While most of the attention in Warrnambool this week is on the thoroughbreds, for the lovers of greyhound racing the $45,000 Group 2 Warrnambool Cup race meet is a highlight.
The Warrnambool Cup, run over 450m, is a the main race of the meet, with a bumper 12-strong field chasing at the Warrnambool track.
Warrnambool Cup: Match-race for two star dogs
Two of the best dogs in the Warrnambool Cup fought out a brilliant heat last Thursday and they look set to fight out the finish of the big finale.
In their heat, the favourite Simon Told Helen drew the red box and bounced to the lead, but – to the surprise of punters – was run down late by Zambora Smokey in box four in the fastest heat of the night at 25.08 seconds.
As they did in the heat, it is expected that Simon Told Helen, who has brilliant speed, will lead again from box one, while Zambora Smokey in box two will sit on his back.
Trainer David Burnett blames Simon Told Helen’s defeat on a lack of fitness. The dog was having only his second run from a spell and his preparation has been timed for him to peak at the Warrnambool Cup – a race that Burnett has a burning ambition to win.
“It’s up to him and whether he can jump and get a bit of a break on them that he didn’t get last week,” Burnett told grv.org.au.
Zambora Smokey’s trainer Jason Thompson was impressed with his dog’s performance. The greyhound has now won seven straight and he thinks we might all be underestimating him. There is no doubt that if Zambora Smokey can ‘hang on to the tail’ of Simon Told Helen, he’s strong enough to run him down again.
Warrnambool Cup tips
Sportsbet’s Warrnambool Cup betting has Simon Told Helen as $2.20 favourite at the time of writing, with Zambora Smokey a slightly easing second pick at $2.30.
The two dogs dominate the betting because the race scenario looks very clearly defined, which is rare in a big race such as this – it’s going to be an enthralling race to watch.
Zambora Smokey, who usually leads in his races, showed last week that he has a second string to his bow – the ability to chase another dog and still win. Simon Told Helen, on the other hand, is quite one dimensional. Not only does he need to lead (and he usually does), but he also needs clear space between him and his rivals, because the weakest part of his race is the final 50m.
Zambora Smokey might not be the best or fastest dog in this race but he’s the only one that’s going to get the dream run from box two. He’s the tip at the slightly better odds to beat Simon Told Helen.
Those looking for some value will get it with these two dominating the field. Aston Cade Razor Sharp and Faith Bale look to be the dogs most likely to cause an upset.