Zippy Tesla unleashed an ‘electrifying’ finishing burst to defy an alarming betting drift and claim a thrilling last stride victory in the TAB Silver Chief final (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Trained by Andrea Dailly, Zippy Tesla sprouted wings in the home straight to grab gallant leader Compliance in the final stride.
It was a spine-tingling conclusion to the year’s first G1 event and will take some topping over the next 12 months.
Calling the time-honoured age-restricted feature – greyhound racing’s equivalent of the Victoria Derby – for a remarkable 40th time, the great Ron Hawkswell nailed it when labelling it a “humdinger of a finish”.
After running a scorching Best Of Night 29.60sec at the inaugural TAB Phoenix meeting on December 18, Zippy Tesla, a son of US sire KC And All, as is Australia’s fastest greyhound Aston Rupee, set the pace in the Silver Chief heats, clocking 29.77sec.
Those two victories came from Box 1 and after drawing Box 3 for the $100,000 to-the-winner final, Zippy Tesla was initially installed $2.40 favourite.
But he’d got out to $5.80 at box-rise, being usurped for favouritism by Xavien Bale, the most experienced finalist with 47 starts, at $4.80, while rails runner It’s Only Money, the winner of six of his seven starts, was well-supported into $5.50.
It’s Only Money began well but was crossed by another lightly-raced youngster in Compliance ($8.10), which had won five from six for Karen Pitt and partner Wayne Vassallo.
VIDEO ZIPPY TESLA (B3) found himself a mile off the pace but he used all his strength to reel in the front-running COMPLIANCE (B8) to claim the $100,000 first prize in 29.79sec, with TITAN BLAZER (7) third.
Zippy Tesla was outpaced early and only had two behind him on the first corner but improved into third turning for home and charged to the line to blouse Compliance in the shadows of the post, posting 29.79sec, with Titan Blazer ($6.20) running third.
“Wayne (Vassallo) used to work for us, so I was hoping Karen’s dog (Compliance) would hold on because I had given up all hope of Zippy Tesla winning,” said Tom Dailly, Andrea’s husband.
“Then I saw him coming and thought he might run a place. But he flew home to win which was a huge effort.”
After a slow start to his career, which saw him take 11 starts to break his maiden, Zippy Tesla has now won 7 from 23 and four of his past five.
“He hasn’t got much early pace but his strength is obviously his greatest asset,” Tom Dailly said.
“He was sidelined for a little while with a split webbing but he has come out of the ground in recent weeks.
“We may look at the Paws Of Thunder with him.”
Zippy Tesla gave ‘Team Dailly’ a second Silver Chief victory, following the win of Ollie Bale in 2014, and continued the Dailly operation’s great success with homebred stock in recent times, following the likes of dual G1 winner Gypsy Wyong and Melbourne Cup runner-up Lala Kiwi.
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