The inaugural Sportsbet Dream Chasers Festival reaches fever pitch at Sandown Park on Saturday night with the 67th running of the $1 million Group 1 Sportsbet Melbourne Cup Final (515m).
Widely regarded as the world’s greatest greyhound race, the Melbourne Cup headlines the penultimate night of the $4.1 million Dream Chasers Festival, which will conclude with the second running of The Phoenix at The Meadows on Saturday, December 17.
Eight ‘must win’ Cup heats were conducted in wet conditions last Saturday, with El Dorado, trained by 75-year-old Daryl Holmes at Blind Bight, producing the fastest qualifying performance, clocking 29.35sec.
6:35pm First race
7:36pm $37,250 Group 3 Provincial Plate Final (Race 4)
7:56pm $22,000 Listed Cup Night Stayers (Race 5 – first leg of Quaddie)
8:17pm $37,250 Group 3 Cup Night Sprint (Race 6)
After Race 6, Sportsbet wheelie bin race (shown on Racing.com)
8:40pm $37,250 Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (Race 7)
9:00pm $165,500 Group 1 Sportsbet Bold Trease Final (Race 8)
9:24pm $40,000 Sportsbet Showdown | Amron Boy vs Wow She’s Fast (Race 9)
9:46pm $1,008,000 Group 1 Sportsbet Melbourne Cup Final (Race 10)
10:28pm Last race (Race 12)
While Plaintiff was the ‘slowest’ heat winner, running 29.66sec, he is a dominant $2.35 favourite with Sportsbet after drawing the prized rails alley, with second reserve Amron Boy the $3.50 second elect.
If Plaintiff wins the Cup, champion Victorian trainer Jason Thompson will rewrite history, becoming the first trainer to win the race four times, his previous successes coming with Light Of Fire (1994), Got A Moment (2012) and Black Magic Opal (2013). Thompson’s wife Seona trained 2017 victor Aston Dee Bee.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
– Racing.com will cover every race, every story, and every moment from 6.15pm with Matt White, George Farrugia, Molly Haines, and James Van de Maat
– Watch the racing LIVE and FREE on the Watchdog App
– Behind-the-scenes insights on GRV Facebook, @WatchDogRacing Twitter and @greyhoundracingvic Instagram
– Regular updates with Troy Harley on RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM)
A total of $1.425 million in prizemoney will be distributed over 12 races on arguably the greatest night on the Australian greyhound racing calendar, also featuring the Group 1 Sportsbet Bold Trease Final (715m), Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m), Group 3 Cup Night Sprint (515m), Group 3 Provincial Plate Final (515m), and Listed Cup Night Stayers (715m).
Adding enormous interest will be the Sportsbet Showdown (515m), a ‘match race’ between superstar Wow She’s Fast and Amron Boy.
POINTS OF INTEREST
The inaugural running of the Melbourne Cup in 1956 was on a grass track over 565 yards under handicap conditions and carried a winner’s purse of 500 pounds (equivalent to approximately $16,000 today). This year’s first prize has grown to $650,000.
The Melbourne Cup honour roll features many champions, including Rookie Rebel, Highly Blessed, Rapid Journey, Kantarn Bale, Bombastic Shiraz, El Grand Senor and Dyna Double One.
The Thompson family is hoping to celebrate a fifth Melbourne Cup triumph with favourite Plaintiff. If Plaintiff is successful, Jason Thompson will become the first trainer to win the race on four occasions, his previous wins coming courtesy of Light Of Fire (1994), Got A Moment (2012) and Black Magic Opal (2013), while wife Seona trained 2017 winner Aston Dee Bee.
David Geall is taking aim at back-to-back Cups, following the all-the-way win of Koblenz in 2021. Geall also trained 2018 winner My Redeemer. Fernando Mick is Geall’s fourth finalist in six years, with Up Hill Jill, the mother of Koblenz, finishing unplaced in 2017.
BOXED TO WIN
History is on the side of favourite Plaintiff, with box 1 having provided the most winners in the Cup’s illustrious history, with 17, including two of the past five in Aston Dee Bee (2017) and My Redeemer (2018). Boxes 2, 3 and 7 are the next most successful, each producing seven winners. However, only seven of the last 22 favourites have been victorious, the most recent being Aston Dee Bee.
