Pearcedale trainer Seona Thompson holds all the aces in a bid to capture the biggest race on the track where she was introduced to greyhound racing as a youngster – the Ballarat Cup.
Thompson will line up three of the eight starters, including headline act Aston Bee Dee in the group 2 final at Morshead Park next Saturday night.
The Melbourne Cup winner will be joined by kennel mates Bewildering and Big Flood.
Thompson grew up in Ballarat, attending Alfredton Primary School and Ballarat High School.
Her father Ron Hood was Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club track manager when she was young.
Aston Dee Bee, which ran the fastest time of 25.26 seconds of the eight 450m heats on a rain-affected track on Saturday night, is set to start favourite after draw boxing one.
Thompson said she was unable to split her three runners.
“They’re quality dogs,” she said.
Aston Dee Bee took a little while to warm to the task, but by staying wide and out of trouble from box six had swept to the lead on passing the 390m boxes and went away to salute by three lengths.
1-Aston Dee Bee (trained by Seona Thompson, Pearcedale) – won heat 5 in 25.26sec
2-Ando’s Mac (Anthony Azzopardi, Myrniong) – won heat 1 in 25.46
3-Striker Light (Brett Bravo, Lovely Banks) – won heat 3 in 25.43
4-Jimmy Newob (Barry Fullerton, Red Cliffs) – won heat 2 in 25.34
5-Bewlidering (Seona Thompson, Pearcedale) – won heat 4 in 25.35
6-Big Flood (Seona Thompson, Pearcedale) – won heat 8 in 25.38
7-Judicial Man (Brooke Ennis, Lara) – won heat 7 in 25.48
8-Kouta Mayhem (Jason Sharp, Avalon) – won heat 6 in 25.41
9-Aston Miley (Eddie Lieshout, Drouin West) – second heat 6
10-Chardy (Angela Langton, Anakie) – second heat 2
Aston Dee Bee is one of finalists straight out of the Melbourne Cup run at Sandown on Friday, November 24.
Kouta Mayhem, which was third to Aston Dee Bee in the world’s richest greyhound race, Bewildering (fourth) and Striker Light (sixth) make up the quartet.
First reserve Aston Miley also ran in the Melbourne Cup, in which she was seventh, but had to be satisfied with second in a heat behind Kouta Mayhem.
Only the eight heat winners qualified for a berth in the Ballarat Cup final.
New Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club manager Dan Verberne is rapt with the line-up.
He is anticipating a highly competitive affair given the quality, and with it a big crowd.
Myrniong trainer Anthony Azzopardi is chasing a second consecutive Ballarat Cup with last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Ando’s Mac
Unfortunately his other big hope Raw Ability, which started a short odds-on favourite in heat seven, failed to make the final after suffering a check.
Azzopardi was successful with Zambora Brockie in 2016.