Group victory at his eighth attempt – he’s finished runner-up in the G2 Warragul and Cranbourne Cups and G3 Speed Star.

Equalizer has drawn box four and shares the second line of betting at $4.40 with high class Tasmanian Wynburn Sheean, which like Equalizer and Black Opium before him is based with caretaker local trainer Tony Brett.

“Equalizer needed to draw somewhere near the fence so I suppose four is better than seven or eight,” Thompson offered.

“Obviously if he’d drawn box one it would’ve been better but boxes don’t really matter because we know he’s not going to jump to the front. He’s going to be towards the back and he’ll work it out and hopefully find a run somewhere.

“If he’s going to win he’s going to have to come from behind and if Shima Shine is in front he’s going to be running very quick time and realistically he’ll win the race. So we’re relying on Shima Shine getting held up or getting into trouble.

“We’re very confident Equalizer will run very well – he always does – but whether that‘ll be good enough to win we’ll just have to wait and see.”

A small setback prevented Equalizer’s talented litter sister Immunity from joining him in Brisbane, but she improved her imposing record to 15 from 21 with a runaway 27.94sec (BON) 500m win at Bendigo last Friday.

Equalizer and Shima Shine are at the forefront of a strong Victorian presence in Thursday night’s G1 double header in Brisbane.

Music Event, in the care of successful Queensland trainer Selena Zammit for his Cup campaign, is an $8 chance, while Paul Abela’s exciting stayer Five Star is prominent in betting on the $100,000 to-the-winner G1 Queensland Cup (710m) at $3.60.

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Gerard Guthrie
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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