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National Sprint Heats a boulevard of broken dreams

If only they put Hollywood-like ‘stars on sidewalks’ for greyhounds – Equalizer, Catch The Thief and Aston Rupee would be instant nominations.

Yes, there’s a touch of ‘Tinseltown’ about this terrific triumvirate.

But, in a juxtaposition, it was ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ stuff in tonight’s Victorian National Sprint Championship heats (525m) at The Meadows.

The Andrea Dailly-trained Fabriola Zad ($38.30) caused a major boilover in Heat 1, saluting as the rank outsider.

Fabriola Zad, who notched his 16th win from 67 starts, defeated the Jeff Britton-trained Tyler Durden ($10.70) by 3.9L, with Gypsy Yankee ($12.60) – also trained by Dailly – a further 0.7L away third in 30.01sec. It was Fabriola Zad’s eighth win from 29 starts over this track/distance.

The versatile performer was a finalist in last year’s G1 Hume Cup and this year’s G2 Cranbourne Cup and G2 Horsham Cup. He also finished third in the Listed Mount Gambier Cup in April.

However, the shock result was the Jason Thompson-trained powerhouse Equalizer ($1.50F) – a last start G1 Brisbane Cup winner – finishing fifth, 5.7L in arrears of the winner.

And Thompson’s woes continued in Heat 2 when four-time G1 finalist Catch The Thief ($1.80F) was tailed off. (Fortunately, Thompson received some solace as Aston Fastnet claimed the $25,000 to-the-winner G3 Warragul St Leger only seven minutes later. Such is the uncertainty of greyhound racing.)

The race went to the Jeff Britton-trained Mepunga Knight ($12.00) who accounted for Jepara ($3.40) – prepared by Britton’s partner Angela Langton – by 2.1L, with the Dailly-trained Providence Bale ($13.90) a further 0.4L away third in 29.98sec.

Mepunga Knight notched his 15th win from 36 starts. He was a finalist in the Provincial Plate (Sandown Park), Warrnambool Derby and Healesville Winter Cup.

And the ‘bolts from the blue’ continued when the Jeff Britton-trained track specialist Mr. Fix It – a winner of 11 from 19 this track/distance – claimed Heat 3.

Mr. Fix It ($4.10) defeated the Dailly-trained Jax Bale ($10.30) by 1L, with the Glenn Rounds-trained superstar and G3 Bill Collins Speed Star winner Aston Rupee ($1.80F) a further 0.4L away third in 29.97sec.

A winner of 17 races from 40 starts, Mr. Fix It is highly underrated. He recently finished third to sprint queen Qwara Bale in the G1 Maturity Classic and was a finalist in last year’s G3 Cup Night Sprint.

2021 VICTORIAN NATIONAL SPRINT FINAL
The Meadows, Thursday 12 August, 525m
$12,000 (1st); $3,500 (2nd); $1,750 (3rd)

1 PROVIDENCE BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
2 TYLER DURDEN (Jeff Britton, Anakie)
3 JEPARA (Angela Langton, Anakie)
4 MEPUNGA KNIGHT (Jeff Britton, Anakie)
5 ASTON RUPEE (Glenn Rounds, Devon Meadows)
6 JAX BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
7 FABRIOLA ZAD (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
8 MR. FIX IT (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
Reserves
9 GYPSY YANKEE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie)
10 DO IT (Jeff Britton, Anakie)

HEAT WINNERS (Fastest to slowest):
29.97sec: Mr. Fix It
29.98sec: Mepunga Knight
30.01sec: Fabriola Zad

VIDEO REPLAY

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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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