• Tuesday, 29 Aug, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Afire to shine again in Megastar

After proving his ‘star’ quality in the Speed Star match race series at Sandown Park, Afire is set to burn brightly again when he heads to Dapto for Thursday night’s heats of the Group 1 Megastar (520m).

Jason Sharp will have his first ever runner at Dapto when Afire leads Victoria’s Megastar charge, which also includes Jason Thompson’s duo Stealth and Umberto and resurgent veteran Zippy Tesla.

Afire has drawn box eight in the third of four Megastar heats (race 7, 9.10pm), where he sits atop Sportsbet’s market at $2.05.

Afire continued his unlikely rise to ‘stardom’ last Wednesday when upstaging more high profile rivals in the 515m Speed Star, where his 29.24sec match race victory earned him overall series honours and $15,000 prizemoney.

“If you said he was going to run 29.24sec at Sandown when we got him, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

The February ’21 son of Bernardo and Eau Rouge has gone from strength to strength in 12 runs for the Sharp kennel and owner Ed Burrett, winning four times and proving more than competitive against the best sprinters in Victoria.

“I thought he could win his Speed Star heat, but I wasn’t expecting him to win the whole thing,” Jason Sharp said.

“He did have a bit of luck. In the last heat, they (Transponder and Big Energy) were drawn upside down. They brushed each other a couple of times and that was the difference. If they had been drawn the other way around it probably would’ve been a different result.

“But if you said he was going to run 29.24sec at Sandown when we got him, I wouldn’t have believed you. We weren’t expecting anything like this.

WATCH: AFIRE (B6) led all-the-way in a BON 29.24sec at Sandown on July 27, defeating G1 National Sprint placegetters AUSSIE ROCKS (B5) and TINKER NORM (B8).

“When we first got him we gave him a couple of spins around The Meadows because he hadn’t been there, and he went alright. But when he went 29.85sec there at his first start for us, we went ‘What’s this!’

“In that race, Aussie Rocks (G1 National Sprint runner-up) was $1.50 favourite, but Afire went straight past him.”

The winner of nine of his 28 starts, Afire will make his first interstate appearance in Thursday’s Megastar heats, while Sharp will also be entering uncharted territory at the iconic NSW circuit.

“I’ve never raced at Dapto before; they tell me it’s pretty narrow,” Sharp said.

“If you run top three in the final at Dapto, you qualify for the semi-finals of the Million Dollar Chase, so we decided to go there.

“They’ve given the Victorians the visitor’s boxes, but I don’t mind Afire drawing out, especially when he hasn’t had a look.


“He does handle wide draws and I think the six (Remember This) and seven (Matter Of Fact) will carve across and hopefully they’ll bring him over. He’s no slouch either.

“I don’t think the travelling will worry him – not a lot bothers him. It just depends on if he handles the boxes.”

Four Victorians will line up in the Megastar heats.

Jason Thompson has two contenders; Umberto (heat 2, box 8 – $2.45F) and Stealth (heat 4, box 5 – $6.50), which will both be advantaged around Dapto by their early speed.

The Dailly kennel has sent 2022 G1 Silver Chief winner Zippy Tesla (heat 4, box 7 – $7) to astute NSW trainer Shayne Stiff for the Megastar after the recently-turned four-year-old claimed back-to-back wins at The Meadows on Saturday.

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

Gerard Guthrie

One of Australia’s leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)

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