Correy Grenfell, 26, is chasing his second Group 3 Shootout (515m) in three years at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
Grenfell won the second version of two Shootouts held in 2018 with Orson Allen – a superstar who put him on the map in the sport.
And now he’ll rug the ultimate professional, Tiggerlong Tonk (Box 5), who is the outsider of the four-dog field in the $25,000 winner-take-all match race.
“Orson Allen went to a new level after his Shootout win, but there’s nothing between him and Tiggerlong Tonk,” Grenfell said. “But this year’s field is probably better… It’s as good as it’s going to get!”
Winner of the G2 Horsham Cup, Tiggerlong Tonk (Feb ’18 Dyna Double One x Tiggerlong Dot) lines up against a star-studded field also comprising Christo Bale (Box 1), Hard Style Rico (Box 3) and Shima Shine (Box 7).
Each runner is a ‘sprinting sharpshooter’ and the ‘fab four’ has amassed 90 wins from 174 starts (52% strike rate) and accumulated stakes of more than $1.02 million.
And take a look at their sizzling Sandown Park personal bests: Shima Shine – 28.95sec (fastest time 2020 & third fastest ever); Tiggerlong Tonk – 29.12sec (fifth fastest this year); Christo Bale – 29.21sec; Hard Style Rico – 29.31sec.
Grenfell says Tiggerlong Tonk is “ready to go” and “pulled up well after the Topgun”. “He’s 100 per cent, but I think Shima Shine is the one to beat. He’s an outstanding dog and the match-race format will suit him to a tee… Whoever leads wins.”
But Grenfell adds that Tiggerlong Tonk does some of his best racing at Sandown. (He’s started there 20 times for eight wins, five seconds and two thirds.)
“He’s very leggy and has a long stride; he’s a better dog at Sandown than The Meadows… I think it took him around 10 starts to break 30 seconds at The Meadows, which is a tighter track.”
And in an ominous message to his rivals, Grenfell believes Tiggerlong Tonk can break the magical 29-second barrier. “If the track is on fire and he gets his own way, then yes… He’s going every bit as good as earlier in the year.”
A five-time G1 finalist and winner of 30 races from 58 starts, Tiggerlong Tonk also won the G3 Easter Gift (Sandown Park) clocking 29.14sec.
Shootout reserves are Catch The Thief – $7.50 (Winner: G2 WA Derby and G3 Warragul St Leger; Runner-up: G1 Adelaide Cup) and Dr. Tucker – $9.50 (Winner: G3 Great Chase).
The inaugural Metro Festival of Racing incorporates 10 group races run across five nights of racing at The Meadows and Sandown Park during November, with almost $2 million in prize money being distributed.
The Festival will culminate with the world’s greatest greyhound race, the TAB Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park on Friday, November 27.
The G3 Shootout is Race 4 at 7.58pm.