Aston Dee Bee has been made the $2.50 favourite for Friday’s TAB Melbourne Cup after drawing box 1 for the $600,000 final.
Prior to coming up with the favoured draw the Seona Thompson trained star was already fancied by many to take out Friday’s final after his stunning 29.12 fastest heat win.
Early speed is the common trait throughout the field, especially from Raw Ability and Up Hill Jill who went better than five seconds to the first mark in their respective heats. Pace is also expected from Kouta Mayhem, Aston Miley and Striker Light.
Australia’s fastest greyhound Bewildering will have to defy history to win the world’s richest greyhound race. He will jump from box six which has produced the least amount of Melbourne Cup wins.
Box draw for the Group 1 Bold Trease was also conducted yesterday morning with champion stayer Fanta Bale drawing box three. She’s opened as the $1.90 favourite with tab.com.au.
If she is to place in Friday’s $145,000 final she will become the third greyhound to eclipse $1M in prize money.
Boom talent Rockoon has drawn box seven and is considered by bookmakers as the main danger to Fanta Bale opening at $3.50. Interstate stars Ebby Ripper ($5) and Champagne Sally ($8) have also opened at single figure odds.
FINAL TRAP DRAW
1 ASTON DEE BEE
2 KOUTA MAYHEM
3 CHASIN CRACK
4 RAW ABILITY
5 UP HILL JILL
7 ASTON MILEY
8 STRIKER LIGHT
ASTON GOES FASTEST IN SEMI –FINALS
Series favourite Aston Dee Bee scorched around Sandown Park to qualify fastest for the world’s richest greyhound race.
Heavy rain before the first race did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the big crowd trackside for what shaped as one of the most eagerly anticipated TAB Melbourne Cup series in recent years.
Aston Dee Bee was the shortest priced favourite in the TAB Melbourne Cup heats and didn’t disappoint those who took the short odds ($1.60), overcoming a modest jump to stop the clock at 29.12.
It continued a remarkable run of form for the Seona Thompson trained sprinter that has seen him finish in the money at each of his last 14 starts dating back to July. The TAB Melbourne Cup final will be Aston Dee Bee’s ninth group race final and though he is yet to break through at group level, he has been placed in each of his three group 1 finals.
Kennel mate Bewildering will also take his place in the final after a stunning performance to win his heat in 29.35. Widely regarded as the fastest greyhound in the country, the two-time Speed Star winner showed fantastic determination after a poor getaway to power away from his high class rivals. Owned and bred by cousins Bill and Serge Buccilli and sired by their 2013 TAB Melbourne Cup winner Black Magic Opal, Bewildering is lining up in his fourth group final in his last six starts.
Familiar foes Striker Light (29.37) and Up Hill Jill (29.43) will meet for the ninth time on the track in next Friday night’s final after both recorded impressive wins in their respective heats.
Striker Light bounced back to her brilliant best after two disappointing runs, leading all the way to give her a chance to land her third group 1 win. Up Hill Jill was made to work had for her victory by 2016 TAB Melbourne Cup champion Ando’s Mac, showing great tenacity to reach her sixth group 1 final.
The ledger between the two great rivals stands at four wins apiece, though Up Hill Jill commands a 2-1 advantage at Sandown Park.
The two greyhounds, born just two weeks apart, are separated by just $2,396 in career prize money and a win by either greyhound in next week’s $420,000 to the winner final will catapult them to fifth place on the all-time prize money list.
A year after sharing Melbourne Cup glory with his great mate Jason Mackay in last year’s Cup, Anthony Azzopardi has an opportunity to win the Cup in his own right after Adelaide Cup winner Raw Ability blitzed his rivals in 29.20. He set up his 5½ length victory with a stunning 4.95 first split – less than a length off the great Fernando Bale’s record – turning in what his conditioner described as ‘the best run of his career.’
Kouta Mayhem delivered his trainer Jason Sharp his biggest thrill in the sport by winning the night’s opening heat in 29.57. With a large group of family and friends cheering him on, he proved too good in holding out last start group 1 winner Crash Bandicoot by 1½ lengths.
Glenn Rounds’ powerful sprinter Chasin’ Crackers scored in the night’s penultimate TAB Melbourne Cup heat, railing powerfully to win in 29.40. The baby of the field at just 27 months of age, Chasin’ Crackers has already been placed twice at group 1 level.
The final heat of the night was won by Aston Miley in 29.60 to give her trainer Eddie Lieshout, a 75 year old from Drouin, his first TAB Melbourne Cup finalist.
The group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup and group 1 Bold Trease finals will be run on Friday 24 November, along with the $36,000 group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial and $36,000 listed Cup Night Sprint. The four feature events form an outstanding quadrella on which tab.com.au has projected a $1m pool.
Entry to TAB Melbourne Cup night is free.