The fields and box draws for the Group 1 Temlee (525m), Rookie Rebel (600m) and Zoom Top (725m) have been finalised, setting up a huge night of racing to launch this year’s $1.3 million Australian Cup Carnival.
The three invitational races – to be run on February 17 – sees 24 finalists with a combined prizemoney total of over $5.16 million, including an amazing $2.41 million among the eight Temlee finalists, again highlighting the outstanding quality ready to clash next Saturday night.
Champion female chaser Fanta Bale will start as favourite to become the first chaser in history to the win Rookie Rebel (2017) – Zoom Top (2018) double, aiming for the eighth Group 1 win of her fairytale career. The daughter of David Bale and Ucme Typhoon has already amassed $1.18 million in prizemoney. Victory on Saturday night would edge her closer to Fernando Bale’s Australian prizemoney record of $1.299 million.
The Robert Britton-trained chaser will take on the likes of kennelmate and boom young stayer Rippin’ Sam, a greyhound with the second fastest time in a Handicap race over the half-mile trip at The Meadows. Queensland will be represented by two chasers, including three-time track record holder Champagne Sally and last start Group 3 Chairman’s Cup winner Jalapeno.
Lovely Banks trainer Brett Bravo goes into the Group 1 Zoom Top with a two-pronged attack thanks to brothers Packey Keeping and Scott Keeping – the latter defeating Fanta Bale in the Group 3 Summer Plate at Wentworth Park back in December.
Melbourne Cup hero Aston Dee Bee returns to The Meadows for the first time since running second to Up Hill Jill in last year’s TOPGUN. The son of Barcia Bale has since climbed to fifth on the all-time prizemoney list after amazing wins in the Ballarat, Warragul and Melbourne Cups to cement his spot as Australia’s premier sprinter.
The black chaser is one of four runners for trainer Seona Thompson in this year’s Temlee decider, also putting the polish on brothers Out Of Range and Poke The Bear and Group 3 Silver Bullet winner Bewildering.
Golden Easter Egg winner Striker Light becomes one of only a handful of greyhounds to compete in back-to-back Temlee finals, finishing fifth in last year’s decider behind Lightning Frank. The daughter of KC and All and Pretty Fancy will line up in her 14th Group final. She and Raw Ability will both be looking to snare the third Group 1 win of their careers.
Chasin’ Crackers will be looking to break his Group-race winning duck after four placings at the highest level when lining up in Saturday’s Group 1 Rookie Rebel. The son of Fabregas and Lady Arko takes on fellow Sale Cup finalist Brueghelino in what looks to be one of the more open Rookie Rebels in recent history.
The Australian Cup Carnival is the world’s biggest greyhound spectacle, with over $1.3 million to be won over the famous three-week period (Feb 17, 24 and March 3). The Carnival includes the running of the $550,000 Group 1 Australian Cup, the Group 1 Super Stayers, the Group 1 Temlee, Rookie Rebel and Zoom Top and the Group 3 Vic Breeders for maidens, worth $25,000 to the winner.
GROUP ONE TEMLEE (525M). $100,000 to the winner.
1. STRIKER LIGHT
2. ASTON DEE BEE
3. FAST TIMES – SCRATCHED
5. RAW ABILITY
6. KOUTA MAYHEM
7. OUT OF RANGE
8. POKE THE BEAR
9. SLICK (Res) - will start from box three unless there is another scratching. in that case, a ballot will take place to determine where the two reserves will be boxed.
10. EQUANIMITY (Res)
GROUP ONE ROOKIE REBEL (600M) $75,000 to the winner.
1. CHASIN’ CRACKERS
3. HECTON BALE
4. DYNA DEAN
5. RILEY TOKAAM - SCRATCHED
6. WHERE ART THOU
7. EXTREME MAGIC
9. ROYAL INTENTION (Res) - will start from box five unless there is another scratching. in that case, a ballot will take place to determine where the two reserves will be boxed.
10. CARDAMOM (Res)
GROUP ONE ZOOM TOP (725M) $75,000 to the winner.
1. QUICK JAGGER
2. EBBY RIPPER
3. SCOTT KEEPING
4. FANTA BALE
6. RIPPIN’ SAM
7. PACKEY KEEPING
8. CHAMPAGNE SALLY
9. HIT THE HIGHWAY (Res)
10. SUBLIME NEWS (Res)
Rippin’ Sam winning in devastating fashion at The Meadows. Can he handle the might of Fanta Bale in Saturday’s Group 1 Zoom Top?