Bago Set For Bold Cup Showing

Bago Bye Bye takes on the mighty Tornado Tears and Poco Dorado in an absorbing opening heat of the Group 1 Association Cup at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.

Adam Dobbin

11 April 2019

WHEN it comes to distance debuts at Group 1 level, well, they don’t come any tougher.

That’s why Darren Russell is as keen as anyone to see how Bago Bye Bye matches up against the might of Tornado Tears in the opening heat of the Group 1 Association Cup this Saturday night at Wentworth Park.

“I’d love to give you a big leg up for him but how can you when you’re taking on the champ?” said Russell on Wednesday.

Fastest qualifier for the Group 1 Australian Cup in early March, the Group 1 New Zealand Cup winner couldn’t have been more impressive at his distance debut at Albion Park on March 28, defeating Hara’s Dazza by a mammoth 12 ¼ lengths in a flying 41.46 for the 710m.

The time was just four lengths outside Tornado Tears’ 41.20 track record, set in June 2018.

“I’d much rather be taking him on at Albion Park,” declared Russell, remaining cautiously optimistic about his prospects this weekend.

“I’d say my only hope is if I can land on the lure and if Tornado Tears finds a bit of trouble. The main thing is we get through to the final because there’s usually a bit more traffic in those – I’m keen to see how he goes.

“This race was never really on the radar to be truthful but after he went so well last start he really forced my hand. There hasn’t been any distance races for him back home either which has been frustrating but I’ve been keeping him up to the mark in trials. He’s ready to go Saturday.”

Drawn box six for the opening Association Cup heat, with a vacant draw to his inside, Bago Bye Bye has been installed a $6.00 third favourite with Bet365, with Tornado Tears for Rob Britton a clear $1.40 favourite from box two.

Poco Dorado – the Queen of Wentworth Park – is a $4.20 chance from her ideal box eight draw.

“I took him down (to Wenty) Tuesday for a box-to-box from the 720m and he went well, Wenty is a tricky joint to get around so I was keen for him to have a look before Saturday,” added Russell.

“I’ve always thought he’d make a good stayer and it didn’t surprise me what he did at Albion Park. Nothing he does really surprises me. It’s a shame the three top elects for the series are in the same heat but that’s the way it goes, with just the two heats it’s not easy keeping them apart.

“He can be a bit hit and miss early so hopefully he can get to the front and give himself a chance. It’s his first start at the track and we’re not taking on fifth graders, instead the best dog in the country.”

The second Association Cup heat on Saturday night sees Victorian galloper Dyna Chancer make his Sydney distance debut, tackling high-flying litter-mates Veloce Nero and Blue Moon Rising for John Finn, winner of the race back in 2004 with Irinka Barbie.