Sandown Park Thursday 21st May

We find ourselves once again looking Down Under for top class greyhound racing action. Sandown Park is where everyone will be looking on Thursday morning, not only for the $50,000 Harrison-Dawson final, but also for the 4 heats of the Sandown Cup.


Harrison-Dawson Final at 10.49am

Last week’s equivalent competition for bitches, the Sapphire Crown, was won by the impressive Black Opium, but she didn’t have things completely her own way and was made to work hard for the victory. The boys will be looking to put on a similar show here, where the unique-looking SIMON TOLD HELEN (T3) looks likely to be well fancied. He bounced back from his Warrnambool Cup defeat in devastating fashion when beating SHORT PORK (T5) by 5½ lengths in last week’s heat, clocking an impressive 29.21s time in the process. He wasn’t electric out of the traps but showed good early pace to get across to the rail and lead into the first bend. The writing was on the wall for the rest of the runners as Simon Told Helen bounded away, looking as though he is back to his best. But the fastest heat was actually won by JAX BALE (T7) in a blistering 29.14s.

Jax Bale was in Trap 2 last week with a vacant trap on his inside, the trap 7 draw here is a big worry. TIGGERLONG TONK (T6) was in behind Jax Bale last week, he was well fancied to take the victory but after a less than average start, he showed good strength to battle his way through to a share of second place by the time they reached the first bend. But Jax Bale had already pulled around 4 lengths clear and Tiggerlong Tonk could not chase his down before the line.

Tiggerlong Tonk has been drawn in Trap 6 again for this final and will need to trap well and avoid trouble if he wants to get involved. VIVATAR (T1) has been drawn in the same trap that he won his heat from, which will suit him perfectly. In the heat, Vivatar went to the bend with LEON BALE (T2), who lines up alongside him again here, but showed good skill to hug the rail and enter the back straight at the head of field. He shrugged off a challenge from a rival entering the 3rd bend and showed no signs of tiring as he stretched away to a comfortable enough victory. The same heat saw LIGHTENING BLAST (T4) finishing with a wet sail to snatch 2nd from Leon Bale in a photo.

Lightening Blast will not have enjoyed been drawn out in Trap 7 last week, Trap 4 is better for him, but he still has work to do leaving the boxes. MEPUNGA PEGASUS (T8) put a big effort in when qualifying from his heat and the wide draw may suit him if the traps inside him turn left leaving the boxes, but he will need to improve again to trouble this field.

Sandown Cup Heats

The 715m Sandown Cup gets underway at 9.27am, where we see the Sandown Park 715m track record holder and The Meadows Super Stayers champion HERE’S TEARS (T7) line up alongside last week’s impressive 595m winner ROCKSTAR BEAV (T8). The latter is already proven over 715m and does come here in better form than Here’s Tears. But Here’s Tears has been facing much tougher opposition lately, notably Mister Harlewood (Heat 4), and he will take all the beating if he brings that kind of form. HE SHALL POWER (T3) has shown good middle-race pace recently and ran on strongly for 2nd last time out over 595m, this extra 120m looks like it will suit him nicely. MEPUNGA SPECTRE (T5) did beat Rockstar Beav last time out over 650m at Warrnambool, but may not want the extra 65m here.

The second heat, due off at 9.49am, looks to be the opposite of the first heat, with all the pace coming from traps 1 and 2. LAST HURRAH (T1) was second to Rockstar Beav (Heat 1) last week over 595m and steps up to the 715m trip for the first time here. He is not always the fastest leaving the traps and will need to avoid getting squeezed at the first bend. STEINBRENNER (T2) was behind Last Hurrah last week and is another one making his 715m debut, but he did contest the 650m Sale Cup on Boxing Day, beating Rockstar Beav home on that occasion. CAPTAIN JAKE (T5) ran well in defeat when caught in the dying strides by the impressive Rajasthan over 595m last week, but they were well clear of the rest of the field and he may enjoy this step up in trip. TALULAH BALE (T6) ran well in last week’s Sapphire Crown final, but this looks a step too far for her and is probably one to avoid.

Heat 3 looks to be a cracking race. Due off at 10.10am, CAPTAIN DYNAMITE (T4) runs for UK based syndicate owners Blue Tick Racing. The so called “peoples dog” is a real fan favourite and announced his arrival on the staying scene in style with an impressive 9½ length victory on the 10th of May. He has had a couple of weeks off track to get him ready for this, but has to overcome a tough draw and will need to establish a good position in the short run to the first bend. The danger will come from TRUE DETECTIVE (T1) who has been running well at Sandown without winning. But you don’t have to look very far back to see him beating Here’s Tears (Heat 1) at The Meadows in the heats of the 725m Super Stayers competition, although Here’s Tears did on go to reverse the form a week later in the final. BANGA (T6) is an experienced stayer with all the ability to compete with these but will need a lot of luck from trap 6. ELLA ENCHANTED (T7) has been beaten by a couple of these in recent weeks but does hold a PB of 41.49s which, if she can navigate a path through runners, would be more than enough to put her in the mix.

The final heat is due off at 10.28am and all eyes will be on antepost favourite MISTER HARLEWOOD (T1). Unbeaten in his last 5 starts, Mister Harlewood has been setting Sandown alight recently, and is the one they all have to beat here. He has the benefit of being drawn in trap 1 and will be looking to hug the rail and lead early-on in the race. If he does get loose in front, there are not many in this field that would have any chance of catching him. The race for 2nd will likely be between ZIPPING TRUVY (T2) and BLAZING CARTER (T3). Zipping Truvy has never won a race of this distance before, but was an impressive 9 length winner over 618m at Bathurst in April. Blazing Carter has been second to Mister Harlewood on her previous 2 starts. Having been beaten by 5½ lengths at The Meadows then 1½ lengths at Sandown, she will be trying to close the deficit once again and could be a good selection for a forecast bet.

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