Betfair greyhound InFormer, The Form Hound, predicts that if all the dogs that qualified for the Final of Thursday night's Group 1 RSN Sandown Cup run the same as they did in their heats, Miata will win by a country mile...
Miata (@ Betfair odds of 1.24), a champion West Aussie, led throughout the heat to score in a mind-boggling track record time of 41.17 to remain unbeaten at the trip and take her career tally to 24 wins in just 27 starts.
The Paul Stuart-trained half-miler posted two sectional records in her all-the-way demolition heat victory where she won by eight and a quarter lengths. A daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Winsome Bluebird, she has never been beaten in a staying race, and barring bad luck should remain that way after this $100,000 event in which she'll probably be a very short-priced favourite.
Looking for a danger, well, any of the remaining seven are capable of winning if anything were to happen to the favourite, and the fact that Irma Bale might be out in front brings her right into this race. In her heat, she led throughout and her sectionals were 6.03, 15.60 and 30.44 compared to Miata's 6.08, 15.56 and 30.15, while her overall time was 41.84.
A member of the great Bartrim Bale and Amelia Bale litter, Irma Bale is only a novice at staying, so you'd expect more improvement yet. Her heat win was her first at the trip, which followed a totally luckless debut effort, and in between she was runner-up in the Anniversary Cup at Angle Park.
Trained by Graeme Bate, Irma Bale already has three track records to her name as well as some sectional records and you can bet she'll give a great display for a long way.
Kiwi stayer Thrilling Brat has already won a Group 1 in this country and two starts back ran Miata to a head in the Lizrene Classic, the closest any greyhound has come to toppling the "champ" at staying.
The Karen Walsh-trained chaser also was runner-up to Miata in the Zoom Top, and in his heat came from a "mile" back to run second to Double Jeopardy in 42.07, beaten a length and a half.
It will be interesting to see where the son of Hallucinate and Thrilling Faith can settle as there are four other stayers in the race that get back and run on. The brindle chaser likes to use plenty of the track, and if he gets out where he wants to be, with the promise of a fast pace up front, he should get home hard to be a great podium chance.
The John Finn-trained Vintage Blend has huge wraps on her and qualified by being runner-up to Miata, an effort that just happened to make her the second fastest qualifier.
Her heat run was her first start on the track and she got a long way back early before putting on an amazing mid-race charge to get in contention before battling away to go down by eight-and-a-quarter lengths, making her over the line time of 41.69.
The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Frosty Fruits is like Irma Bale, only a novice at this caper, so you'd expect her to improve, and with a clear run she'll be vying for a trifecta berth.
In a slightly quirky happening, three of the finalists here have the same PB of 41.84, Irma Bale as already mentioned as well as Double Jeopardy for Jeff Britton and the Len Ketelaar-trained Grandeur.
Making up the eight are Rookie Rebel winner Lektra Jay for Andrea Dailly and NSW stayer He's my future from the powerful Harry Sarkis kennel. That chaser was runner-up to Miata in the Group 1 Association Cup, beaten two-and-three-quarter lengths by Miata.