Ladbrokes Bulli Gold Cup (G2)

"Hardest Bulli Gold Cup Final I've Seen"

By Simon Orchard
Rising star Zipping Megatron burst back onto the scene with a near track record performance in the Heats of the Group 2 Ladbrokes Bulli Gold Cup (472m) on Sunday evening.

The Jason Magri-trained phenom clocked a BON time of 25.81 to open the preliminaries of the $40,000 series, with the win even more impressive considering he hasn’t raced since November last year.

His final time just 0.03 outside the 25.78 mark set by joint record holders Aston Dee Bee and Mowski Star.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more from him, he went super. I expect times like that from him and his last three trials on the circle have been really good, almost record runs at Gosford and Richmond,” Magri said.

“I wouldn’t normally throw a dog with five starts in to a race like this but I bit the bullet with him purely because of the times he was running. I just want him to hold up because there’s plenty of good races to Chase and he’s one of the better dogs I’ve had come through, that’s for sure.”

The son of Superior Panama notching his fifth straight win in what was a welcome sight for greyhound racing fans after the 2023 Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase Maiden winner was forced to miss last month’s National Derby due to injury.

Group 1 Paws Of Thunder placegetter, Nangar Larry, finished 1.75 lengths behind in second spot and also qualified for next Friday’s final.

In Heat 2, Comet A Cost made it race-to-race double for the Magri kennel as he continued his resurgent 2024 season.

The lightly raced three-year-old bullocking his way out of Box 1 and running them into the ground in a smart 25.88 effort. 

“He’s gone exceptional and to do what he’s done after a back muscle injury, I can’t praise the dog enough. He’s got the pink in the final and hopefully he can take off around the outside of them. He’s going great and I know there’s a nice race in him, we’ve just got to find it,” Magri added.

It was Comet A Cost’s third win this year and comes just three weeks after running fourth to Dutch Riot in the Paws Of Thunder final. 

2024 Gosford Gold Cup champion, Good Odds Cobber, held on for second after a torrid run in transit and will take his place in his third feature final of the year.

Heat 3 saw reigning Maitland Cup king, Nangar Jim, reaffirm his love of the one bend tracks with a handy winning effort of 26.10.

Trainer Joe McFadyen overjoyed with the result after an arduous period of racing for his youngster.

“I’m not complaining but I haven’t been able to work him the way I normally do with so many feature races on. We went from the Maitland Cup towards the Gosford Cup and then we had the [National] Derby as well, so it’s been nice to get back to some routine over the last few weeks,” McFadyen said.

“He came out nice and just accelerated like he does. Quantifiable loomed up around the home turn and looked a danger but he just kept kicking. He’s got that electrifying early pace and that will put him in a lot of races, this final is another feather in the dogs cap.”

Zipping Remus, the 2023 Vic Peters Classic winner, flew home late to nab second spot for Minnie Finn.

And in the fourth and final Heat of the evening, Got The Feature beat home Victorian visitor and pre-race favourite, Swindled.

The son of Fernando Bale out of Sheez My Chicki led all the way in his 26.11 triumph, giving trainer David Smith reason to smile after a difficult few weeks battling illness.

“I had a detached retina and macula about a month ago. I was driving to Goulburn on a Friday but by the time I got there, I couldn’t see out of one eye. Nothing hurt though so I raced five of the dogs and drove home,” Smith said.

“By the time I got back, I had to leave Mum to do the dogs and go to the emergency ward. I ended up across four different hospitals, spent my birthday at Waratah Hospital and only got the OK to drive again last Wednesday.”

Smith delighted with Got The Feature’s Heat performance but happy to be “a realist” when asked about his final chances.

“He needs a miracle next week as it’s the hardest Bulli Gold Cup final I’ve seen since I’ve been doing the dogs. But he’s drawn Box 1…he needs a head start to be honest…but he needed Box 1 to be a chance and if he hangs to the rail he might get some luck,” Smith said.

“He’s run 26.11 in the Heats but a lot of those dogs break 26 regularly. He’s been in a few group finals now and he’s only just turned three so he’s a pretty handy dog, he’s just a bit off the really good ones.”

The final of the 2024 Ladbrokes Bulli Gold Cup, worth $40,000-to-the-winner, will be held on Friday, February 16.