Eight stayers will vie for the first Group 1 title at Albion Park for 2016 with the running of the final of the $110,000 UBET Gold Cup (710m).
The field looks very evenly matched given last week’s heat performances, where the four heat winners were separated by only .22 seconds.
Betting markets also have it pegged as a wide open contest with many punters struggling to decide who will take home the $75,250 winner’s cheque.
Favourite for the event at time of writing is local star Cyndie’s Magic for premiership leading trainer Bill Elson. The versatile daughter of Magic Sprite and Regal Silver defeated Victorian Ring The Bell by a head in the fastest heat time of 42.12 seconds. Given her track knowledge and staying record, she has come up a $4.40 favourite with sponsor UBET from box six. Ring The Bell is a $6.00 chance from the outside draw.
Sydneysider My Boy Brodie (Box Two) is next in the betting at $4.60 after he took out a heat which included quality performers Kilkee Flex, Vegas Bound and No Donuts.
The aforementioned Vegas Bound, third behind My Boy Brodie last week, is third favourite at $4.80 after she gained a start from box one with the scratching of Kilkee Flex. Tony Apap’s chaser is improving at every run over the distance and looks a live chance of taking out the feature event.
Victorian Dublin Bull (Jeff Britton, Box Five), and New South Wales visitors Lovelace (Mark Tapper, Box Seven) and Obi Kenobi (Andrew Monaghan, Box Four) are all under double figures, currently $5.00, $9.00 and $9.50 respectively.
Cyndie’s Magic’s littermate Abby’s Magic is the outsider of the field, a $26 chance from box three.
Last year’s winner was the Samual Dart-trained Dzeko, who ended up taking out the 2015 Queensland Greyhound of the Year title.
Also to be decided on Thursday is the 2016 edition of the UBET Flying Amy Classic at Listed level. The age-restricted race attracted plenty of local up-and-coming chasing talent, particularly the Tony Brett-trained Thirty Talks, who will start favourite for the $37,500 event after a scintillating 29.66 win in last week’s heats.
The boom chaser, winner of twelve of his fifteen starts which includes the Richmond Riches Puppy Classic, shattered his previous best time last week and looks a star in the making. He has an awkward draw in box six Thursday night but will none the less be well fancied, and is $2.25 favourite with UBET. His litter sister Split Image, also trained by Brett for different connections, will jump from box eight after a 29.97 heat win.
Fabulous Bill, another well-performed Bill Elson-trained chaser, and a half-brother to Gold Cup favourite Cyndie’s Magic, looks the main danger to the favourite. His early speed is his strongest asset, and he looks the likely leader from box five. The son of Fabregas has been foolproof in open class races in recent weeks and will be a huge threat to the favourite if there is any interference in the event. Fabulous Bill is currently at $4.20.
Tony Apap joins Elson as trainers to have finalists in both features, with Issy Cool his representative starting from box three. The son of former star bitch Isadel came from well back in last week’s event and will no doubt be running on at the business end come Thursday.
Lucky Sally (Jeff Jones, Box One), Boom Warrior (Reg Hazelgrove, Box Two), Gelantipy Gold (Selena Zammit, Box Four) and Wings Of Perlita (John Hutchinson, Box Seven) make up the remainder of the field chasing the $25,000 first prize.
The rich Gold Cup card at Albion Park will commence with the first of ten events at 6:45pm. The feature races bookend the Quadrella, with the Flying Amy Classic run as Race Five and the $110,000 UBET Gold Cup Final Race Eight on the card at 9:12pm.