‘Pirate’ poised to pillage Ballarat Cup

Meet greyhound racing’s latest ‘sprinting swashbuckler’ – Pirate Pete.

Last week, the plundering Pirate Pete pillaged Ballarat’s 450-metre track record with a scintillating 24.70sec display.

Utilising his speedy legs as a ‘cutlass’, Pirate Pete sliced 0.05sec (almost one length) off superstar Shima Shine’s previous mark of 24.75sec, set on August 28 last year.

It was no mean feat, given Shima Shine recently won the invitation-only Group 1 Topgun (525m) at The Meadows during the prestigious Metro Festival of Racing.

WATCH: Plundering Pirate Pete (8) ‘steals’ Shima Shine’s 450m track record, semaphoring a stunning 24.70sec, at Ballarat last week.

Trained at Pearcedale by Jason Thompson, the marauding Pirate Pete is now after a richer bounty as one of the headline acts in the G2 BFC Ballarat Cup heats on Saturday night.

He’s engaged in Heat 3 – Race 6 Box 3 at 7.43pm – and will clash with G3 Great Chase winner Dr. Tucker (Box 7), who has won nine races from only 15 starts.

“He’s definitely my best chance,” Thompson said. “He’s going into the series as good as he’s ever been. I’m looking forward to how he acquits himself at group level.”

Pirate Pete has won eight races from 18 starts but has only been in Thompson’s kennels for the past nine, of which he’s won six – including the past five in a row.

And Pirate Pete was only three-quarters of a length off Hard Style Rico’s Shepparton 450m track record (24.77sec) on November 9. Last week, Hard Style Rico won the G1 Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown – considered the ‘world’s greatest greyhound race’ – and has since retired to stud.

Thompson also has Zambora Lou and Aussie Secret engaged in the heats.

Pawnote: Jason Thompson and his wife, Seona, have captured three Ballarat Cups during this decade: 2013 Ronan Izmir (Jason); 2017 Aston Dee Bee and 2018 Aston Kimetto (both Seona).

“Zambora Lou is a very good ‘half-circle’ dog,” Thompson said. “And he’s also won the Group 3 Healesville Cup ‘up the straight’. He’s in with a chance, but the problem is he’s a bit hit-and-miss out of the boxes.”

Zambora Lou has won 17 races from 35 starts. He’ll contest Heat 4 – Race 7 Box 6 at 8.04pm – and meets a classy field including former NSW speedster Zipping Sultan (Box 8), who has been ‘in the money’ in all five Victorian starts.

Thompson is also buoyant about the chances of serious up-and-comer Aussie Secret.

“He’s only a young dog and it’s his first crack at a country cup,” he said. “It’ll be a nice hit-out for him leading into the upcoming Group 1 Silver Chief (525m) at The Meadows.”

Aussie Secret has won 12 races from 19 starts. He lines up in Heat 2 – Race 5 Box 3 at 7.20pm – and will match strides with G2 Bendigo Cup winner Yozo Bale (Box 8).

Other topliners to watch from the six heats are: Mr. Fix It (Heat 1 – Race 4 Box 7 at 6.53pm); Last Hurrah (Heat 5 – Race 8 Box 3 at 8.30pm); Benchester (Heat 6 – Race 9 Box 4 at 8.54pm).

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