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Big Energy pictured with trainer Jackie Greenough after his potent Melbourne Cup heat demolition 📷 Clint Anderson

  • Sunday, 26 Nov, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

Greenough dreams ‘Big’!

Aptly named Big Energy went ‘zing’ with a performance of ‘dynamism’ in a heat of the $1.008m Group 1 Sportsbet Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park last night.

Trained by Jackie Greenough, Big Energy put oodles of ‘oomph’ into Night 3 of the $4.1m Dream Chasers Festival and he is the one to beat in this Saturday night’s $1m final.

In a display that mirrored his ‘gunslinging’ in last week’s four-dog G3 Shootout at SP, Big Energy ($1.40F) clocked a mind-boggling 28.912sec on a track not conducive to fast times given the inclement weather.

It’s the fifth fastest time ever over 515m on the hallowed Lightwood Road loam. Big Energy also holds the seventh fastest (28.930sec) and 15th fastest (28.984sec) times at SP.

WATCH: “Big Energy is motoring… He is the favourite for the final. He has bolted in again.” BIG ENERGY (B2) clocks a staggering 28.91sec in setting the Melbourne Cup heats time standard. It’s the fifth-fastest time ever over 515m at Sandown.

MELBOURNE CUP HEAT
WINNERS

(fastest to slowest)

  • Big Energy – 28.91sec
  • Tim Zoo – 29.07sec
  • Aussie Rocks – 29.40sec
  • Make No Promise – 29.41sec
  • Buddy Monelli – 29.44sec
  • Mac’s Damage – 29.58sec
  • Fabs Vegetable – 29.68sec
  • Idolize – 29.72sec

He’s now semaphored sub-29sec on three occasions there. Only one greyhound has bettered that – retired superstar Aston Rupee with four!

Big Energy, which was the $6 equal favourite in Sportsbet’s ‘All In’ market with Alpha Zulu, registered his 14th win from 28 starts. It was his ninth win from 15 starts at SP.

He will now contest his third G1 final in next week’s $650,000 to-the-winner Melbourne Cup final, having finished runner-up in the Adelaide Cup and fifth in the Topgun.

“He’s in serious form,” Jackie Greenough said. “Box draws make so much difference in dog racing. We’ll cross our fingers he can draw inside again next week.”

The Greenoughs rode the proverbial highs-and-lows rollercoaster on the night.

Their megastar – Australia’s sprint queen Wow She’s Fast – finished seventh in her heat. But they have adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach to the forthcoming $1.65m The Phoenix at The Meadows.

Wow She’s Fast ($2,391,995) – the world’s highest earning greyhound – won the first two editions of The Phoenix.

But whether the Greenoughs tackle a third tilt at the ‘slot’ race is a ‘million dollar question’.

Other Melbourne Cup heat highlights were:

  • Champion trainer Jason Thompson will eye a fifth Melbourne Cup after Tim Zoo ($9.50) – named after Aussie world champion boxer Tim Tszyu – proved somewhat the kennel surprise packet with a blistering 29.07sec victory.
    Tim Zoo, which was runner-up in the G3 Great Chase, recorded his eighth win from 16 starts.
    “It’s been one of those nights,” Thompson’s daughter and handler, Holly, said. “He did everything right this week. He’s a special dog now. It’s a pinch yourself moment. He was under the radar but now he’s made a mark.”
  • Make No Promise supplied Paul Bartolo with the chance to win the sport’s ‘Holy Grail’ for a second time, 17 years after claiming his first. Bartolo quinellaed the 2006 Melbourne Cup with litter sisters Betty’s Angel and Miss Mini Mouse.
    Make No Promise ($3.40EF) saluted in 29.41sec. It was his 15th win from 34 starts and he’s now eight from 12 over 515m at SP. He’s also unbeaten in three starts exiting the ‘red’ trap.
    “He loves it (Box 1). I thought he was a good show… It’s still a dream (the Melbourne Cup),” Bartolo said.

Tim Zoo with handler Holly Thompson after his ‘knockout’ 29.07sec Melbourne Cup heat win. 📷 Clint Anderson

Super mum Idolize, trained by Peter Presutto, continued her amazing comeback from whelping a litter by retired champion Shima Shine.
Idolize ($5.90) saluted in 29.72sec – the slowest heat time, but that was immaterial to the enormity of the win.
A G1 National Futurity winner and G1 Temlee runner-up – both last year – Idolize registered her 26th win from 55 starts and stretched her unbeaten record from the ‘white’ alley to six.
“She’s got a big heart,” Presutto said. “All you can do is win, and that’s what she did. She had about nine months off, and it took a lot of preparation. All credit to her, she does it herself.”

“Team Dailly” will chase a third Melbourne Cup courtesy of Fabs Vegetable ($17.00) which clocked 29.68sec.
Trained by Tom Dailly, Fabs Vegetable – which will make his Group final debut – snared his 14th win from 53 starts and fourth from nine at SP.
“He’s my main man,” Tom’s wife, Andrea, said. “I don’t know what to say, I’m sorry. He’s an absolute champion, he really is.”

Meanwhile, four heats of the G1 Sportsbet Bold Trease (715m) – named in honour of the “Warrnambool Warrior”, a four-time Sandown Cup winner (1986-89) – were also conducted on a ‘dream’ night of racing.

Reigning Victorian Stayer of the Year Moraine Suzie – a finalist in last year’s Bold Trease – ‘came from the clouds’ to post the quickest qualifying time for next week’s $105,000 to-the-winner final.

Prepared by Brendan Pursell, Moraine Suzie ($2.80F) overhauled NSW staying sweetheart Ritza Piper ($4.10) by 1.3L in 41.69sec.

Moraine Suzie notched her 17th win from 54 starts and she’s now five from eight over the staying trip at SP.

Moraine Suzie with handler Jason Ireland after her powerhouse Bold Trease heat victory. 📷 Clint Anderson

It was also redemption for Moraine Suzie after finishing second to Ritza Piper in the G1 Topgun Stayers. Incidentally, she won last year’s Topgun Stayers.

Queensland ‘distance diva’ Valpolicella, trained by Tony Zammit, was the next fastest heat winner.

Valpolicella ($3.90) led throughout and had enough in hand (2.5L) in withstanding the barnstorming finish of Zoha Bale ($2.10F) in 41.71sec. It was her 16th win from 31 starts.

Other heat winners were: Mrs. Avenger ($39.80)  – 41.76sec; Get Ready Dora ($11.20) – 42.08sec. NB. Untapped, which finished second to Mrs. Avenger, has also qualified for consecutive Bold Trease finals.

The Bold Trease Final will also be held on Saturday night.

📷 Clint Anderson

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

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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