Male greyhounds have dominated the Melbourne Cup over the last decade, with the last female winner Got A Moment in 2012. That trend will continue in 2022, with Saturday night’s field an all-male affair, including the two reserves.
BRED TO WIN
Super sire Fernando Bale, runner-up in the 2015 Melbourne Cup Final, has sired three of the past four winners: My Redeemer (2018), Whiskey Riot (2019) and Koblenz (2021). Fernando Bale has one finalist this year in Fernando Mick. Cup winners Aston Dee Bee (Vice Grip) and Black Magic Opal (Paddy Wants Pats) will also be represented. Striker Light – the mother of Paddy Wants Pats – ran sixth in the 2017 Cup Final.
The only interstate finalist is Vice Grip. Bred and owned in Victoria, Vice Grip is striving to become the first Western Australian sprinter to win the Melbourne Cup. The last interstater to win the race was NSW’s Ando’s Mac in 2016. With earnings of $554,820, victory would see Vice Grip become the 12th member of Australian greyhound racing’s exclusive millionaires’ club.
Group 1 SPORTSBET MELBOURNE CUP (515m)
Sandown Park Race 10, Saturday 9:46pm
Total prizemoney $1,008,000 (First prize $650,000)
1 PLAINTIFF (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2 TITAN BLAZER (Daniel Gibbons, Avalon VIC)
3 VICE GRIP (Adam Smithson, Nambeelup WA)
4 YACHI BALE (Mark Delbridge, Balliang VIC)
5 FERNANDO MICK (David Geall, Lara VIC)
6 ZIPPY TESLA (Bradley Keel, Anakie VIC)
7 EL DORADO (Daryl Holmes, Blind Bight VIC)
8 PADDY WANTS PATS (Kelly Bravo, Freshwater Creek VIC)
9 ZARA’S IVAN (Bradley Keel, Anakie VIC)
10 AMRON BOY (Brooke Ennis, Lara VIC)
SPORTSBET MELBOURNE CUP HEAT WINNERS
Saturday 19 November
(fastest to slowest)
29.35sec El Dorado
29.38sec Yachi Bale
29.40sec Fernando Mick
29.41sec Paddy Wants Pats
29.45sec Zippy Tesla
29.57sec Titan Blazer
29.63sec Vice Grip
RECENT MELBOURNE CUP WINNERS
2012 GOT A MOMENT (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2013 BLACK MAGIC OPAL (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2014 DYNA VILLA (Jenny Hunt, Teesdale VIC)
2015 DYNA DOUBLE ONE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
2016 ANDO’S MAC (Jason Mackay, Richmond Vale NSW)
2017 ASTON DEE BEE (Seona Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2018 MY REDEEMER (David Geall, Lara VIC)
2019 WHISKEY RIOT (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley VIC)
2020 HARD STYLE RICO (Luckie Karabitsakos, Pearcedale, VIC)
2021 KOBLENZ (David Geall, Lara VIC)
Group 1 SPORTSBET BOLD TREASE (715m)
Sandown Park Race 8, Saturday 9pm
Total prizemoney $165,500 (First prize $105,000)
1 STAGGER OUT LEE (Jack Strutt, Springvale NSW)
2 UNTAPPED (Dustin Drew, Dennington VIC)
3 KORDA (Angela Langton, Anakie VIC)
4 LAKEVIEW PATSY (Monique Whelan, Metung VIC)
5 CAWBOURNE MAGIC (Jodie Lord, Gunning NSW)
6 GOLDEN QUEST (Michelle Mallia, Avalon VIC)
7 EMANI BALE (Daniel Gibbons, Avalon VIC)
8 MORAINE SUZIE (Brendan Pursell, Lara VIC)
9 MEPUNGA RUBY (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
10 TINKER FRAN (Correy Grenfell, Anakie VIC)
2022 SPORTSBET DREAM CHASERS FESTIVAL WINNERS
Group 1 Sportsbet Topgun
PHOTO MAN (Gavin Clifton, Tynong North VIC)
Group 1 Sportsbet Topgun Stayers
MORAINE SUZIE (Brendan Pursell, Lara VIC)
Group 1 Hume Cup
ASTON VELVET (Michelle Mallia, Avalon VIC)
Group 3 Shootout
WOW SHE’S FAST (Jackie Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)