The Sapphire Crown Classic is a race restricted to female greyhounds run over 515m at Melbourne’s Sandown Park track. Nominations for the series were capped at 32, with the best bitches determined via the Greyhound Racing Victoria Grading policy. The top 32 nominated contested 4 heats on May 12.
The top 2 finishers from each heat progressed to the $145,000 final, with the winner to receive $100,000. With a dead-heat for 2nd in Heat 2 this year, under the rules, It’s All Talk which did finish 2nd in her heat, becomes the first reserve.
The race was first run in 1974 as the Sir Arthur Rylah Sapphire Classic. The race has had some name variations since then, but has always maintained a link to either Sapphire or Crown in the name. The race became a G3 in 1996, upgraded to G3 in 1997 and in 2000 was elevated to Group 1 status and in 2002 became a bitches only Classic. Past winners include Bogie Leigh, Paua To Burn, Cindeen Shelby, Queen Lauryn and Xylia Allen.
|Date:||Thursday 19th May 2016|
|Race Time:||20:52 AEST|
|Race Type:||Restricted to Females|
|2016 Sapphire Crown Classic Odds|
|1||FOLIO BALE||2ND||$1.30 (pl)|
|5||CASH IN MOTION||3RD||$2.60 (pl)|
|3||SKATE THIN ICE||-||-|
Trained by Andrea Dailly, Folio Bale was the fastest of the heat winners, taking the win in 29.30. Owner Paul Wheeler will be looking for successive wins in the Crown following on from the win of Lamia Bale in 2015 and that bid has been delivered the early advantage at the box draw, coming up with the red rug. The red-brindle bitch went around in heats of the Warrnambool Cup and after drawing a difficult position in box 6 and a tough heat field, could only manage a 6th behind Zambora Brockie who went on to win the Cup. Her heat win for the Sapphire Crown was strong, leading at every panel from Box 1 and from 7 attempts when wearing the red has 3 victories.
Developing into one of the most consistent chasers, Angela Langton will look to win her 2nd Sapphire Crown, adding to her 2007 win with Que Sera Sera. This will be the 13th Group race that Shared Equity has competed in, with her lone Group win coming in the G2 2015 Ballarat Cup Final. Starting from box 6 in her heat, she jumped to an early lead, recording the fastest first panel of the four heats, breaking the 5 second mark with a 4.97 split, before running wide on the first turn that allowed Its All Talk to rail underneath her. Shared Equity chased strongly and was able to overpower the leader to score, posting a 1.83 length margin. Drawing box 8 for the final, she has 2 wins and 3 placings from 7 starts, with her Ballarat Cup win coming from the outside box.
The least experienced chaser in the field, the Brooke Ennis trained bitch will line up at just her 16th career start. 2nd up from a spell she started from box 3 and after being a touch slow to jump she fought strongly to race into 2nd position, chasing Folio Bale all the way, eventually getting to within 1.76 lengths on the line. Taking on the Launching Pad Series in March, after managing a 4th in the early round heats, she was successful in a consolation heat and then finished 3rd in the consolation final before heading for a spell. Landing box 6 for the Sapphire Crown Final, she is a 2 time winner when wearing the green rug from 2 attempts and her 15 career starts have produced 7 wins and 4 minor placings with her record at Sandown reading 4: 1-1-1.
From just 19 starts, Mepunga Fame has recorded 7 wins and 7 placings and will be looking to use her early speed to try to cross to the rails. Starting in box 2 in her heat, she fired out to the early lead and was never headed once in control and ran the 2nd quickest of the 4 heats with a 29.53 gallop. This will be the biggest test of her career to date at her maiden group appearance after failing to gain a start as a reserve in the G2 Laurels Final at Sandown in December. Trainer Jeff Britton knows what it takes to win this race, having prepared the 2014 winner Oakvale Destiny and from 2 attempts in the blue rug, has scored a win and a 5th.