• Thursday, 16 Dec, 2021,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

TAB Phoenix: Armchair Guide

Melbourne Cup hero Koblenz needs to overcome Box 8 to break Australian greyhound racing’s prizemoney record in Saturday night’s hugely anticipated inaugural $1.145 million TAB Phoenix, the world’s only greyhound slot race, at The Meadows.

Eight slot holders paid $75,000 each to be involved in the innovative feature, worth $750,000 to-the-winner, with Koblenz selected by SEN.

Trainer David Geall didn’t have a great deal of choice at last Sunday’s interactive TAB Phoenix box draw, with only boxes six, seven and eight remaining on the board when his turn came.

Click HERE  for the latest TAB Phoenix market

“Everyone was always going to head to the fence,” said two-time Melbourne Cup winner Geall.

“Nobody was going to pick a wide box early on. We had the sixth pick and the reason we chose Box 8 was because at least there’s no one drawn on his outside.

“It’s definitely going to test him.

“It’s very hard to get across on the two-turn tracks but we’ve just got to hope that he can nail the start at his best and break five seconds and he is capable of doing that.

“Even if, heaven forbid, he doesn’t get across and lead, I expect him to run in the first four because he’s such a good chaser and he’ll be giving it a red hot go.”


6:10pm First race
6:52pm TAB Phoenix Match Race (Race 3)
8:30pm TAB Phoenix (Race 8)
9:55pm Last race (Race 12)

20211218 Phoenix Trophy

While Geall concedes the wide draw is a major, if not insurmountable, hurdle, Koblenz, the $3.30 second elect in TAB’s market, remains the main threat to $2.30 favourite Aston Rupee (Box 5), which is also confronted by an awkward alley.

Like Koblenz, Aston Rupee hasn’t raced since the Group 1 Melbourne Cup final, where he ran fourth as $2.10 favourite, but he smashed Shepparton’s 450m record on Monday night in an exhibition trial, clocking 24.69sec.

Koblenz has already banked $711,235 in prizemoney, courtesy of an astounding 26 from 39 strike rate.

Victory in the TAB Phoenix will see the blueblood shatter the million dollar barrier and surpass Fanta Bale’s Australian prizemoney record of $1,365,175.

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, and via The Watchdog App from 7pm.
– Behind the scenes Twitter coverage with ‘@TheMeadowsDogs’ and ‘@WatchDogRacing’.
– Regular updates with Trent Langskaill on RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM).
– Live coverage with The Watchdog, Mitch Ebeyer, Damian Watson & Troy Little on SEN Track (1593 AM) from 6pm.
– Live coverage of TAB Phoenix just prior to 8.30pm on Thrill of the Chase on 7Two.
– Live coverage of TAB Phoenix just prior to 8.30pm with Andrew Copley on 3AW (693 AM).

“That would be something and to do it in a sprint race would be a real achievement because there’s a lot more depth in sprint races,” Geall said.

“Doing it in the first ever Phoenix would be special too. It might be the first Phoenix but it’s not going to be the last.

“It’s really attracted the media exposure and the promotional side of things. It keeps getting bigger by the day and there’s going to be a huge crowd there.”

While the box draw wasn’t kind to the two Victorian superstars, it was much better news for New South Wales duo Billy Creek (Box 1) and Jungle Deuce (Box 2), as well as Queenslander Spotted Elk (Box 3).

Jungle Deuce sits prominently on the third line of betting at $7.50, with Victorian prodigy Wow She’s Fast (Box 4), with only six starts under her belt, the only other runner at single figures at $9.

Here’s a rundown of the contenders:

The Meadows, Saturday 8:30pm
Total prizemoney $1.145 million
1st $750,000 | 2nd $100,000 | 3rd $80,000 | 4th $65,000 | 5th to 8th $37,500

Slot Holder: NSW GBOTA
 Ian Gilders, Beryl NSW
Breeding: May 2019 Brad Hill Billy x Midnight Jayne
Record: Won 10 from 22
The Meadows PB: First start this Saturday night
TAB fixed odds: $34

Comment: Won NSW qualifying event at Wentworth Park at big odds and was initially installed at $101 before fortune favoured connections at box draw when able to choose Box 1. Trialled in a smart 29.94sec at The Meadows on Saturday night and draw gives him minor claims.

Slot Holder: Greyhound Racing NSW
Ray Smith, Forbes NSW
Owner: Mawson Jaggers (SYN), Wattle Grove NSW
Breeder: Justin King, Londonderry NSW
Breeding: April 2019 Barcia Bale x Serena Fly High
Record: Won 18 from 33
The Meadows PB: 29.90sec
TAB fixed odds: $7.50

Comment: NSW star that has finally drawn close to the rails in Melbourne, after contending with wide draws in G1 Topgun and heat of G1 Melbourne Cup. Has an excellent career record from Box 2 (7 wins from 9 starts) and has run fast time at The Meadows. Last start win over 605m at Dubbo an interesting lead-up to a race of this stature but comes right into contention after box draw.

