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TAB Melbourne Cup Final: Armchair Guide

Superstar sprinter Koblenz was bred to win the Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup and after surviving a drama-charged dead-heat to qualify for the world’s greatest greyhound race, the blueblood looms as the main danger to favourite Aston Rupee in Friday night’s $762,500 final.

Aston Rupee (Box 4), trained by Glenn Rounds, who teamed with late partner Judy Hayley to win the Melbourne Cup in 2001 with Classic Capri, heads TAB betting at $2.40, with Koblenz (Box 3) the $3.10 second elect.

Koblenz, a son of champion 2015 Melbourne Cup runner-up Fernando Bale and 2017 finalist Up Hill Jill, is bred and trained by David Geall and wife Rose, who are eyeing their second Melbourne Cup triumph after the win of My Redeemer in 2018.

Click HERE  for the latest TAB Melbourne Cup Final market

“This is the race all trainers aspire to win and it’s a thrill to be there again, especially when we’ve bred, whelped and reared him,” said Geall.

A brilliant front-runner with faultless box manners, Koblenz, the winner of 25 of his 38 starts, started $1.30 favourite in the opening TAB Melbourne Cup heat, but there were several anxious moments during and after his dead-heat with the Angela Langton-trained Jepara (Box 2). It was the first time a dead-heat had occurred in a Melbourne Cup heat in the race’s 65-year history.

“I thought Koblenz had just won but it went on and on and then the dead-heat came up,” said Geall.

“Someone said it would be a toss of the coin and I was worried we could be bombing out. It was seven or eight minutes before we found out the slowest time would miss out.”

KEY TIMES

6:52pm G3 Provincial Plate Final (Race 1)
7:34pm Vic Bred Maiden Final (Race 3)
8:12pm G1 Bold Trease Final (Race 5)
8:27pm G3 TAB Cup Night Sprint (Race 6)
8:53pm G1 TAB Melbourne Cup Final (Race 7)
9:12pm G3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (Race 8)
9:34pm Listed Cup Night Stayers (Race 9)
10:30pm Last race (Race 12)

Andrea Dailly

Typhoon Sammy was the unlucky greyhound to be relegated to first reserve despite winning his heat, with Geall now fully focused on what lies ahead for Koblenz this Friday night.

“Box 3 is a good draw on one hand and not so good on the other hand, because he’s somehow got to get across Aussie Secret (Box 1). Then it depends on where Aston Rupee gets to – we’d want to be at least three lengths in front of him.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Thrill of the Chase with Molly Haines, Gareth Hall and George Farrugia on 7Two and via The Watchdog app from 6-7pm.
– Comprehensive live telecast trackside with Jason Lincoln, Marc Ohlmus and Jason Adams on Sky Racing, watchdog.grv.org.au and via The Watchdog App from 7pm.
– Behind the scenes Twitter coverage with ‘@SandownDogs’ and ‘@WatchDogRacing’.
– Regular updates with Trent Langskaill on RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM).
– Coverage of TAB Melbourne Cup Final with Andrew Copley on 3AW (693 AM).

“Koblenz ran 5.05sec early in his heat and we’re hoping he can break five seconds this week, which he has done on several occasions. If he does that, I’d expect him to lead the race. He’s jumped (well) in 27 of his last 28 starts so I’m hoping he’s not due to miss it!

“He’ll run a great race and I’m confident he can finish in the top four.”

The other runners at single figures in TAB Melbourne Cup betting are $8 chance Aussie Secret, trained by three-time Melbourne Cup winner Jason Thompson, who’s striving to become the first trainer to win the race on four occasions with his 20th finalist, and fastest heat winner Lala Kiwi (Box 5) at $9, prepared by another multiple Melbourne Cup-winning trainer in Andrea Dailly.

Here’s a rundown of the contenders:

Group 1 TAB MELBOURNE CUP FINAL (515m)
Sandown Park, Friday 8:53pm – First prize $500,000

1 AUSSIE SECRET
Trainer: Jason Thompson (Pearcedale VIC)
Breeding: October 2018 Bernardo x Sunset Believer
Record: Won 31 from 60
Sandown Park PB: 29.37sec
Comment: One of the most consistent sprinters in Australia, prepared by three-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer. Likes to race off the rails but has strong Box 1 (6 from 10) and Sandown Park 515m (5 from 9) credentials. Will be prominent from the outset and with early luck could prove hard to catch.

2 JEPARA
Trainer:
Angela Langton (Anakie VIC)
Breeding: February 2019 Fernando Bale x Tarks Nemesis
Record: Won 17 from 50
Sandown Park PB: 29.31sec
Comment: Returned to form when dead-heating with Koblenz in heat. Chances could be determined by whether he misses Aussie Secret on his inside in the opening exchanges but if he avoids early trouble has the ability to surprise at odds.

