An ‘airborne’ Big Energy pictured trialling at Angle Park 📷 Kurt Donsberg

  • Tuesday, 19 Sep, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

‘Energy’ boost for SA Challenge

Can a Victorian sprinter break Angle Park’s 530m track record for what would be an incredible third straight year in Thursday night’s Match Race Challenge?

Aston Rupee won the 2021 Challenge, the first held over 530m, in a then course record 29.95sec, which was broken by Wow She’s Fast in last year’s event, clocking 29.86sec.

This year’s SA vs Allstars series features three Vics – Transponder, Big Energy and Schillaci, which was only two lengths outside Wow She’s Fast’s benchmark when winning the Group 3 SA Derby in 30.00sec last Thursday.

Afire, winner of the Speed Star match race series over 515m at Sandown last month, is a reserve.

The major carrot for the overall winner on times is direct entry into the $100,000 to-the-winner G1 Adelaide Cup Final on Friday, October 6, bypassing the heats.

“I think Schillaci is probably the dog to beat. His run last week was enormous.”

While Wow She’s Fast won’t be back in Adelaide this year, Kel and Jackie Greenough are taking aim at back-to-back Challenge victories with powerhouse Big Energy, which trialled at Angle Park in 30.42sec last Thursday.

“It was a big trip for him with the long drive. He’d never had anything like that before,” Kel Greenough said.

“Every time we stopped he thought he was racing.

“It’s just something you’ve got to do. I think Angle Park is a bit trickier than most people give it credit for. There’s nothing wrong with the track, it’s the silent lure.

“Wow She’s Fast always trials quick, and she went 30.19sec, which I thought was a bit ordinary by her standards, but then she got down to 29.86sec.

“Look at Schillaci. He trialled 30.50sec and then jumped out of the ground.”

There’s absolutely no doubt about Big Energy’s ability to ‘rock the clock’.

The son of Aussie Infrared is a member of Sandown’s very exclusive sub-29 seconds club, courtesy of an airborne 28.93sec (defeating Transponder) in the Launching Pad Runway Final in April.

The former WA speedster has also posted 29.60sec at The Meadows.

Big Energy (B3) will take on local Dash Of Blue (B1) in the last of Thursday night’s four match races (7.57pm).

Dash Of Blue has won his past three starts over 595m at Angle Park and has a 530m PB of 30.56sec.

The other matches featuring the Victorians are Transponder (B1) vs Could Be King (B3) at 7.25pm and Finniss Jewel (B1) vs Schillaci (B3) at 7.49pm.

WATCH: Victorian visitor BIG ENERGY trialled at Angle Park last week in preparation for Thursday night’s Match Race Challenge.

“I really don’t think he’s the sort of dog to do that,” Greenough said about Big Energy’s prospects of breaking his illustrious kennelmate’s record.

“He’s a dog that needs to be comfortable in his surroundings.

“He wouldn’t want to do anything wrong. My confidence is never sky high.

“You would think the Victorian dogs would be better than the South Australians and I think Schillaci is probably the dog to beat. His run last week was enormous.”

Winning the Match Race Challenge didn’t translate into Adelaide Cup glory for either Aston Rupee (4th) or Wow She’s Fast (8th).

However, Jason Thompson, trainer of Transponder, won the 2019 Challenge over the previous 515m distance with Hooked On Scotch, which went on to claim an unforgettable Adelaide Cup victory over Whiskey Riot.

Boom Victorian Schillaci was a near-record winner of the G3 SA Derby 📷 Kurt Donsberg

On Friday night, Greenough’s feature race focus will shift to Warragul for the G3 St. Leger Final (460m) with exciting Tasmanian Ducati Roy (box 5).

Winner of seven from nine in the Apple Isle, Ducati Roy ($7.80) showed brilliant acceleration in his heat after missing the start badly to hit the front, before being claimed late by $1.80 favourite Alpha Zulu in 25.81sec.

“He probably surprised me a little bit,” Greenough said.

“He showed a good turn of speed and if he begins better he’d be a faint hope of running a place.”

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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