Group 3 Townsville Cup winner Zabdon Ferrari headlines six quality heats of the 5th Grade Publicans Cup (520m) at Albion Park on Thursday night.
The Tony Brett-owned and trained son of Magic Sprite and Awesome Knocka scorched around the Townsville circuit in track-record time when taking out last week’s feature, and he returns to Albion Park where he has drawn box eight in the opening heat, race two. Last start winners Suite Alexis (box seven) and Grand Roman (box three) will be hoping to upset the applecart and take down the favourite.
Brett appears to have another strong chance later on the program, with Aston Jadore also dropping back in grade after finishing third behind her kennelmate in last week’s Townsville feature. The daughter of Velocette and Aston Ainslie, a recent winner of the Ipswich Young Guns, will be hoping to return to winning ways when she jumps from box three in race nine. Her main dangers appear to Mal Cuneo’s Hoop Dreams (box six), who is capable of producing a powerful finish, and Miss Jackpot for Tom Tzouvelis (box seven).
Race ten, the final heat, contains another interesting runner, Neil Catchpole’s Venom Strikes (box five). A brother to smart Victorian chaser Pop The Cork, Venom Strikes won his first five starts before suffering his first defeat here two weeks ago at his first try over the journey. He will be looking to make amends for that defeat, but will have to outclass a quality field which includes Townsville Cup finalist, Steel Rose (box one), speedy chaser Trevon’s Fury (box two) and the in-form Lady Corsair (box six) a winner of her last two.
While the other heats may not have a standout greyhound, they do produce some intriguing contests, perhaps none more so than the second heat, which sees Glenda Dart’s Soft Gambler (box two) and Ross Ogden’s Barra Fun (box five) both chasing their fourth win from their past five starts.
The winner of each heat plus the fastest two second placegetters will advance to Thursday week’s final, worth $10,450 in total prizemoney.
Seven venues from across South East Queensland are involved in this year’s event and will each be assigned a finalist after the box draw is conducted on track on Thursday night.
The venues are:
Kedron Wavell Services Club, Manly Hotel, Porters Plainland Hotel, Marburg Hotel, Withcott Hotel, Aspley Leagues Club and Zillmere Sports Club.
Each venue will be in attendance on final night, hoping to take home the main prize.
The first of ten events kicks off at 6:39pm, with the Publicans Cup heats run as races two, three, four, five, nine and ten.