The $1.2Mil Australian Cup Carnival began on Saturday night with three Group 1 invitationals run over three different distances at The Meadows.
Space Star (pictured) made it three group wins from his past four starts to confirm his status as the country’s number one stayer.
His time of 42.059sec came within half a length of the 725m track record (42.030sec), which belongs to Nellie Noodles, who like Space Star was trained by Robert Britton and hails from the famous Ivers bloodline, which is renowned for producing top stayers.
“He’s full of confidence at the moment,” Britton said of Space Star.
“Nellie Noodles is the most freakishly talented stayer I have ever seen, so to get within half a length of her track record outlines what a brilliant run he produced tonight.”
“He’ll be up against many of the same dogs in the (Group 1) Superstayers heats (at The Meadows) next week so he should be tough to beat again.”
It was a great night for the Britton family as Rob’s brother Jeff is the trainer of Rookie Rebel winner, Cosmic Wise.
Cosmic Wise’s breeder and owner Justin Wright flew to Melbourne from his home state of WA for the race.
“She has made the finals of the Adelaide Cup (5th), the Healesville Cup (3rd), the Melbourne Cup (5th) as well as a Perth Cup Consolation (8th), so she deserves a big win like this.”
Cosmic Wise worked hard to run down dual group winner Lamia Bale to win the Rookie Rebel, and she got up at odds of $26.50.
While Space Star and Cosmic Wise each collected a $75,000 first prize, the biggest windfall came the way of My Bro Fabio, who jagged $100,000 in the Temlee.
It was the third Group 1 win for the Brooke Ennis-trained greyhound.
“He’s a superstar,” quipped Brooke’s husband Jamie after the win.
“We are getting about five calls a week from breeders wanting to use him, but he won’t be performing any stud duties until he retires.”
“He will contest the Australian Cup then the Golden Easter Egg, and then he’ll be going to stud.”
Heats of the Group 1 Australian Cup (525m) and Group 1 Superstayers (725m) will be conducted next weekend in the second of three consecutive Saturday nights of racing incorporating the Australian Cup Carnival.