For And Against: Group 1 Australian Cup Final

ANDREA Dailly certainly knows how to get a runner ready for an Australian Cup and on Saturday night she shoots for her sixth win in the race.

Mick Floyd

25 February 2022

ANDREA Dailly certainly knows how to get a runner ready for an Australian Cup.

With four runners in Saturday night’s final, a win would be her sixth in the MGRA’s flagship race – all coming since 2010.

But which of her quartet will land the $300,000 first prize, or will another take their place on the honour roll?

FIELDS AND FORM THE MEADOWS SATURDAY NIGHT

Here’s a case for and against each of the 2022 Australian Cup finalists.

1. Orlando (Lee Moore)

The case for: It might be a little simplistic to say boxes win big races, but they certainly help. Especially in the case of Orlando, who showed he has the pace to capitalise on the inside draw when running 5.10 in his all-of-the-way heat win. It was the quickest he’s gone early in 10 starts at the Meadows and the inside draw can often bring them out quicker again.

The case against: While Orlando made the group 3 maiden final at the corresponding meeting in 2021, he hasn’t competed in anything higher than mixed grade before running second in a Free For All the week before the Cup heats.

2. Daph’s Ascend (Andrea Dailly)

The case for: While her record appears modest on paper (65 starts 15-12-10), Daph’s Ascend has been racing against some of the country’s best sprinters week in, week out, for the last four months. The Meadows is very much her home ground (30 starts) and has won four of her seven starts from box 2 at the Meadows, including a 29.73 effort against subsequent Melbourne Cup placegetter Kinson Bale last November.

The case against: While she’s been racing against some of the best sprinters in the country, she doesn’t beat them very often. In 28 starts in top grade she’s won just five, though four of those have been at the Meadows (from 12 starts).

3. Zippy Tesla (Andrea Dailly)

The case for: He’s a group 1 winner at the Meadows (the Silver Chief in January) and has as big a motor as any dog in the country. With a clear passage can run serious time, as evidenced by his three sub-29.80 wins at the track.

The case against: “With a clear passage” is the key phrase above, as his complete lack of early speed means he’s going to need luck. The hulking 37kg dog has run 5.10 to the first peg but averages 5.22. Which ever way this race unfolds, Zippy Tesla is going to need luck to win.

4. Lala Kiwi (Andrea Dailly)

The case for: Underrated by many, Lala Kiwi is lining up in her eighth group final and fourth at group 1 level. Her previous group 1s include the Topgun (4th), Melbourne Cup (2nd) and Temlee (7th). She’s the fastest heat winner, carves out reliable slick early splits, and has an excellent record at the track.

The case against: If she doesn’t lead, can she win? She’s won just four of 10 starts from box 4.

5. Immunity (Jason Thompson)

The case for: In four starts since returning from a spell, Immunity has turned in three outstanding performances. She has and excellent record at The Meadows with four wins from six appearances and is trained by one of the country’s premier conditioners.

The case against: While she has shown great talent throughout her career, she has only made one group final (unplaced in the 2020 group 2 Laurels). Unplaced in her only start from box 5.

6. Paddy Wants Pats (Kelly Bravo)

The case for: One of the best young greyhounds in the state, Paddy Wants Pats won the recent Western Districts Derby which is one of the state’s premier form references. Has won half of his 14 starts at The Meadows.

The case against: Box 6. Has won just one of six starts in the green vest (a restricted win heat). Just one Australian Cup winner has jumped from box 6 in the last 21 years.

7. Gypsy Bun (Andrea Dailly)

The case for: The veteran of the field and rank outsider. Is honest, has a good record at the track, and can run a time that is capable of winning this.

The case against: Winless in 11 starts from box 7 and the race map doesn’t bode well.

8. Titan Blazer (Daniel Gibbons)

The case for: The baby of the field and getting better with every start. Has won eight of his last 11 starts, ran third in the group 1 Silver Chief and made the group 2 Warragul Cup final. Placed in nine of 11 at the track and has never finished worst than fourth. His best time at the track is ‘just’ 29.80 but his 29.24 at Sandown suggests he will lower that in time.

The case against: Box 8 is always a tricky box to overcome, though two of the last five Australian Cup winners (Fanta Bale and Hecton Bale) have come from the pink. His average first split at the Meadows of 5.16 is not quick enough to lead but not slow enough to avoid any trouble at the first turn.