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No tapping out as front-runner wins RSN Sandown Cup

Dustin Drew scored the biggest win of his training career when Untapped led all of the way to win the $262,500 RSN Sandown Cup (715m) at Sandown Park tonight.

Untapped ($5.50) timed the start to perfection to cross to the lead from box 7 through the first turn with fastest heat winner Jarick Bale ($5) trailing her through. From there the pair quickly cleared out from the chasing pack, setting up a thrilling two dog battle for the final lap of the 715m journey.

Jarick Bale switched to the inside down the back straight and narrowed the margin to a head as they returned past the starting boxes.

Untapped wouldn’t allow the dual group 1 winner through however, increasing the margin back out to a length off the back straight and maintaining that margin to the line, saluting in a race record 41.40sec.

Aston Velvet ($12.70) flashed home late to finish a further 1¼ lengths away third.

A graduate of the 2019 National Greyhound Draft, a large crowd of owners – many first time owners at that – were present at the track as the daughter of Aston Dee Bee and Mepunga Fame claimed the country’s most prestigious race for stayers.

“The 41 seconds felt like four minutes there then,” Drew told Sky Racing’s Jason Adams.

“It’s been an amazing ride. When I started off with her, if you had of said she’d win a group 1… it’s amazing.”

Untapped took some time to embrace racing but has rewarded connections for their perseverance. After a modest career over the sprint and middle distances, Untapped stepped up over the staying trip in November last year, winning a heat of the group 1 Bold Trease before finishing third in the final.

The Sandown Cup was her fifth group final across three states, finishing no worse than fourth in each. Drew, who hails from the Warrnambool suburb of Dennington, attributed part of Untapped’s success to the work done by Steve and Kiera Withers in Western Australia.

WATCH: A determined front-running display saw UNTAPPED (B7) shake off enormous pressure from JARICK BALE (B8) and win tonight’s $262,500 Group 1 RSN #SandownCup.

“She’s racing the really good dogs over the staying trip, and to keep her up is tough.

“I had to make a few changes, she went to Perth and came back I was really lucky Steve and Kiera Withers did an amazing job. When she came back she was just a different dog – it was maybe a blessing in disguise just to get away from me.

“It’s a massive thrill, it’s huge.”

Drew was also effusive in his praise for leviathan South Australian owner/breeder Ray Borda who drafted Untapped as an eight month old pup and sent her to Drew to work through her early issues.

“(Ray) has been huge to me, he’s just really fair.

“He rang me tonight – he didn’t have to ring me – and wished me all the best. It’s just great for greyhound racing with so many owners, this is what racing is about.

“As a trainer you want to get here and compete in these races and do well. Last week felt like my biggest win, but tonight is pretty special.”

The Sandown Cup is synonymous with the town of Warrnambool thanks to the exploits of the great Bold Trease, who incredibly won the race four years in succession from 1986-89.

Earlier in the night, Rapaki Rocks claimed the group 1 Harrison-Dawson for trainer Mario Briganti, while Victorian pin up sprinter Wow She’s Fast became the sport’s latest millionaire by winning the Sapphire Crown in 28.82sec – the second fastest time ever run at the View Road circuit and just half a length off Aston Rupee’s 29.79sec track record.

Photos by Clint Anderson

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About Mick Floyd - Mick Floyd is a freelance writer with more than 15 years’ experience in the sporting media.
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