Slot Holder: Racing Queensland
Graham Hall, Marbung QLD
Breeding: March 2019 Paw Licking x It Gets Better
Record: Won 16 from 32
The Meadows PB: First start this Saturday night
TAB fixed odds: $13

Comment: Speedy Queenslander that used Box 1 to advantage in winning heat and final of state qualifying series. Drawn suitably and if she’s able to cross the inside pair is capable of giving a sight; however, the local stars appear to have her measure.

Slot Holder: Sportsbet
Jacqueline Greenough, Pearcedale VIC
Owner: Greg Sprod, St Marys NSW
Breeder: Amstel (SYN), Langwarrin VIC
Breeding: February 2020 My Bro Fabio x Fair Of Face
Record: Won 4 from 6
The Meadows PB: First start this Saturday night
TAB fixed odds: $9

Comment: Lightly-raced but prodigious talent that burst onto the scene with scintillating 29.09sec win on debut at Sandown Park in September, going on to win her first four starts. Been unplaced in past two in prelude and heat of Group 1 Melbourne Cup but that experience in elite company will have been invaluable. Done all her racing at Sandown Park to date but in the best of hands and sure to be perfectly prepared. Must be respected.

Slot Holder: Ray Borda
Glenn Rounds, Devon Meadows VIC
Owner/Breeder: Ray Borda, Mawson Lakes SA
Breeding: April 2019 KC And All x Aston Miley
Record: Won 19 from 33
The Meadows PB: 29.47sec
TAB fixed odds: $2.30

Comment: Absolute superstar, dubbed ‘the world’s fastest greyhound’, and deserved favourite despite awkward draw. Brilliant winner of the G1 Topgun at The Meadows last month, clocking a flying 29.66sec and 5.02sec early. Started favourite in G1 Melbourne Cup final at most recent appearance when came from last to finish fourth. Barring bad luck, he’s the one they all have to beat.

Slot Holder: The Dogs WA
Adam Smithson, Nambeelup WA
Owner/Breeder: Four Frothys (SYN), Bunyip VIC
Breeding: January 2019 Aston Dee Bee x Bells Are Ringin
Record: Won 24 from 58
The Meadows PB: First 525m start this Saturday night (34.50sec 600m)
TAB fixed odds: $34

Comment: Well-travelled former Victorian that’s been a model of consistency since arriving in Western Australia, winning five of past seven. Has middle distance experience at The Meadows earlier in career but draw is no help and looks tested in this company.

Slot Holder: TAB
Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC
Owner/Breeder: Stephanie Tyler, Boisdale VIC
Breeding: May 2019 Zambora Brockie x She’s A Collinda
Record: Won 8 from 20
The Meadows PB: No best time
TAB fixed odds: $10

Comment: Emerging Victorian prospect trained by one of the best in the business. This is her biggest test to date but showed what she’s capable of at Sandown Park last start when claiming best-of-meeting honours on Melbourne Cup night, posting 29.17sec. Would be better suited drawn near the rails but improving with every run and has each-way claims.

Slot Holder: SEN
David Geall, Lara VIC
Owner: Geall Gals (SYN), Lara VIC
Breeder: Rose Geall, Lara VIC
Breeding: May 2019 Fernando Bale x Up Hill Jill
Record: Won 26 from 39
The Meadows PB: 29.78sec
TAB fixed odds: $3.30

Comment: Melbourne Cup hero and will break Australian greyhound racing’s prizemoney record with victory here. Brilliant speedster with phenomenal strike rate, winning eight of last nine. Will need to show all his blistering early pace from the outside draw but is capable of doing just that and will give an enormous sight if he leads. Looms as the main threat to Aston Rupee.

Trainer: Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC
Owner/Breeder: Dailly Greyhound Farms (SYN), Elaine VIC
Breeding: May 2019 Aussie Infrared x Lala Shim
Record: Won 17 from 39
The Meadows PB: 29.82sec

Comment: High class female, narrowly beaten in Group 1 Melbourne Cup final when runner-up to Koblenz. Has run flying time at Sandown Park (29.24sec) and The Meadows (29.84sec) either side of that gallant effort and would be a definite threat if she secures a start.

Trainer: Monique Whelan, Metung VIC
Owner: Lakeview Kennels (SYN), Metung VIC
Breeder: Peter Whelan, Metung VIC
Breeding: April 2019 Fernando Bale x Lakeview Maisey
Record: Won 11 from 30
The Meadows PB: 29.67sec

Comment: Four-time Group 1 finalist, winning the Silver Chief at The Meadows almost 12 months ago. Last start Melbourne Cup finalist, finishing sixth, and has to be respected if elevated into the field, especially from an inside draw.

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

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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