TAB Melbourne Cup heats night is widely regarded the best night of racing of the year, and the 2020 edition showed why.
With a berth in the $630,000 group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup on the line, the sport’s brightest stars shined to set up an epic renewal of the world’s greatest greyhound race.
Shootout champion Tiggerlong Tonk set the time standard with a brilliant 29.16 gallop, and will be joined in Friday night’s final by Simon Told Helen, Shima Shine, Hard Style Rico and Tommy Shelby, with less than two lengths separating the star quintet.
Lucy’s Milo, Tough Tears and Zipping Sullivan round out arguably the best Cup field in the race’s storied 65 year history.
Here’s a recap of all the action.
Heat 1 – Shima Shine (29.192)
The TAB Topgun winner looked to be the big winner following the heats draw and was backed accordingly, unseating the country’s number 1 ranked greyhound Simon Told Helen for favouritism for the series, and landing a number of big bets in winning his heat. In the last 20 years, only Fernando Bale ($1.10) and Whiskey Assassin ($1.20) have won a heat at a shorter price than Shima Shine’s $1.30, and it was an easy watch for those who took the short odds
Heat 2 – Lucy’s Milo (29.570)
Lucy’s Milo gave Andrea Dailly an early double as she aims for a third TAB Melbourne Cup victory. The son of their 2015 Cup winner Dyna Double One took full advantage of box 1 to hold off Jim Zarr Dashian by a head in a thrilling finish.
Heats 3 – Tough Tears (29.699)
The biggest upset of the night came in the first leg of the quaddie, with Tough Tears saluting at $44. In what shaped as the most even race of the night, Tough Tears uncharacteristically speared the lids to lead clearly early, and after being headed down the back straight, switched to the outside to storm home and into the TAB Melbourne Cup.
Heat 4 – Tiggerlong Tonk (29.162)
Punters were back in the game when Tiggerlong Tonk (pictured, top) stormed into the world’s greatest greyhound race. After setting a new race record in winning the Shootout, his new found confidence was on full display as he charged into the final as the fastest qualifier.
Heat 5 – Simon Told Helen (29.260)
There has barely been a group 1 final without the country’s top ranked sprinter since he was first reserve for this race last year, so it’s only fitting that he takes his place in the country’s greatest race. He wasn’t brilliant away, but there isn’t a greyhound in the land that musters speed the way he does and that brilliance was on full display when winning his heat by 5 1/2 lengths.
Heat 6 – Tommy Shelby (29.209)
The star Western Australian with a cult following nationwide dismissed any questions over his standing as one of the country’s premier sprinters. After being one of the last away at box rise, the son of Fernando Bale showed toughness to charge his way through the first turn, assume the lead down the back, and power to the line in a time that can win the final.
Heat 7 – Hard Style Rico (29.171)
Trainer Luckie Karabitsakos has always been bullish about his charge’s ability, he just need a wide box to show it. Presented with box 8 in his heat, he was proven right as he slashed two lengths off his previous best time at the track.
Heat 8 – Zipping Sullivan (29.625)
The bookmakers got a bit back with Zipping Sullivan taking out the final heat. Riding a number of bumps to cross and lead through the first turn, Zipping Sullivan held on by the barest of margins in a blanket finish. The tears from trainer Deb Coleman showing just what it means to make the final of the world’s greatest greyhound race!
The box draw for the $630,000 group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup will be conducted LIVE on Thrill Of The Chase on 7TWO from 10am on Sunday morning.
TAB installed Tiggerlong Tonk and Shima Shine $3.50 equal favourites in the pre-box draw market, with the five leading contenders $5 or less.
The TAB Melbourne Cup final will be run on Friday 27th November.
Click here for full results.