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  • Wednesday, 20 Dec, 2023,
  • by Andrew Copley

Trainers have their say on new-look Australian Cup format for 2024

The Australian Cup Carnival will be revamped in 2024, designed to give every greyhound more opportunity throughout the Carnival.

Up to eight heats of the Australian Cup (525m) will be run on opening night (Feb 10), the same night the club hosts its sprint invitational, the Group 1 Temlee, also over 525m.

Night two will see four Australian Cup semis – with the 32 competing greyhounds being the eight Temlee runners plus the first three placegetters in each of the eight Cup heats.

Night three will feature the Australian Cup Final, to be made up of the first and second placegetters in the four semis, removing the must-win-to-get-in scenario that has existed on Night 2 during the modern era.

GRV’s Peter Quilty spoke to leading trainers Lisa Delbridge and Anthony Azzopardi, who both welcomed the changes to the Australian Cup format.

“It’s a great idea… I think it’s too cut-throat otherwise,” Delbridge said of the change to the Australian Cup.

Azzopardi, who won the 2020 Australian Cup with Fernando’s Riot, agreed.

“I reckon it’s good,” he said. “At the end of the day, it gives the top dogs more of a show. I think it makes the Australian Cup a better series; it’s the way to go.”

In another change, the Group 1 Rookie Rebel (600m) invitational will be moved from Night 1 to Cup night (Night 3), with both trainers endorsing the switch.

“It’s great for the connections of middle distance dogs who want to compete in the Australian Cup because, if they’re eliminated from the series, they can still contest the Rookie Rebel,” Azzopardi said.

Delbridge, who with husband Mark has won the Rookie Rebel on three occasions with Flash Of Light (2010), Dyna Dean (2018) and Jarick Bale (2022), also welcomed the switch.

“Fantastic… We’ve got two chances to get into the Australian Cup but can still compete in the Rookie Rebel if we get knocked out of the Cup series,” Delbridge said.

Another notable change announced was that the carnival’s GRV Vic Bred Maiden series (525m) will be lowered from Group 3 status to a Listed event.

2024 AUSTRALIAN CUP SERIES
MAIN FEATURES

NIGHT 1 – SAT FEB 10

  • Group 1 Temlee (525m) – invitational
  • Group 1 Zoom Top (725m) – invitational
  • Group 1 Australian Cup Heats (525m) x 8 maximum

NIGHT 2 – SAT FEB 17

  • Group 1 Australian Cup Semi-Finals (525m) – x 4
  • Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers Heats (725m) – x 4
  • Super VicGreys Maiden Semi-Finals (525m)

NIGHT 3 – SAT FEB 24

  • Group 1 Australian Cup Final (525m)
  • Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers Final (725m)
  • Group 1 Rookie Rebel (600m) – invitational
  • Group 3 Country Championship final (525m)
  • Australian Cup Consolation (525m)
  • Super VicGreys Maiden Final (525m)
Andrew CopleyAndrew Copley

Andrew Copley

Communications Manager at Greyhound Racing Victoria with 25 years’ experience as a reporter with National Greyhound Form newspaper and GRV. Former Watchdog form analyst. Adopter of celebrity greyhound, Fred Basset. Victorian Greyhound of the Year and Victorian greyhound racing Hall of Fame panel member.

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