A STAR-STUDDED night of greyhound racing on Saturday night is highlighted by eight outstanding heats of the Group 2 Bendigo Cup.
With brilliant chasers such as Group 1 winners Tiggerlong Tonk and Qwara Bale, country cup kings Ferdinand Boy and Yozo Bale, and speed machines Shima Classic, Music Event, Paua Of Buddy and Rebellious just to name a few, the heat runners have contested nearly 70 black type events and between them have the trophies of 18 Group races in their cabinets.
The racing action kicks off at 6.37pm with two heats of the Vic Bred Grade 5 series over the 500m, before the Group 2 cup heats action gets underway at 7.15pm with the eight heats being races three to 10 inclusive.
Live coverage from the track with race previews and reviews and interviews with trainers and guests pre and post race can be viewed on The Watchdog app and Greyhound Racing Victoria's Facebook page from 6.30pm until after the last cup heat.
The box draw for the 2021 Bendigo Cup will be conducted live on the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association's Facebook page at 8.30pm on Sunday.
Heat 1 (race 3) - Explosive sprinter Shima Classic (8) is ideally drawn to use her high speed and outpace her rivals in the run to the first turn. Having been placed in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown as well as the Warragul St Leger and Cranbourne Classic, she looks poised to make her sixth Group race final at start 32. Nikoli Bale (1) comes to Bendigo in fine form having scored back-to-back slick Geelong victories at his past two outings. Masked Avenger (3) is a track specialist having won six of his nine starts at Bendigo while Mr America (7) is a dual country cup finalist and must be respected.
Heat 2 (race 4) - Lala Kiwi (7) has been impressive in recent months and continues to improve as seen with her recent Group 3 Cranbourne Classic victory. She is well drawn and has the pace to find the front early and take catching. Fortuna Bale (8) has been placed in two Ballarat Cups, has been freshened for this assignment and has a good record at the track. Hadouken (3) and Lots Of Chatter (4) are consistent chasers and should be considered genuine chances.
Heat 3 (race 5) - This looks a match between two absolute flyers in Music Event (4) and Paua Of Buddy (8). Fresh from a northern campaign that included a second place in the Group 1 Brisbane Cup, the 'local' sprinter Music Event went just 0.005 outside the track record last week here stopping the clock in 23.357 leaving last year's Cup winner Yozo Bale in his wake. Paua Of Buddy set a track record at Warragul last start, posting a remarkable 22.00 at just his ninth career start. The draw and more consistent box manners has a slight leaning to Paua Of Buddy, but it should be a great match up. Xavien Bale (3) is flying at present and Envy To Burn (1) has place claims.
Heat 4 (race 6) - If Rebellious (4) can get clear space in the first few strides, he is the quickest dog in the race as shown in his 23.42 win here. Among his three Bendigo victories is the recent Prospector and he enters the series with an imposing record of 18 starts for 13 wins and four placings. Qwara Bale (6) is a dual Group 1 winner as well as the Warrnambool Cup victor. Has been racing without luck but is due to get some clear galloping air and she can test Rebellious. Ballarat Cup finalist Daniel Avocado (1) and Healesville Cup placegetter Hill Top Jonah (8) head the rest.
Heats 5 (race 7) - Ferdinand Boy (5) is an incredible chaser. From 51 starts has won 29 and his burgeoning trophy cabinet includes the Shepparton Classic, Shepparton Cup, Ballarat Cup, Healesville Cup and Sale Sprint Championship. Only bad luck will see him miss a spot in yet another feature race final. Kinson Bale (7) is racing in fine form of late and will make his presence felt. Hennessy (1) is a recent 23.61 winner at the track and Dream Wizard (6) is always a chance in any race he contests.
Heat 6 (race 8) - Former Queenslander Typhoon Sammy (1) has been brilliant in his four starts in Victoria that has seen him post four flying times including 23.43 at Bendigo and has an outstanding record from this draw. Tiggerlong Tonk (8) is a superstar still racing in outstanding fashion in the twilight of his career that sees him push towards $750,000 in stakes. Twenty of his 89 starts have been in black type finals - incredible - and he will be in the mix again. The talented Rilynn Bale (4) and in-form Handsome Rhino (2) are worth considering.
Heat 7 (race 9) - The most open heat of the cup with a host of genuine chances in the race. Perfect Colour (8) has been impressive of late and has beaten or matched it with other favoured runners in this series in recent starts. Has won four from six here and could be a nice value runner. Rocket Boy (7) is well named and even better drawn. Chasing a hat-trick, he has a best time here of 23.61 and will take some beating. Local star Oriental Amber (2), Queensland speedster Mitchell Street (4), rising star Aston Geneve (5) and reigning Bendigo Cup champ Yozo Bale (6) all have the credentials to win this heat.
Heat 8 (race 10) - An interesting contest between the returning star Dr Tucker (2) and the always present Cranbourne Cup winner Jax Bale (3). Dr Tucker, last year's Great Chase winner, has been gallant at his two runs this prep in the Sale Sprint Championship and he could find the front early here. Jax Bale will be right on Dr Tucker's tail and if that scenario eventuates it will be a super contest. Yohan Bale (7) and Black Avenger (6) are capable of running fast times and making their presence felt.
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