Brett Honey’s Sandgroper Preview

After many months of hype, drama and pure excitement, the inaugural running of The Sandgroper is finally here! Race organisers would have to be thrilled with the stellar line up this slot race has produced, and it’s wonderful for the local industry to have 5 representatives racing for the $300,000 to the winner prize. We’ll look at both the local and interstate contenders in this preview, before a final word on who I think will be taking home the richest race in WA chasing history.

The Locals

WA dogs dominated the Perth Cup series despite some more than credible opposition coming across. Elite Machine is no doubt the top seed going into this race, but opinions are divided on how well he is suited here in box 8. I thought the Lew Dorsa Memorial final last Saturday was a perfect audition from Elite Machine. He handled box 7 beautifully, staying nice and wide and had too much in the tank late for a game Crumble Monelli. That was an outstanding field of WA dogs, and I think he can do something similar from the pink this Saturday and take all sorts of stopping.

Crumble Monelli (box 4) I thought was also very good last week. He has been leading his races for fun and with Couch Surfer on his outside and Wow She’s Fast underneath, he will get room to operate for those first few strides which is precisely what he needs. What’s promising for Crumble was that he managed to hold off Electrified late and got his run home down to 11.40. He can give a lot of cheek out in front.

Electrified (box 7) has been a model of consistency in recent months but the draw does him no favours at all here. Fernando Mick (box 6) is a very good beginner, who stays dead straight out of the boxes whilst Elite Machine will be showing his early pace from the outside. I’m just not sure where Electrified will get to and for that reason, I think he will have his work cut out.

Couch Surfer will be looking to produce a Yachi Bale effort to win the Sandgroper (if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and watch last year’s Melbourne Cup). Whilst he will need a ton of luck to get the cash here, one positive is that he won’t be concerning himself with the early speed battle up front and he can pounce on any trouble that is ahead of him. Can certainly run into the minors.

Momentum is an absolute warrior, and the draw gives him every chance to produce his best. Boxes 2 and 3 aren’t known as much for their early pace and punters could be forgetting that Momentum can begin very well. If he produces that 5.49 early, which he showed during the Perth Cup series, he could be camped on them, and we know he is very strong to the line.

The Interstate Raiders

Out of the three interstate runners engaged in The Sandgroper, there’s been no shortage of hype around Victa Damian and Wow She’s Fast, but I happen to see things much differently.

There’s an element of trust to be had if you’re backing either of those two. Victa Damian has trialled well here, going 29.63 on Cup heat night. The main concern I have with him is where he gets to at the first bend. With Crumble crossing over from box 4 and Momentum punching up from the red, I see him getting too far back here and his tendency to go around dogs doesn’t do him any favours.

Wow She’s Fast is the pin up girl for greyhound racing and it’s wonderful to have her in WA for the first running of this race. She’s won the only other two slot races to be held in Australia, which is the key point her backers have made in assessing her chances. Box 3 looks good on paper, but the same problems that Victa Damian will encounter applies to this girl as well. I can’t see her leading, and by the time she finds some galloping room, the likes of Fernando Mick, Elite Machine and Crumble could be off and gone.

Fernando Mick is a marvel and in his 107th start, has the opportunity to become a million-dollar dog. He won the Australian Cup back in February and has begun beautifully his last two starts back in Victoria. He didn’t get the start right in his only attempt at Cannington, but the look at the track can only help. He runs a nice straight line out of the boxes so the green rug will be no problems and make no mistake, if he leads, they’ll have to be very good to catch him. I thought out of the three interstaters, Fernando Mick will have the greatest chance of producing his best.

The Verdict: Elite Machine (numbers 8,4,6,1)

I think Elite Machine will do everything right from box 8 and be too good in the 1st running of The Sandgroper. His preparation has been faultless, he handles wide draws perfectly, and a few of his key rivals may not get the race run to suit. Crumble Monelli is the most likely leader for mine and given he his getting slightly stronger week by week, is an undeniable chance. Fernando Mick has to be respected from the middle draw, with his early and mid-race dash taking him a long way. I’d love to see Momentum give this an almighty shake and he can do just that from the red.

What a marvellous race this is going to be and if you’re in the Perth area, make sure you get down to Greyhounds WA Cannington for will be a historic night of chasing!!