HEATHCOTE greyhound trainer Michael Chilcott will tonight chase his first Group One win when Maddison Dee contests the $125,000 Sandown Cup.
Maddison Dee has drawn box two for tonight’s 715m Sandown Cup – greyhound racing’s equivalent of the Melbourne Cup.
Chilcott has trained greyhounds since 2006, with tonight at Sandown Park to be his first Group One final.
“It’s fantastic to be involved... it’s very exciting,” Chilcott said yesterday.
“We’ve had a runner in a Bendigo Cup, a Great Chase final at The Meadows and a Sale Cup, but this is the first Group one final.”
At long odds of $36, Maddison Dee ran second in her heat to last year’s Sandown Cup winner, Irma Bale, last Thursday to qualify for tonight’s final.
“The way the box draw has come out, I believe we’re certainly a place chance,” said Chilcott, who is a committee member of the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association.
“She’s going to have to run a perfect race, but still need to have some luck.
“There’s five Group One finalists in the race, so she’ll have to run at her very best, and if she does that... who knows what can happen.”
Maddison Dee has won $29,215 in her career, which includes six wins from 42 starts.
She’s rated a $51 outsider tonight.
Among Maddison Dee’s opposition tonight will be West Australian superstar Miata, arguably Australia’s greatest greyhound stayer of the past 20 years.
Miata has amassed nine track records across four states and earned an Australian record $698,000 in prize money.
She has won 42 of 50 starts, with tonight’s Sandown Cup to be her last race.
“She is an out and out champion and this will be her last hurrah,” Chilcott said.
“She has won 42 of her 50 starts, and a lot of those were in a row, so she was drawing some comparisons to the dog version of Black Caviar, which was good publicity for greyhound racing.”
Despite the supreme record of Miata, Chilcott believes defending champion Irma Bale out of box five is the dog to beat tonight.
“Irma Bale ran the best heat time last week and is probably the one to beat, however, box draw comes into it,” Chilcott said.
“Miata has got box three, so if she’s anywhere near her best she’ll win.
“But there’s seven other good dogs in the race that she’ll have to contend with.”
Tonight’s Sandown Cup runners also include Proven Impala, trained at Maryborough by Joe Borg, and rated a $6 chance.
“She ran very quick in her heat and that was after the rain had teamed down, which gives the run even more merit. Bell Haven is the biggest danger,” Borg said.
Tonight’s Sandown Cup will be run at 9.42pm.