GROUP 1-winning chaser Black Mumbo can cap an outstanding career if victorious in the Warragul Cup Final (460 metres) on Saturday.
The son of Stagger and My Path Princess had to pull out all stops when winning a heat in his usual gutsy fashion, seeing off legitimate challengers to score in 25.86.
Not only did the black chaser work hard to cross to the front, he then held his line on the rails to stave off an encounter with the speedy Jackson Benz, eventually pulling away to win by three lengths.
Trainer Anthony Karabitsakos was understandably pleased with the veteran chaser’s performance against emerging Group-class chasers.
“He’s obviously a very experienced dog these days, so it was a good effort to hold off some of those youngsters. He will probably need to go quicker to win the final be we know what he is capable of so we’re hoping he can go well,” said the Keysborough trainer, who famously dedicated Black Mumbo’s Group 1 Harrison-Dawson win to his late father.
Karabitsakos is hoping his greyhound’s favourable box draw will give him the boost needed to take on the likes of Melbourne Cup winner Aston Dee Bee and impressive heat winner Jimmy Newob.
“We are obviously happy with box one, mainly because he finally gets a good draw in a feature final,” added Karabitsakos.
“It certainly takes him longer to recover as a four-year-old and he has lost a little bit of his early speed, but he can surprise us when he’s up against the best chasers in the land.”
Karabitsakos also explained his chaser’s record of two wins from his last 13 starts – stats not usually associated with the quality chaser.
“He’s had a problem with his white cell count so he’s been running a bit flat more recently, but we’re hopeful he’s on the other side of that issue, especially when the final comes around on Saturday.”
Black Mumbo turned 4 in November last year, but there are no plans on retirement just yet.
“The one thing about him is he absolutely loves to compete so there is no doubt he will let me know when he is done.”
Aston Dee Bee – a winner of his last eight races, including victory in the Melbourne and Ballarat Cups and Sandown Shootout – has been installed the $2.50 favourite after a best of night victory last week, recording 25.49.
His heat win was two and a half lengths outside his track record at Warragul, but the son of Barcia Bale and Aston Elle is clearly the in-form greyhound in Australia after recent achievements.