Rippin’ Sam became the first greyhound to book his place in the Crocmedia National Distance Championship with a breath-taking last-to-first victory in his heat at Sandown Park tonight.
The group 1 winning son of Fernando Bale showed little early speed, settling last and spotting the leader 10 lengths when returning past the 715m boxes. But he soon made his move, picking his way through the field before he unleashing his customary finishing burst to win by 4½ lengths in 41.32 – the fifth fastest time ever recorded over the distance.
“He gives you heart failure doesn’t he? But we all know he can run when he gets a clear path,” said handler Brendan Pursell.
“He gets on the outside of dogs and doesn’t know whether to go forward or back and sort of loses his spot. But once he gets to the fence and gets going he really puts the foot down.”
The win broke a run of six outs during which he placed twice at group level at Albion Park and finish behind his litter mate, staying sensation Tornado Tears, on five occasions. But a return to Sandown Park saw Rippin’ Sam return to his very best.
“I don’t think Albion Park suits him that well with the way the track is with the short straights, he never really got into the race up there. At the Meadows the other night he had no luck, most of it his own doing.
“We all know he can run but he just chases his brother all time, Tornado Tears out the front and him out the back which can make it hard.”
He will again meet Tornado Tears in next Thursday night’s Victorian final after the RSN Sandown Cup winner maintained his undefeated record over the Sandown ‘half-mile’ by winning the night’s other Distance heat.
The $1.10 favourite was forced to work hard for the victory though. He jumped cleanly before being beaten for early pace by former Irish chaser Flying Flyer and waited patiently for a gap on the rail. When it opened, he took full advantage and stormed to the lead to win by 2½ lengths over the fast finishing Dyna Chancer in 42 seconds.
Later in the night, Seona Thompson prepared a winning double in the Crocmedia National Sprint Championship heats with Big Flood and Poke The Bear winning the night’s opening heats. The underrated Lila Bale won for the third time in her last four starts while Shadale caused an upset when winning the final heat of the night.
All state finals of the Crocmedia Nationals will be held on Thursday 9 August in a feast of top grade greyhound racing from around the country. A special showcase presentation of the evening will shown on Sky Racing 2 (free access for all all Foxtel subscribers) with all races simulcast on Sky Racing 1, and RSN will also be offering in depth coverage of the night’s racing.
The winner of each state final will head to Sandown Park on Friday 24 August for the $105,000 group 1 Crocmedia National Championship finals.
Box draws are complete for next week’s Victorian Sprint and Distance deciders.
— Sandown Greyhounds (@sandowndogs) August 2, 2018
Rippin’s Sam s devastating in his Crocmedia National Distance heat
Paw note: The first two in the Victorian Distance final will represent the state in the National Championship. Rippin’ Sam has guaranteed a berth in the National final after earning the ‘Wildcard’ as the highest ranked Greyhound Clubs Australia chaser that has made a state final. Further details of the ‘Wildcard’ and its implications in the state finals will be confirmed after the completion of all state finals on Saturday night