The Anthony Azzopardi trained Ando’s Mac was having his first race appearance at Albion Park in the heats. Spearing across from box 4 he took up the running and once in front was never in danger to score a two length victory. The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner has secured six victories since the big G1 win, including the G2 Warragul Cup. Leading in to the heats, Ando’s Mac took out a 525m heat win at The Meadows before finishing 2nd in the final behind Zinzan Brooke before finishing 2nd in a Sandown FFA behind Black Mumbo. The fawn dog has more prizemoney winnings than the rest of the field combined and will be lining up in his third G1 event, looking to make it three wins at the elite level to add to his Melbourne Cup and Vic Peters Classic Final. He has 3 wins from box 8 in his career and at distances between 515-525m, his career stats are 27: 13-4-2.
Trainer Tony Brett secured four successive Winter Cup victories from 2011-2014 and prepares the 16 start rookie Fast Times to jump from box 4. The black dog has developed a strong record with his career stats showing 10 wins and 3 placed runs. A chaser that looks to have a bright future, he was a heat and semi winner of the Richmond Riches and went into the final well fancied from box 1. Jumping well he was soon crossed by Mister Twister who went on to take victory. Following that series, Brett returned to Queensland and was able to secure 3 wins in 4 starts, including the all the way Winter Cup heat win. That win came from box 3 where he returned a winning time of 29.76, just 0.03 outside the fastest heat win set by Nangar Rock. He will jump from box 4 in the final, where he has a win from 2 starts in the blue.
The fastest of the heat winners, Anthony Azzopardi prepares two live chances with Nangar Rock joining kennel-mate Ando’s Mac in the final. Azzopardi will be looking to secure successive victories in the G1 feature, having prepared Zambora Brockie to take the 2016 edition. Azzopardi has only trained the red-brindle dog for three starts, with all three resulting in victory. Under the guidance of previous trainer Dennis Barnes, Nangar Rock secured 2nd place in the National Derby final at Wentworth Park when finishing one length from the winner Big Daddy Bee. After two solid victories at Ballarat and then Shepparton, he secured a trip north and blitzed his heat to post the fastest qualifying time in landing victory by six lengths. His only race start in the yellow vest was his Derby 2nd and his stats at 520m read at 9: 3-3-0.
Another of the locally trained runners looking to keep the trophy north of the border, Outside Pass secured her position in the final when finishing 2nd to Cosmic Bonus as the race favourite. The Tony Apap trained chaser has a strong Albion Park 520m record, having won 12 of 26 attempts, placing on a further 7 occasions. Going into the Winter Cup heats fresh, she was last seen back in April when finishing three lengths behind Cyndie’s Magic and should be fitter for the final. Her previous two starts came through the Maitland Cup series, where she was successful in the heat, defeating Ando’s Mac before finishing 4th in the final. From two appearances in the checked rug, she has won both times and her best ever winning time over the Albion Park 520m trip of 29.61 is faster than the Winter Cup record of 29.71 set by Flash Reality in 2014.
The Winter Cup is a heat/final series held across consecutive Thursday’s at Brisbane’s Albion Park. Along with the Brisbane Cup, it is one of two Group 1 features held over the 520m distance on the Queensland Greyhound Racing calendar. Five heats were held on Thursday June 29 with each winner and the three fastest 2nd placed runners progressing to the final. The remaining 2nd placed dogs from the heats were declared the reserves.
The race was first held in 1978 when run at the Gabba and known as the Trophy when run over the 558m trip. The race attained Group 1 status in 1991 and when racing transferred from the Gabba to Albion Park in 1993, it became the Christmas Stocking for one year. After being downgraded to a Group 2 during 1997 and 1998, it returned to G1 level in 1999 and has maintained its status since.
The race will offer total prizemoney of $110,000 with the winner to receive $75,000. The winner in 2016 was the Anthony Azzopardi trained Zambora Brockie and previous winners include Flash Reality, Trewly Special, Mint Mojo, Flying Amy, Roanokee and the only dual winner, the mighty Glen Gallon.
|Date:||Thursday 6th July 2017|
|Race Time:||21:22 AEST|
|2016 Winner:||Zambora Brockie|
|2017 Winter Cup Odds|