Why Each Runner Can And Can't Win The Cup

IT takes a very good greyhound to make a Melbourne Cup final, it’s one of the reasons it is billed as the ‘world’s greatest greyhound race.’

Mick Floyd

25 November 2021

IT takes a very good greyhound to make a Melbourne Cup final, it’s one of the reasons it is billed as the ‘world’s greatest greyhound race.’

With all eight finalists racing in tremendous form and each impressive in their own way to win their respective heat, you can (almost) make a case for every runner in the field, especially after the box draw makes mapping the race particularly tricky.

So, we’re going to make out a case for (and against) every runner to claim the $500,000 winners cheque and a place on the sport’s most prestigious honour roll.

FIELDS AND FORM SANDOWN PARK FRIDAY NIGHT

1. Aussie Secret (Jason Thompson)

Case for: Pre-box draw none of the finalists wanted to draw outside of Aussies Secret due to his habit of running wide soon after box rise. As luck would have it, they will all start on his outer after he came up with box 1. If he jumps and forces his rivals wide, he will have track position as he cuts to the fence at the first turn. He’s won six of 10 starts from box 1 and the red has won more Cups than any other. If he leads at the first turn his middle split will keep there off the back and his trainer, three-time Melbourne Cup winner Jason Thompson, knows how to get them right on the sport’s biggest stage.

Case against: He’s contested four group finals across his career – none since April – and was unplaced in each. He needs to turn that around in the greatest race of all, and do say at over three years of age. The last three year old to win the Cup was Classic Capri in 2001 – 20 years ago.

2. Jepara (Angela Langton)

Case for: While the wide running Aussie Secret drawn immediately to his left may not seem ideal, on closer inspection it may in fact open the race for Jepara. Jepara doesn’t have the same early speed as Aussie Secret – if he can avoid Aussie Secret early and drop to the fence, Aussie Secret may gift Jepara track position through the first turn. No greyhound knows Sandown Park as well as Jepara – the Cup final will be his 19th trip around the View Road circuit.

Case against: Even if he avoids Aussie Secret early, Jepara is going to need things to go his way. Not quick enough to beat out those around him, but not strong enough to run down those same dogs.

 

 

3. Koblenz (David Geall)

Case for: His early speed. He’s clearly the best breaker in the country having broken 5 second three times at Sandown Park. In the 11 editions of the race on the current surface, all but one has led through the first turn. 

Case against: He has to led to win. Of the seven times in his career that he didn’t lead at the first marker, he’s won just twice and neither occasion was in top grade.

4. Aston Rupee (Glenn Rounds)

Case for: He’s the fastest greyhound in the country, possibly in the world, maybe of all time. He has the two fastest times ever at the track, has won 8 of his last 9 starts and is aiming to become the just the second greyhound to win the ‘Triple Crown’ having already claimed the Topgun and Shootout. 

Case against: There aren’t many chinks in his armour, but if there is one, it’s his first stride or two after box rise. In fact, the first split in his heat was the slowest of all finalists. As good as he was in overcoming trouble in his heat, he’d need to produce something truly remarkable to overcome similar issues in the final.

5. Lala Kiwi (Andrea Dailly)

Case for: Lala Kiwi’s record is sneaky good, lining up in a fifth group final in her last 14 starts on Friday night. She was the fastest heat winner and five of the last 11 Cup winners entered the final as the fastest qualifier. 

Case against:  Just three bitches have won the race in the last 30 years, the same number of Cup winners that have won wearing the yellow vest.

6. Lakeview Walter (Monique Whelan)

Case for: Comes into the race with a proven form line. Just as Hard Style Rico did in 2020, Lakeview Walter won the group 3 Silver Bullet, ran last in the Shootout, then ran the second fastest heat win. 

Case against: Not only is box 6 has the lowest winning percentage of any at Sandown Park – and produced just four winners in the last 50 years – he has pace all around.

 

7. Tiberia Bale (Andrea Dailly)

Case for: With only modest box speed, he’s expected to near last at the first turn which gives him the chance to find the fence and avoid any trouble at the first turn. It’s not a strong case for – his $81 quote is says as much.

Case against: Tiberia Bale is ranked last in the final in ranking, aged prize money, best winning time, heat time and best first split. He’s also unplaced in all four starts from box 7. As co-trainer Tom Dailly said after the box draw, ‘he’ll need luck.’

8. Kinson Bale (Samantha Grenfell)

Case for: Kinson Bale has shown great speed in his most recent outings, running 5.04 and 5.02 at his last two starts, as well as 5.05 at The Meadows two starts back in the group 3 Silver Bullet where he led until the turn for home. With no pace on his immediate inside, he should get the room to muster be in a forward position at the first corner.

Case against: While his first splits have been impressive, the greyhounds in the inside half of the field are capable of running just as quick – if not quicker – meaning that even if he pings the lids, he’ll likely be posted wide. He ran 29.47 when leading clearly in his heat – his best time in 10 starts at the track – but well outside the best time of all runners bar Tiberia Bale.