BLACK Magic Opal is the hottest greyhound in the country right now and if successful in tomorrow night’s $500,000 Melbourne Cup he will deliver trainer Jason Thompson back-to-back cups.
Following three successive track record runs on Victoria’s provincial circuit, Black Magic Opal ran the fastest time (29.41sec) among the eight heats last Thursday, albeit only just, as an electrifying record first section (4.90sec) was preceded by a moderate last section, which saw him hang on by just half a length to the fast-finishing Gold Town.
Some experts rate Black Magic Opal as the fastest greyhound Australia has produced since Brett Lee, and the Melbourne Cup provides him with an opportunity to show that he can cut it against the very best.
Among the seven greyhounds who will be trying to deny Black Magic Opal victory is Peter Rocket, who resides in the same street as BMO in Smiths Lane, Pearcedale.
Peter Rocket – who won the Group 1 Megastar at Dapto and the Group 2 Horsham Cup – is one of the most popular greyhounds in the country, as much as anything because his trainer Keith Hellmuth and wife Lisa are hobby trainers with full-time jobs as a plasterer and bank teller respectively.
The couple were virtual unknowns in greyhound racing despite 20 years involvement in the sport until the emergence of Peter Rocket this year.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Andrea Dailly’s powerful kennel has two representatives in the Cup – Hawk Alone and Dyna Beth – while greyhound racing’s most famous family, the Brittons, will be hoping to win greyhound racing’s biggest prize for the first time tomorrow night.
Robert Britton has the talented Iona Seven in the Melbourne Cup, a race in which the Britton family – through Robert, his father Allan, brother Jeff and sister Linda – has had the runner-up at least half a dozen times.