Super Estrella Out To End Group Race Hoodoo

DAVID Smith couldn’t think of a better time to end his agonising group race drought than in Saturday's Group 1 Association Cup Final (720m).

Adam Dobbin

8 April 2022

TRAINER David Smith couldn’t think of a better occasion to end his agonising group race drought than in Saturday night’s Group 1 Association Cup Final (720m) at Wentworth Park.

The past couple of seasons has seen the Elderslie conditioner in the thick of things for a number of big race finals, enjoying immense success with his formidable team of greyhounds.

FIELDS AND FORM WENTWORTH PARK SATURDAY NIGHT

But eluding Smith is a breakthrough group race trophy on the mantelpiece, an anomaly he hopes to remedy with Super Estrella in the $75,000-to-the-winner staying feature on Saturday night.

“I think she (Super Estrella) deserves one more than I do,” Smith said.

“She’s made six group race finals and placed in every one of them. It just shows how hard the big ones are to win. She’s always right there, but runs into one or two better on the night.

“This night last year she finished third to Jungle Deuce and Louis Rumble in the New Sensation and here she is now in the Association Cup. There’s not much she can’t do.”

Winner at 23 of her 50 starts with a further 22 placings for $190,383 in prize money, Super Estrella is a bonafide star of both the sprinting and staying ranks.

That brilliance was on full display in last Saturday’s slashing all-the-way heat victory in 42.10, a few lengths off the 41.84 Victorian star Mepunga Ruby posted when defeating Zipping Kansas in the first heat.

And as impressed as Smith was with his star stayer’s performance, it was the next morning that provided even further encouragement that the daughter of Fernando Bale was right in this week’s star-studded finale.

“It was her first 720 metre run this year so I was worried she might be a bit flat the next morning,” Smith said.

“But she was bouncing around and came through the run great. She’s got a good draw in two so she’ll get her chance to lead. Whether she can win or not will depend on Zipping Kansas.

“If he finds some trouble from the draw and we can get a break then we have a chance. But he’s a freak of a dog and obviously Mepunga Ruby is very good as well. If we get beat there’s no excuses though.”

Saturday night’s Association Cup tilt is just Super Estella’s fifth run in 2022 after being sidelined last year when coming on season.

But the time off could well prove a blessing in disguise as she heads towards some big money races in the coming weeks and months.

“I rushed her a bit to get her ready for the big race at Dubbo and probably pushed her a bit for this race but she’ll get plenty out of last week’s run,” Smith added.

“I don’t think too much about the group race hoodoo but it would be nice to land one. But as I said earlier, it’s more for the recognition of the dogs themselves. Super Estrella really deserves one.”

TAB Fixed Odds have Zipping Kansas at $1.90 from his box five draw ahead of Mepunga Ruby (box 4) at $3.90. Super Estrella is on the next line at $6.50 rounding out the chances under double figure odds.