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‘Sibling rivalry’ in Shepparton Cup series

Champion trainer David Geall is on an ultimate mission for a second Group 2 Shepparton Cup in three years.

Geall won the 2021 edition with the flying Ferdinand Boy, which finished sixth in 2022.

This year, dual G1 winner Fernando Mick flies the flag for Geall. He won last year’s Hobart Thousand, followed by this year’s Australian Cup – at his 101st start!

Fernando Mick – also runner-up in the 2022 G1 Melbourne Cup and 2021 G1 Maturity Classic – is Sportsbet’s $6.50 ‘All In’ equal favourite, along with Unleash Collinda, for the Shepparton Cup (450m).

And he’s the $2.60 favourite in Heat 4, where he’ll exit from Box 5, on Monday night.

Ironically, Geall could face some ‘friendly fire’ from his brother, Jeff, who has last start G2 Horsham Cup winner Jungle Panther in the series.

Jungle Panther is $12 in nominal betting and $4.60 in Heat 1, and will also jump from Box 5. Unleash Collinda (Box 1) is $2.60 favourite.

Matt’s Hope (Box 1) is $2.80 favourite in Heat 2, while Titan Blazer (Box 8) is $2.20 favourite in Heat 3. Both are $7 in the Shepparton Cup ‘Futures’ market.


Below is a summary of the heats:

Heat 1 (Race 5 – 8.20pm)                      

Dual Healesville track record holder Unleash Collinda (21 from 31), a winner of his past six starts including last week’s inaugural Emerald, looks the testing material. However, Jungle Panther (26 from 63) – which has won two from five here, including a 24.99sec PB – should ‘stalk’ him all the way. And don’t dismiss Lektra Heckler (Box 4), 16 from 38, which has also won his past six starts. He’s unbeaten from two starts here and boasts a 24.95sec PB.

Heat 2 (Race 6 – 8.42pm)           

Early markets suggest it’s a race between Matt’s Hope (30 from 64) and Salad Dodger (Box 2), 15 from 40. Matt’s Hope, which finished third in the Horsham Cup, is four from six here with a 24.99sec PB. Salad Dodger (2022 G2 Bendigo Cup runner-up) recently established a new 457m track record triumphing over She’s A Pearl in a Temora Cup heat prior to finishing second to the NSW superstar in the final. Paddy Wants Pats (Box 4), 19 from 54, also enters calculations. Last year, he was runner-up in the Australian Cup and a finalist in the Melbourne Cup.


Heat 3 (Race 7 – 9.04pm)           

This looms as a battle royal between four-time G1 finalist Titan Blazer (23 from 36) and Always A Thrill (Box 1), nine from 34, which finished fifth in the Temora Cup and is the $2.90 second elect. Titan Blazer was third in the 2022 G1 Silver Chief and a finalist in last year’s Australian Cup and Melbourne Cup. Next in betting is Zella Bale (Box 7) at $8.

Heat 4 (Race 8 – 9.29pm)           

Fernando Mick (35 from 102) will take a power of beating. He’s contested four G1 finals, winning two, from his past 13 starts and had no luck in a Perth Cup heat last week. However, Fire Hose (Box 1), nine from 23, will be out to ‘extinguish’ him. He’s four from five exiting the ‘red’ trap and finished fourth in the Temora Cup. Last year, he was a Listed Pink Diamond Rookie Sprinter finalist.

WATCH: FERNANDO MICK (B6) claims his second G1 title with a brilliant all-the-way success in the Australian Cup.

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About Peter Quilty - Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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