Little River greyhound training stalwart Paul Bartolo has fond memories of his incredible 2006 Group 1 Melbourne Cup quinella with litter sisters Betty’s Angel and Miss Mini Mouse.
“My heart starts beating faster every time I think about it,” he said. “It’s just a feeling that’s still difficult to describe – it always seems so surreal.”
Betty’s Angel (20 from 43) went on to claim the 2006 Victorian GOTY-Australian GOTY double. She was a six-time G1 finalist – also claiming the 2006 Sapphire Crown Classic and 2007 Perth Cup – and also finished third in the 2007 Paws Of Thunder and fourth in the 2007 Adelaide Cup.
Miss Mini Mouse (17 from 48) won the 2006 SA Oaks and was also a finalist in the 2007 G1 Melbourne Cup and 2007 G1 Adelaide Cup.
Roll on 17 years and Bartolo is hoping for another litter quinella – albeit not in the same realm of ‘Betty Blockbuster’ and ‘Mighty Mouse’ – with Magic Muffin (Box 3) and Make No Promise (Box 8) in the $17,835 Illusion Fires GOTBA Cup final (525m) – Race 7, 8.50pm – at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Bartolo snared $193,000 courtesy of Betty’s Angel ($150,000) and Miss Mini Mouse ($43,000) in that magical moment in 2006.
There won’t be such high stakes at MGRA headquarters on the weekend – first ($12,000) and second ($3335) – for the GOTBA Cup.
However, Bartolo draws some parallels between the Nov ’04 daughters of Brett Lee x Leprechaun Yap, and the Jan ’21 siblings of Fernando Bale x Veloso – both descendants of immortal AGRA Hall of Fame member, Paua To Burn.
“I think Make No Promise and Magic Muffin have a little bit more natural ability at the respective stages of their careers.
“But when you took Betty’s Angel to the races, she wanted to be there. She’d ‘run’ into the boxes. And both her and Miss Mini Mouse had more early speed.”
Somewhat surprisingly, given their heat wins, Bartolo considers Magic Muffin his best chance in the final – albeit he lodged a disclaimer on the huge capabilities of Make No Promise.
“She’s a nervy type and has been missing the kick lately, but she’s got loads of ability.
“I don’t think they’ll catch her if she begins, while Make No Promise may get into a bit of trouble from the ‘pink’ trap.
“However, when they trial, he’s always quicker by around two lengths. He’s steady early but is explosive once he ‘hits the ground’.
“He’s special; I’ve never had a dog with such a relaxed temperament.
Bartolo’s duo stifle Sportsbet’s fixed odds market – Make No Promise ($2.50F) and Magic Muffin ($2.80).
Make No Promise (nine from 16) was the fastest heat winner in 29.67sec, while Magic Muffin (seven from 15) was the second quickest qualifier in 29.88sec – around 3.5L slower than her litter brother.
Winner of last month’s Launching Pad Consolation and Gary Brett Memorial Match Race, Make No Promise has won eight of his past 11 outings.
Magic Muffin – a Launching Pad Runway finalist – has won four of her past seven races.
WATCH: Rising star MAKE NO PROMISE (B3) was full of promise with a flying 29.67sec (Best) GOTBA Cup heat victory.
Bartolo also has their litter sister, Never Be Alone, engaged on the GOTBA SupaNite extravaganza.
Never Be Alone (Box 8) lines up in the $11,235 GOTBA Plate final (525m) – Race 6, 8.26pm – and is marked $4.20 on Sportsbet.
A winner of two races (with nine seconds and three thirds) from 20 starts, Never Be Alone is chasing a $7300 first prize.
“I think she’s going to have to work too hard early to get across,” Bartolo said. “She could possibly weaken over the latter stages.”