“If he pings he just leads. He ran 5 ‘dead’ from ‘the pink’ at his first start at Sandown (Cranbourne Cup heat) and he’d never been there before.
“If he gets the start right from box three, he can break five seconds and nothing else in this race can run that.
“He missed it in the Topgun and went 5.15sec. In his previous two wins there he went 4.95sec and 5.05sec. I wouldn’t expect him to miss it two weeks in a row. His form tells you he doesn’t do that.
“He ran 29.15sec at Sandown without a trial, so if he runs that again and gets beaten, then he’s not good enough.
“People have got to realise he’s still very young, this dog. He only turned two in September – he’s 26 months old – so I’d like to think he’s still got a bit of petrol in the tank!”
Transponder turned the G1 Topgun into a one-act affair 📷 Clint Anderson
With four Shootout trophies on the Thompson mantelpiece, the Pearcedale powerhouse understands better than anyone the unique nature of the half-field feature and what’s required to win it.
Thompson says it’s no surprise at all that nine of the last 11 Shootout winners have led at the winning post the first time, with his former freakish talent Hooked On Scotch and last year’s winner Wow She’s Fast the exceptions.
“I think it’s the greatest misconception of all time that it (Shootout) suits strong dogs,” he said.
“You want to be on the leader.
“If Alpha Zulu or Transponder are running 29.10sec or 29.15sec in front, for something to sit on them and get past them, it’ll take a sub-29sec run.”
Thompson also has the second reserve for the Shootout in Flying Zulu, a litter brother to Alpha Zulu that’s won six of his seven starts, most recently posting a scintillating 29.02sec at Sandown.