Race 6 – UBET Gold Cup Heat 1 – 8:34pm
Four-time Group 1 winner Fanta Bale (Box 8) will touch down in Brisbane as the $1.60 favourite for this event and a $2.25 favourite for the final with UBET, and it’s hard to argue why having recently become the first greyhound in history to win a Group 1 over all three distances. The latest of those victories was the world’s richest staying event, the Group 1 Sandown Cup over 710 metres, where Fanta Bale exemplified her versatility by sitting off-the-pace early and proving too strong. At rising 3 years of age, Fanta Bale is clearly at the top of her game and has a significant class edge on her rivals. Having been interstate several times and performing at her best, travelling to Queensland is no major concern although she will be having her first look at the Albion Park circuit. In looking at the dangers, Ebby Ripper (Box 2) is a seasoned stayer and boasts a victory over group performer Dundee Calypso at Sandown Park. It is also her first visit to Queensland and Albion Park, but sure to run the trip and race well. Up-and-coming local chasers Alota Amy (Box 1) and Jalapeno (Box 4) are the wildcards of the race, both greyhounds are debuting at the distance and lack big-race experience, but have undeniable talent as shown by recently running sub-35 seconds for 600 metres at the track. Local veteran Big Easy Red (Box 7) and Sydney visitor Miss Foxy Lee (Box 5) have minor place claims as both have big-match experience over the staying trip and can push forward early.
8 – 2 – 4 – 1
Race 7 – UBET Gold Cup Heat 2 – 8:55pm
A very even heat. Group 1 winner Dundee Osprey (Box 3) has been installed a $3 favourite with UBET coming off a gallant 2nd placing in the Group 1 Sandown Cup behind Fanta Bale. He generally possesses early box speed and over this trip you’d like to see him out in front and having the others chasing. Has visited Albion Park in 2016 for the Queensland Derby series (520m) so somewhat familiar with the track. Local stayer Champagne Sally (Box 8) made everyone sit up and take notice last week in winning the $37,500 Garrard’s Winter Chase over the same trip, and beat Cyndie’s Magic in doing so. Looks clearly on the up having broken 42-seconds at only her 2nd run over the trip and will push forward to the lead early. WA raider Teddy Monelli (Box 6) has made his way to Brisbane via Melbourne and has trialled very well here in preparation for this event and is in the care of star Queensland trainer Tony Apap for the series. Of the rest, reigning Gold Cup winner My Boy Brodie (Box 7) will look to go back-to-back but to be fair is racing in only average form in Sydney at this stage. May lift in Queensland as it did last year. Starzsa Light (Box 2) from NSW and Off And On (Box 4) hold minor place claims.
6 – 8 – 3 – 7
Race 8 – UBET Gold Cup Heat 3 – 9:19pm
UBET have this one a two-dog race with Dundee Calypso (Box 2) heading the market at $1.90 ahead of local champion Cyndie’s Magic (Box 1) at $2.50. There is no doubt that Dundee Calypso has developed into a quality stayer having recently competed against and beaten some of the best stayers in the land including Burn One Down and Trip To Eden. Comes to this series fresh off a 5th placing in the Group 1 Sandown Cup final and will be visiting Queensland and Albion Park for the first time. She will have to be right on top of her game to beat the Queen of the Creek in Cyndie’s Magic, a track specialist who has amassed 34 wins at the venue, and with a clear passage in the latter half of the race, it would take something special to hold her off. Of the rest, seasoned stayer Obi Kenobi (Box 6) returns to Queensland following a major interstate campaign. He is well accustomed to the track and relishes the staying trip so will be one to include in the minor place chances. Magic Hornet (Box 3) has developed into a nice stayer, improving with each run and holds a competitive 42.15 personal best over the trip. The wildcard is Smooth Claudia (Box 5) for Northern Rivers mentor Robert Cooke who has untapped potential but lacks big-race experience and seasoning over this trip. Looks a powerful stayer in the making as seen by winning over 600 metres in 34.93 seconds last time out and definitely one to watch and to include in minor placings.
1 – 2 – 6 – 5