FLYING ZULU semaphores a near-record 24.63sec in Monday night’s Shepparton Cup heats. 📷 Clint Anderson

  • Tuesday, 19 Mar, 2024,
  • by Peter Quilty

Thompson: ‘Cups King’

Jason Thompson’s virtual dominance on the country cups scene this year is set to runneth over in the $83,000 Group 2 CKH Painting Shepparton Cup final (450m) on Saturday night.

Thompson – considered the ‘Bart Cummings of greyhound racing’ – will launch a triple challenge for the $55,000 first prize.

He won three of the five Shepparton Cup heats on Monday night – including the two fastest qualifiers, Flying Zulu ($3.90 – 24.63sec) and Explicit ($1.60F – 24.70sec), and Got Attitude ($2.90F – 25.04sec).

Explicit with handler Luke Thompson after his sizzling 24.70 sec Shepparton Cup heat success. 📷 Clint Anderson

Flying Zulu was only 0.04sec (around three-quarters of a length) off the 24.59sec track record set by Rejuvenate in the 2023 Shepparton Classic.

It was an amazing return to racing for Flying Zulu, who has won seven races from only 10 starts, as he hadn’t started since finishing eighth in a heat of last year’s G1 Melbourne Cup on November 25.

Flying Zulu is now undefeated in four starts over 450m at Shepparton.

WATCH: “Flying Zulu is flying… What a return!” FLYING ZULU (B6) clocks a near-record Shepparton Cup heat victory.

Meanwhile, Tom Dailly has a two-pronged threat in the final with heat winners Smooth Plane ($3.60 – 24.73sec) and Shima Shadow ($1.70F – 24.87sec).

But Thompson fared much better from the box draw – Explicit (B1), Got Attitude (B2), Shima Shadow (B5), Smooth Plane (B6) and Flying Zulu (B8).

Fernando Phil (B7) – prepared by Michelle Mallia – will chase his second country cup success in 15 days. He qualified for the Shepparton Cup, with an overall heat time of 24.85sec, when second (beaten 1.7L) to Smooth Plane.

Smooth Plane following his slick 24.73sec Shepparton Cup heat victory. 📷 Clint Anderson

The other finalists are West On Strobe (B3), who clocked 25.04sec when second to Explicit, and Here Comes Artie (B4), who registered 24.87sec, when beaten a ‘lip’ by Shima Shadow.

Thompson’s G2 country cups juggernaut this year commenced with the Warragul Cup (January 12)Tim Zoo (1st), Alpha Zulu (3rd), Transponder (7th) and Got Attitude (8th).

Then followed: Traralgon Cup (January 26)Unleash Collinda (1st) and Got Attitude (3rd); and Horsham Cup (March 8) – Explicit (2nd) and Verdi (7th).

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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