GIPPSLAND’S premier night of greyhound racing will take place at the Sale Greyhound Complex this Saturday night.
The Sale Cup final will be part of the traditional Boxing Day night meeting, which also includes a strong undercard.
Four heats of the cup were run on Sunday night with competitive racing providing eight evenly-matched hopefuls for the $107,000 650 metre group one final.
In total, the finalists have won $1 million in stake money.
In what is the most even Sale Cup in memory, not one of the finalists could be denied a winning chance. The heats were run on a rain-affected track, which resulted in slower than normal times.
The leader in the final looks likely to be New South Wales visitor No Donuts, with Gippsland hope Ring the Bell in a forward position from the outset. The suitable wide draws for Chrichton Bale and Full on Bling should put both greyhounds in good positions with 400 metres to go, leaving the strong stayers plenty of room to make their runs.
All finalists, with the exception of Chrichton Bale and Full on Bling, have raced competitively in group race finals in the past. The most experienced of these is Lady Toy, who has competed in eight group one finals for six minor placings.
The three main supporting events are the Christmas Gift, Summer Cup and the Rising Stars.
The Christmas Gift has bought one of the best fields of quality sprinters seen on the Sale circuit.
Devon Meadows-trained Danyos Slappy has won eight of his only nine starts at Sale and has drawn his favourite box, number 8. In what will be a mad scamper to the first turn, Danyos Slappy should use the box to advantage and race to the front.
Hardest to beat will be Aston Bolero and To The Galos.
The Summer Cup, over 520m, has another class field.
Patrons witnessed one of the best runs seen at Sale in the heats when the Jason Thompson-trained Xtreme Knocka picked himself up off the canvas and came from last for a narrow victory. Xtreme Knocka is much better drawn out wide in the final and should be hard to beat in a very good field.
The youngsters on the way up are catered for with the $10,000 to the winner Rising Stars final.
The most impressive heat winners were Leggo Rose and Arby. Both greyhounds are more than capable of winning the race which may well go to the dog that receives the clearest run, which could be Revelling, who could miss the expected crowding on the inside.
First race on the 12-race program commences at 7.05pm.
1. Come on Fantasy: trainer Joe Borg (Maryborough)
2. Lithgow Panther: Rob Britton (Lara)
3. Ring the Bell: Gerry O’Keefe (Neerim South)
4. Bourbski Fever: Andrea Dailly (Anakie)
5. No Donuts: Brad Canty (NSW)
6. Chrichton Bale: Mark Delbridge (Balliang)
7. Full on Bling: John Westerlo (Clyde)
8. Lady Toy: Jim Psaila (Little River)
9 (first reserve). Bells Are Ringin: Gerry O’Keefe (Neerim South)
10 (second reserve). Spring Trail: Jamie Ennis (Lara)
1. Marungi Choice
2. Hot Patootie
3. Mr Make Believe
4. Aston Bolero
5. Megan Keeping
6. Shared Bonus
7. To the Galos
8. Danyo’s Slappy
Reserve: Black Driftwood
1. Starlight Jack
2. Lakeview Harley
4. One Cup Short
5. Memphis Dream
6. Tiger Whelan
8. Xtreme Knocka
Reserves: Panic Station and Nifty Neveelk
2. Leggo Rose
4. Sir Tex
5. River Crossing
6. Milla Rose
7. Aston Shiraz
Reserves: Sharni Rose and Malady Aubrey