Sophie and Holly Thompson with Tim Zoo after his Australian Cup KO 📸 Clint Anderson

  • Sunday, 25 Feb, 2024,
  • by Peter Quilty

Tim Zoo delivers Australian Cup KO!

Champion trainer Jason Thompson has climbed virtually every mountain in greyhound racing.

But he finally reached his ‘Everest’ in the sport when Tim Zoo – named after Aussie boxing world champion, Tim Tszyu – scored a KO in the $450,000 Group 1 Sportsbet Australian Cup final (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Incredibly, Thompson – who has won practically every ‘major’ you could name – snared the ‘Cup of Dreams’ after having 25 finalists in the past two decades.

“This is one of the few races that dad hasn’t won, and this dog is just unbelievable.”

Since 2004, Thompson has had the following Australian Cup placegetters –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).

Occupying the coveted ‘red’ alley (Box 1), Tim Zoo ($4.20) defeated a gallant Schillaci ($10.20) by 1.47L, with Launch Code ($23.40) a further 0.33L away third in a slick 29.71sec. Thompson’s other finalist, Alpha Zulu ($7.00), finished fourth – 4.57L off his kennelmate.

Tim Zoo entered the race as the second favourite behind Morton ($2.60).

And while many thought Tim Zoo had to lead to win, it was the Phoenix winner Schillaci who found the early lead and set the pace for most of the journey.

However, Tim Zoo found another gear in the run home, swooping around the outside of Schillaci to get the ‘points decision’.

Tim Zoo with his ‘fan club’ after the Australian Cup 📸 Clint Anderson

Tim Zoo (Oct ’21 Aussie Infrared x Double Supreme) – owned by the Derek syndicate managed by Thompson’s daughter, Holly – notched his 15th win from 28 starts. The $300,000 winner’s purse spiralled his stakes to $457,265.

He has also won this year’s G2 Warragul Cup and was a finalist in last year’s G1 Melbourne Cup (6th) and G3 Great Chase (2nd) – won by his kennelmate, Explicit.

Tim Zoo was handled by Thompson’s daughter Holly, who struggled to hold back her emotions after the win.

WATCH: “Oh, he’s good.” TIM ZOO (B1) ‘floors’ his rivals in the Australian Cup.

“This is one of the few races that dad hasn’t won, and this dog is just unbelievable,” Holly said.

“As soon as we got him, I remember after a few trials dad came home and said we’ve got a pretty good one here.

“There’s a lot of people that have shares in this dog including a lot of our family.

NSW staying monarch Palawa King following the Fanta Bale Stayers  📸 Clint Anderson

“I’m just lost for words. It’s the best feeling.”

Two other G1s were staged on a riveting climax to the three-week Sportsbet Australian Cup Carnival with interstate stars toppling the local ‘great white hopes’.

NSW staying supremo Palawa King – crowned NSW GOTY on Thursday night –collected his fourth G1 trophy and a $100,000 first prize in the $152,500 Sportsbet Fanta Bale Stayers (730m).

WATCH: “He’s the king… Palawa King from nowhere.” PALAWA KING (B5) reigns supreme with an amazing last-to-first display in the Fanta Bale Stayers.

Trained by Ray “Jack” Smith, Palawa King ($2.90EF) – in his typical, and exciting, last-to-first style – defeated Drill Sergeant ($7.60) by 0.96L, with Misty Black ($21.40) a further 0.13L away third in 42.71sec. (Both placegetters are trained by Shane Drummond.)

And Tasmanian star Raider’s Guide ($7.60) – prepared by Gary Fahey – scored a runaway 7.4L victory over NSW middle distance star Father Rick ($10.40) in the $113,500 Sportsbet Rookie Rebel Invitational (600m). He clocked a very smart 34.17sec.

His Tassie compatriot Fast Minardi ($4.30) finished third – 7.79L from the winner.

Tassie raider Raider’s Guide after the Rookie Rebel 📸 Clint Anderson

Raider’s Guide took a $75,000 winner’s cheque back home across Bass Strait.

Other big-race winners on the night were: $42,875 G3 Country Championship (525m) – Gunai Bold ($4.60) in 29.92sec; $29,150 Australian Cup Consolation (525m) – Ike Bale ($8.80) in 29.81sec; $21,150 GRV VicBred Maiden Series (525m) – Warm Cockles ($6.80) in 29.94sec.

WATCH: “Raider’s Guide smashes them.” Tasmanian RAIDER’S GUIDE (B8) is the ‘Apple of the Isle’ in the Rookie Rebel.

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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