KEY PLAYERS: Tim Zoo, left, with Holly Thompson, and Morton, right, with Jessica and Jason Sharp 📷 Clint Anderson

  • Tuesday, 20 Feb, 2024,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘Yellow Peril’ for Morton in Australian Cup?

The Australian Cup, Fanta Bale Stayers and Rookie Rebel box draws have been conducted and now the stage is set for a thrilling climax to the 2024 Sportsbet Australian Cup Carnival at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Greyhound-of-the-moment Morton, trained by Jason Sharp, has looked the leading player for the Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) since his scintillating 29.53sec (Best) semi-final success.

And his name is still up in ‘neon lights’, despite drawing awkwardly in Box 5 for the $300,000 to-the-winner final. He drifted ever so slightly from a $2.60 pre-box draw quote to still hold favouritism at $2.70 on Sportsbet’s fixed odds betting.

Morton is a son of the 2021 Australian Cup winner – WA wunderkind Tommy Shelby.

However, Jason Thompson has enhanced claims for his ‘maiden’ Australian Cup trophy following Tim Zoo drawing the coveted ‘red’ alley (Box 1). Tim Zoo firmed significantly from $5.50 into $3.50 second elect.

Thompson’s other finalist, Alpha Zulu, slid from $3.80 to be on the third line of betting at $4.60 after being allocated Box 6.

Incredibly, since 2004, Thompson has had 25 Australian Cup finalists – including runners-up Monsters Inc (2004), El Galo (2008 & 2009), El Brooklyn (2013) and Black Frenzy (2016). He’s also finished third with Oxley Tiger (2005) and Aeroplane Bob (2017).

In 2019, Thompson’s wife Seona prepared Black Opium (2nd) and Deliver (3rd).

$1m The Phoenix hero Schillaci, trained by Jihad Talgi, tightened from $15 into $11 after drawing Box 2.

Meanwhile, NSW staying supremo Palawa King (Box 5) retained $2.20 favouritism for the $100,000 to-the-winner G1 Sportsbet Fanta Bale Stayers final (730m).

Zulu Blast moved out slightly, from $2.70 to $3.20, after drawing Box 6.

And ‘middle distance magician’ Hector Fawley lost favouritism for the $75,000 to-the-winner G1 Sportsbet Rookie Rebel (600m) after coming up with Box 5. He drifted from $3.50 to be on the third line of betting at $3.90.

The new favourite is Tasmanian Fast Minardi, who firmed from $5.50 into $3.40 after drawing Box 1.

Cain Bale also tightened from $4.20 into $3.80 second elect after drawing Box 2.

Pawnote: Box 1 has produced five Australian Cup winners during the past two decades – a period in which no finalist has won from box three.

 Eight favourites have won the ‘Cup of Dreams’ in the past 20 years. The shortest-priced and longest-priced winners during this period are Dyna Double One ($2.20) in 2016 and SA star Miss Spicy ($28.80) in 2006.

 The race record (29.53sec) is held by Hecton Bale (2018).

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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