Hill Top Jack Sets Launceston Cup Pace

The Launceston Cup has brought together a sensational line-up of sprinters set to battle it out for next Monday night's $40,000 to-the-winner prize.

Brennan Ryan

25 January 2022

The Group 2 Launceston Cup (515m) has brought together a sensational line-up of sprinters set to battle it out for next Monday night’s $40,000 to-the-winner prize.

Eight heats of the prestigious series were staged on Monday night with time honours secured by the David Geall-trained Hill Top Jack which delivered a dazzling performance running 29.34 in winning his heat impressively.

The black sprinter showed speed to drive through the field and take the run going through to lead and once out in front it was a matter of times and margins as Hill Top Jack defeated Twisted Reality and Aston Virago.

Hill Top Jack notched up his seventeenth career win and qualified for a third group race final with the slashing Launceston effort.

Victorian-based Geall elected to place Hill Top Jack in the care of Nathan and Susan Gittus for his Launceston Cup campaign.

Having trialled around the track last week clocking 29.60, Susan Gittus said post race she was more then surprised by the son of Fernando Bale and Up Hill Jill producing such a faster run.

“We didn’t expect him to show such improvement, he’s had over a week to settle in at home which would be a big benefit to allow the dog to get familiar with new surroundings being away from home,” Susan Gittus commented.

“Drawing inside is crucial especially being such a quality field; coming up with box two does give the dog every chance.”

David Geall and his wife Rose are no strangers to the Launceston Cup having made a final previously when Winfrey Lass (Ashigga – Sheila Blue) finished a gallant fourth behind Akka Boy in 2008.

Tasmanian Hall of Fame trainer David Crosswell had a red-letter night securing three heats of the group 2 series courtesy of littermates Quick Joey Small, Vintage Fame and Classy Lady all successful.

In an incredible training performance by Crosswell, star chaser Quick Joey Small qualified for his second Launceston Cup, running down Don’t Start Now in the closing stages to clock a fast 29.81.

The mighty son of Aston Dee Bee and She’s All Class has made the Launceston track his own, winning ten races over the 515-metre trip, continuing to be capable of mixing it with the best sprinters in the land.

Quick Joey Small has won 24 races overall and trainer David Crosswell couldn’t be more proud of his star chaser.

“Quick Joey Small is capable of winning a big race he just needs luck,” David said.

“To come from near last giving the leader six or seven lengths and still come home over the top, it was a brilliant run, the whole litter have been fantastic.”

Litter brother Vintage Fame won his Launceston Cup heat from box one holding Sassy Galaxy at bay when scoring nicely.

Smart performer Classy Lady gave connections a massive thrill, now providing Crosswell a three-pronged attack on the Launceston Cup, with the trainer declaring that his kennel has got a live chance of taking out the finale.

“I have had a few runners in the Launceston Cup over the years but never have I qualified three runners, this should hopefully give us a good chance to take out the final, all three runners have earned their spots,” he said.

The daughter of Fernando Bale and Amity Class has won 12 races from 37 starts for owner/breeder Trevor Cuttriss.

Crosswell is all too familiar with winning a Launceston Cup scoring with such great stars as Highland Summer (1980), True Vintage (1988) and with late wife Margaret preparing Flash Billy to win the final in 1994.

Other Launceston Cup heat winners included; Run Red Run (30.01s) for Debbie Cannan, Buckle Up Kenzie (29.78s) for Gary Johnson, Loch And Loaded (29.82s) for Anthony Bullock and King Of Calypso (29.78s) for Tim Britton.

Group 2 Ladbrokes Launceston Cup Final

1 King Of Calypso (VIC)
2 Hill Top Jack (VIC)
3 Run Red Run (TAS)
4 Classy Lady (TAS)
5 Loch And Loaded (TAS)
6 Vintage Fame (TAS)
7 Quick Joey Small (TAS)
8 Buckle Up Kenzie (TAS)

Reserves

1st Reserve Twisted Reality (TAS)
2nd Reserve He’s So Cool (TAS)