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A triumphant Geoff Mitchell holds the Melbourne Cup aloft 📷 Clint Anderson

  • Tuesday, 05 Dec, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Cup hero won’t ‘rock’ Hobart

Melbourne Cup winner Aussie Rocks won’t be taking aim at back-to-back Group 1 titles in Thursday night’s heats of the Hobart Thousand (461m).

Still-celebrating trainer Geoff Mitchell said on Tuesday morning that Aussie Rocks will be scratched from the third of six heats of the Thousand.

The son of Aussie Infrared and Amlin Jewel had drawn box four in a red-hot run-off stacked with six Victorians, headlined by $2.90 favourite Unleash Collinda (box 1) and another Melbourne Cup night winner in Crackerjack Bull (box 6), which won the G3 Cup Night Sprint in a flying Best Of Night 29.07sec.

“He’s pulled up a bit sore in a hip support and it’s only a five-day turnaround until Thursday,” Geoff Mitchell explained.

“He’s pulled up a bit sore in a hip support and it’s only a five-day turnaround until Thursday.”

“The dog did his thing on Saturday night, so there’s no need to push him.

“He’ll have a week or ten days off. I’d like to run him in the (Challenger) Match Race at The Meadows on Phoenix night.

“He’d be a great drawcard for the night – I reckon everyone would love to see him go around – but I don’t know whether they would give him an exemption after I’ve scratched him from Hobart.”

Mitchell said he’s still coming to terms with the enormity of Aussie Rocks’ pulsating Melbourne Cup triumph, where he produced an electrifying finishing burst to edge out favourite Big Energy in 29.55sec.

It was one of the great finishes in Melbourne Cup history, reminiscent of Dyna Double One’s upset of champion kennelmate Fernando Bale in 2015.

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“Not yet!,” was Mitchell’s reply when asked if Melbourne Cup glory had sunk in.

“It’s just an unbelievable feeling. I didn’t think I’d won and when they told me he had I thought you’re joking!

“He’s a good dog. I hope he’s not underrated any more.

“He did it from go to whoa too. He ran 5.05sec to the first mark to put himself in the race and then he came home strong. He did what he always does, he stuck to the rail.”

Despite the absence of Aussie Rocks, and kennelmate Breeze Breaker, an imposing Victorian contingent is heading to Hobart for the heats of Australia’s oldest Group 1 event.

WATCH: Hobart Thousand contender CRACKERJACK BULL (B4) was a runaway winner of the G3 Cup Night Sprint on Melbourne Cup night, clocking a BON 29.065sec.

Shima Shadow (heat 5, box 4), trained by Tom Dailly, is $7.50 favourite in Sportsbet’s ‘All In’ market.

Unleash Collinda (heat 3, box 1) shares the second line of betting at $8 for Jason Thompson, who has won two of the last four Thousands courtesy of Hooked On Scotch (2019) and Aussie Secret (2021).

David Geall was victorious with veteran Fernando Mick last year and is taking aim at back-to-back titles with Starline Express (heat 4, box 7) and Fire Hose (heat 6, box 2).

Shima Shadow is Sportsbet’s ‘All In’ G1 Hobart Thousand favourite 📷 Clint Anderson

Victorian-trained Hobart Thousand heat contenders with Sportsbet prices:

Heat 1
Dundee Rebel (box 2 – $4.20)

Heat 2
Crackerjack Aret (box 6 – $4.40)

Heat 3
Unleash Collinda (box 1 – $2.90F)
That’s Ivy’s (box 2 – $10)
Dundee Smokey (box 3 – $7.50)
Crackerjack Bull (box 6 – $3.80)
Piscopo Bale (box 8 – $19)

Heat 4

Zella Bale (box 4 – $4.40)
Starline Express (box 7 – $4.40)

Heat 5
Shima Shadow (box 4 – $2.05F)

Heat 6
Fire Hose (box 2 – $4.40)
Got Attitude (box 3 – $4.50)

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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