Queenslander Pocket Money stole the show in Monday night’s traditional Melbourne Cup Eve meeting at The Meadows, highlighted by the Group 1 Hume Cup heats (600m) and G3 RSN Silver Bullet (525m).
Pocket Money, trained by Ned Snow, threw down the gauntlet to his Victorian rivals in the last of six Hume Cup heats, stopping the clock at 33.98sec, just a length outside former superstar Dyna Double One’s 33.91sec track record.
Making his first appearance in Victoria, Pocket Money, a son of dual G1 winner Out Of Range, started at $6 from Box 2 and careered away from his rivals, defeating favourite Amron Dan ($3) by six lengths in easily the quickest qualifying performance.
It was Pocket Money’s 13th win from 29 starts.
WATCH: “Look at the time!” Queenslander POCKET MONEY (B2) was a near-record winner of a Group 1 Hume Cup heat (600m) at The Meadows on Monday night, clocking a scorching 33.976sec.
While Pocket Money has an imposing record from inside draws, he will exit Box 8 in Saturday’s $121,500 Hume Cup Final, one of three G1 events headlining the opening night of the $4.1 million Sportsbet Dream Chasers Festival.
Shipwreck, a litter brother to Pocket Money, capped off an unforgettable night for Ned Snow with a strong-finishing 30.07sec victory in race 10.
Another litter and kennel mate, Oh Oh Range, will contest the G1 Topgun Stayers (730m) on Saturday and was allocated Box 1 in Monday night’s box draw.
The best local Hume Cup heat performance came from Dookie Devil, trained by Glenn Dainton, which led all-the-way in heat four, clocking 34.25sec.
It was Dookie Devil’s eighth win from 19 starts and third from four 600m assignments at The Meadows.
Dainton, who also owns and bred Dookie Devil, will be hoping to celebrate his second Hume Cup victory, having won the race in 2018 with Black Impala, while he also trained 2013 runner-up Bookkeeper.
In other heat action, Tim Britton, son of champion trainer Robert, who won the 2016 Hume Cup with the great Fanta Bale, claimed a double courtesy of superbly bred duo Wheel And Go (34.48sec) and On The Off (34.73sec).
The other two heat winners were Aston Velvet, trained by Michelle Mallia, in 34.26sec, and Daniel Gibbons’ Xinmin Bale, a younger half-brother to 2020 Hume Cup runner-up Christo Bale, in 34.62sec.
HUME CUP HEAT WINNERS
(fastest to slowest)
- 33.98sec Pocket Money
- 34.25sec Dookie Devil
- 34.26sec Aston Velvet
- 34.48sec Wheel And Go
- 34.62sec Xinmin Bale
- 34.73sec On The Off
It was also a memorable night for Gibbons and wife Rebecca, as they celebrated their first Group victory on home soil, courtesy of Kelsey Bale’s barnstorming last-to-first success in the G3 Silver Bullet.
Kelsey Bale ($6.80) was unplaced at odds-on in the G3 Gawler Cup at her previous appearance, but that disappointment was erased as she finished over the top of favourite Amron Boy ($3.10) and kennelmate Titan Blazer ($5.10) in a scorching 29.56sec.
It was the daughter of Feral Franky’s 14th win from 41 starts and she has a distinct liking for The Meadows, winning five from seven over 525m.
The Silver Bullet has proven to be a great guide to the Melbourne Cup, with five of the last eight Silver Bullet winners going on to qualify for the Melbourne Cup Final, most notably, record-breaking 2020 Cup winner Hard Style Rico.
Other sprinters to have completed the Silver Bullet – Melbourne Cup double are Bombastic Shiraz (2003), Hallucinate (2004) and Shanlyn Prince (2007).
Photos by Clint Anderson
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