3 KOBLENZ
Trainer:
David Geall (Lara VIC)
Breeding: May 2019 Fernando Bale x Up Hill Jill
Record: Won 25 from 38
Sandown Park PB: 29.16sec
Comment:
Superbly-bred speed machine, faultless beginner with sensational strike rate. Has an excellent record from inside three boxes – beaten only twice in 16 starts from Boxes 1, 2 and 3. Has broken five seconds early on several occasions at Sandown Park and will take a power of catching if he finds the front.

4 ASTON RUPEE
Trainer:
Glenn Rounds (Devon Meadows VIC)
Breeding: April 2019 KC And All x Aston Miley
Record: Won 19 from 32
Sandown Park PB: 28.79sec (Track Record)
Comment: Sandown Park track record holder and deserved favourite. Has proven almost unstoppable in winning 8 of his last 9 starts, including the two fastest times ever recorded at Sandown Park; the G1 Topgun and G3 Shootout. Overcame difficulties in barnstorming heat victory and is clearly the one to beat with a clear run.

5 LALA KIWI
Trainer:
Andrea Dailly (Anakie VIC)
Breeding: May 2019 Aussie Infrared x Lala Shim
Record: Won 16 from 37
Sandown Park PB: 29.24sec
Comment:
Only female in the race and fastest qualifier after taking advantage of Box 1 in dominant 29.24sec heat victory, boosting her imposing Sandown Park record to 4 from 6. Draw makes her task a tough one but with luck in running will be competitive and shouldn’t be overlooked.

6 LAKEVIEW WALTER
Trainer:
Monique Whelan (Metung VIC)
Breeding: April 2019 Fernando Bale x Lakeview Maisey
Record: Won 11 from 29
Sandown Park PB: 29.15sec
Comment:
Winner of the G1 Silver Chief in January and has made a timely return to his best, winning G3 Silver Bullet followed by impressive 29.26sec heat victory, the second quickest qualifying performance. Made every post a winner from Box 1 in heat success but will find it tough to repeat from awkward alley. Knockout chance with luck in transit.

7 TIBERIA BALE
Trainer:
Andrea Dailly (Anakie VIC)
Breeding: November 2018 Barcia Bale x Folio Bale
Record: Won 11 from 58
Sandown Park PB: 29.64sec
Comment:
Upset heat winner when turning around average recent form from inside draw in Box 2 and likely to go around at big odds again from wide alley. Difficult to see him getting into the race from out here.

8 KINSON BALE
Trainer:
Samantha Grenfell (Anakie VIC)
Breeding: August 2019 Barcia Bale x Hae Allen
Record: Won 12 from 44
Sandown Park PB: 29.47sec
Comment: Talented type facing biggest test to date but has been highly competitive in elite company recently. Won’t find it easy to get across in such esteemed company but a repeat of his 5.02sec heat split will put him right in the early picture. Each way prospects.

Reserves
9 TYPHOON SAMMY     SCRATCHED
Trainer:
Jason Thompson (Pearcedale VIC)
Breeding: January 2019 Aston Dee Bee x Zabaleta
Record: Won 19 from 28
Sandown Park PB: 29.65sec
Comment:
Prodigious talent that’s been airborne since relocating to Victoria. Very unlucky not to be in final field after winning heat but being squeezed out on times due to dead-heat in earlier runoff. Will have taken great benefit from two Sandown Park runs and should be treated warily if gains a start.

10 JAX BALE     SCRATCHED
Trainer: Andrea Dailly (Anakie VIC)
Breeding: January 2018 Allen Deed x Helma Bale
Record: Won 17 from 73
Sandown Park PB: 29.14sec
Comment:
Veteran sprinter with impressive Sandown Park statistics but minor claims would be best if he snuck into the field.

Group 1 BOLD TREASE FINAL (715m)
Sandown Park, Friday 8:12pm – First prize $105,000

1 UNTAPPED 📷 (Dustin Drew, Dennington VIC)
2 KENNY THE BRUTE (Kel Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
3 MEPUNGA RUBY (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
4 RUN LIKE JESS (Robert Camilleri, Lara VIC)
5 KNICKS BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie, VIC)
6 GYPSY WYONG (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
7 LINE OF QUALITY (Darryl Thomas, Sawyers Gully NSW)
8 DRAKO BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
Reserves
9 STANLEY ROAD
(Mark Gatt, Thirlmere NSW)   SCRATCHED
10 NIKEPHOROS (Tim Britton, Lara VIC)   SCRATCHED

Click HERE  for TAB’s latest Bold Trease Final market

RECENT MELBOURNE CUP WINNERS

2011 Dyna Tron (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
2012 Got A Moment (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2013 Black Magic Opal (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2014 Dyna Villa (Jenny Hunt, Teesdale VIC)
2015 Dyna Double One (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
2016 Ando’s Mac (Jason Mackay, Richmond Vale NSW)
2017 Aston Dee Bee (Seona Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2018 My Redeemer (David Geall, Lara VIC)
2019 Whiskey Riot (Anthony Azzopardi  Rowsley VIC)
2020 Hard Style Rico (Luckie Karabitsakos, Pearcedale, VIC)

The TAB Melbourne Cup is the fourth and final leg of the Metro Festival of Racing. READ MORE

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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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