If ever a greyhound deserved a Group 1 victory, it would be Tomac Bale.
The son of Dyna Lachlan and Princess Bale has been a model of consistency throughout his 28 start career, already claiming the Group 2 Launching Pad at Sandown Park and, more recently, a Group Listed Sprint event at the same venue on Melbourne Cup night.
However, the Mark Delbridge trained speedster is yet to crack it for an illustrious Group 1 title, despite competing in four finals at the highest level, including finishing second in both the Group 1 National Sprint Championship behind Xylia Allen and the Group 1 Adelaide Cup behind local hero Ernie Bung Arrow.
Tomac Bale (currently $2.60 with TAB.com.au Fixed Odds) gets another chance to collect his Group 1 trophy on Thursday night when he contests the Sky Racing Brisbane Cup at Albion Park.
The Victorian qualified for the $75,000 to the winner final with a phenomenal victory in last Thursday night's heats. Beginning brilliantly from box one, Tomac Bale sprinted straight to the front of a classy field and never looked in danger, stretching out to score by nine lengths in a scintillating 29.63s - easily the best time of the six heats.
"I didn't expect him to go so fast, he had only gone 30.30 odd the last time he was there, so when the time came up I was more than happy," said Delbridge, who trains at Balliang, around 50 kilometres from Melbourne.
After a run of bad box draws in feature finals, including his last start at the track from box eight in the Group 1 Winter Carnival Cup, Delbridge is pleased to see his kennel star drawn closer to the fence in box two and is hopeful this will enable him to race prominently in the early stages
"He drew the pink in the (Winter Carnival Cup) final and got wiped out on the first corner. I am happy with the draw as long as he comes out like he did last week. I am hoping to see him in front early like last week."
Fellow Victorians Xylia Allen ($2.50 favourite), Farmor Las Vegas ($6.50) and Kiss Me Ketut ($9.50) also qualified for the final, with the rest of the field made up of local hopes.
While he considers all runners a threat, Delbridge is especially mindful of five-time group winner Xylia Allen which will exit box seven. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale ran down Tomac Bale when he was leading the Group 1 National Sprint Championship in August.
Kiss Me Ketut comes into the series after his most recent campaign in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup. While he had no luck in the final, David Burnett's consistent speedster is more than capable of scoring a Group 1 victory - his biggest obstacle to overcome this Thursday, the awkward box six draw.
Farmor Las Vegas is racing in fine form after recently taking out the Group 3 Silver Bullet at The Meadows for in-form mentor Robert Britton. While he is not well suited by box five, the son of Knocka Norris has proven on multiple occasions he can overcome a poor draw, courtesy of some fast beginnings.
Although he is technically trained in NSW, Edith Hancock's Battistuzzi ($9.50) has done the majority of his racing in the Sunshine State with his heat effort producing a new personal best time. Beginning well from box six, the lanky son of Collision and Dulcinea, assumed the lead around the first turn, kicking clear to score by one and a half lengths over Top Story in 29.77s. With just 17 starts to his name, Battistuzzi is the most inexperienced of the eight runners, but he looks well suited in box three and should get the opportunity to put his best paw forward.
Captain Clarrie ($41) caused an upset winning his heat at double figure odds and will have to do plenty of work to land the cash in the final after being drawn wide in box eight. While he did clock the slowest time of the six heat winners, the son of Elite And Classy is always thereabouts and is very honest, having won 15 of his 38 starts, with a best winning time of 30.06s over the track and distance.
Local runners Top Story ($9.50) and Hawko's Mistake ($31) get their shot at Group 1 glory after they finished as the two fastest seconds in their heats. Top Story began well from box three in heat one on Thursday, but was unable to hold out Battistuzzi around the first turn, while Hawko's Mistake was a gallant second to Farmor Las Vegas. They have drawn in boxes one and four respectively.
Dave Carlson will be live trackside at Albion Park for the Group 1 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup which is Race 8 on the card and is scheduled to jump at 8.52pm (Queensland Time).
Listed - East Cape Guineas
G3 - Kings Cup
G2 - Resource Recycling Superstars Championship
G3 - Lamb & Hayward 4&5yo Trotting Championship
G2 - Storer Motors Nz Trotting Oaks