Thursday Night’s Melbourne Cup Heats Preview

This Thursday night Sandown Park will host eight intense heats for this year’s $250 000 Group 1 Solo Melbourne Cup as 64 of Australia’s top runners fight for the richest greyhound prize in the country.

The talent is elite and the canines hungry for success, which will make for one of the most exciting Group race series this decade. The statistics speak for themselves as the heats feature 20 greyhounds with a Group race win, including eight Group 1 champions.

Legendary trainer Graeme Bate is aiming for an unparalleled fourth Solo Melbourne Cup victory. Heading the nominations with eight strong runners in tonight’s heats, he is sure to be well represented in next week’s final. Bate’s experience in the Cup is extensive, having trained over 20 finalists since his first Cup runner in 1983, Star Lazer. Tonight he will start Velocette, Dentax Bale, My Lippling, Hayder Bale, Gripen Bale, Turanza Bale, Bora Bale and Dyna Forte.

Another trainer with their sights set on the unprecedented fourth Melbourne Cup title is Darren McDonald, who has six runners entered tonight. McDonald has dominated the Cup in the last five years, claiming victory in three of them including back-to-back victory in 2007/2008 with Shanlyn Prince and Surgeon.

Heat 1:

Favourite for heat one looks to be Lord Ducal, jumping from box eight, after a thrilling victory over the 515m distance last week in a slick 29.56 seconds. If the J Roberts-trained runner can re-produce that impressive effort tonight he will be hard to beat. One dog that might give Lord Ducal some stiff competition is Fancy Mandy (box 2).

Heat 2:

Queen Lauryn, one of the interstate greyhounds looking to upstage the locals, will be the one to beat in the second heat after pulling out an astonishing 29.42 victory over this trip back in October. She will need to jump well from the box seven and find a forward position early on, but may find she is fighting for the lead with Remo Rubik who always displays an abundance of early pace and is ideally positioned with the top draw.

Heat 3:

A good chance for heat three is Velocette, one of Graeme Bate’s best chances to add to his remarkable Cup record. Velocette’s past seven starts include runs in five Group race finals where he has positioned himself as an outstanding chaser, and his last start was a win in the Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout.  Another in-form runner with a solid record over the trip is True Kihael starting beside Velocette (box 5) in box six.

Heat 4:

Cranbourne runner Cosmic Rumble, contesting heat four, is coming off a solid run in the Group 3 Shootout at the same track last week and with a personal best time of 29.58 seconds he is definitely a dog to look out for. Otherwise Mr. Moorooduc and Hayer Bale are another two smart dogs with some good recent form.

Heat 5:

The fifth heat of the night has a strong field of contenders including the in-form runner for prolific trainer Graeme Bate, Grippen Bale. Grippen Bale, ideally positioned in box 1 with plenty of room to work his magic, clocked a dominant 27.09s victory at Horsham and will put up a solid fight.

But with an impressive three Group 1 victories from her past four starts, Cindeen Shelby will be up there contesting the lead as she looks to create history with a fourth successive Group 1 win. Her only drama tonight may come from her box six draw.

Heat 6:

Heat six features another star from the Bate kennels, Turanza Bale coming from a record breaking run at The Meadows two starts ago when he ran a stunning 29.61. And Din’s Son, starting from box five, should not be overlooked after a last-start polished place finish in the Group 2 Shepparton Cup.

Heat 7:

If Danny Phantom jumps well from the advantageous box one and finds the lead it will be hard to run him down. But if any dog can do it, it will be Dyna Lachlan who scored a slick 29.32 win here last start.

Heat 8:

The final heat of the night looks to be a tight race between another of Bate’s top dogs, Dyna Forte coming off his impressive 25.42 victory at Geelong last start, and the brilliant chaser Take The Kitty. Take The Kitty has shown a good early burst of pace in past races, and if Dyna Forte finds some early room it will be a close finish for sure.

Notable emissions from the heats include two of Queensland’s top sprinters High Earner and Azakhan. The Dave and Christine Robartson-trained High Earner was found to have an underlying blood problem affecting his performance and will miss the Solo Melbourne Cup heats giving him time to rest and recover. Meanwhile Alex Green’s Azakhan will miss the Melbourne Cup heats due to pulling up with split webbing and a dislocated toe last week. Both dogs will hopefully improve in time for the Group 1 Brisbane Cup heats at Albion Park.

The Solo Melbourne Cup Final will be held on Thursday 26, contested by the winners of tonight’s heats. The final boxdraw will be conducted at the Melbourne Cup Ball at Sandown Park on Saturday night.

Sandown Park Race Programme Thursday November 19:

Race #    Race Name            Distance    Grade        Prizes            Time*

1    Macro Meats             515m        Mixed 4/5    $4445-1270-635        7:05pm
2    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat 1    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    7:25pm
3    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat 2    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    7:44pm
4    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat 3    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    8:09pm
5    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat 4    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    8:28pm

6    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat 5    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    8:52pm
7    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat    6    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    9:11pm

8    Bold Trease Carnival Cup    715m        Group 2        $25000-7500-3500    9:35pm
9    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat 7    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    9:55pm
10    Solo Melbourne Cup Heat 8    515m        NG        $10000-3000-1500    10:15pm

11    Rapidvite Amino Cal        515m        5        $4200-1200-600        10:35pm