The 2022 edition of The Phoenix (525m) at The Meadows slated for this Saturday evening shapes up as one of the races of the year.
The 2022 edition of The Phoenix shapes as the race of the year.
This comes as no surprise given the $1 million payday that awaits the winner.
Three runners have already won more than $1 million in prizemoney, five have won Group 1s, and all are capable of blitzing the clock.
Here’s why each of The Phoenix hopefuls can – and can’t – win the world’s richest greyhound race.
She’s A Pearl
Trainer: Jodie Lord
Slot holder: TAB
Why she can win: The world’s highest stake earner, She’s A Pearl is a proven big race performer having won both an Easter Egg and a Million Dollar Chase and is capable of running blistering times. The inside draw is a big plus and gives her the chase to use her early speed to race into history.
Why she can’t: She was faultless at box rise during her dominance through late 2021 and early 2022 but has been less reliable since missing time with injury through June and July. She led but nabbed on the line in the Shootout and missed the start in the Melbourne Cup heats, her only two starts outside of New South Wales.
Paddy Want Pats
Trainer: Jodie Lord
Slot holder: Keeping Zipping Syndicate
Why he can win: Drawn to capitalise on his brilliant box speed, Paddy Wants Pats is a three-time Group 1 finalist including the Melbourne Cup at his most recent start. Has contested three group races at The Meadows alone and knows the circuit as well as any with seven wins from 20 starts at the track. If he leads he’s exceptionally difficult to beat – he’s only been run down four times when leading over the sprint trip, running second each time beaten less than a length on three of those occasions.
Why he can’t: While he has spent much of his career racing at the top level he has had limited success in top grade winning just 12 of 32 starts and has run last in his last three group race appearances.
Box 3 El Dorado
Trainer: Daryl Holmes
Slot holder: The People of Peter Sadler
Why he can win: A greyhound that has steadily improved throughout 2022, rising from restricted class in May to contest a Melbourne Cup and has been hand-picked to race in the world’s richest greyhound race. Has a solid record at the track and form around many of his Phoenix rivals. Rounded out his preparations with an impressive 22.93 (12.74, 10.19) hand slip at Sandown on Sunday indicating he is at the very top of his game.
Why he can’t: He has limited experience at top level with just one Group race appearance to his name – albeit the greatest group race there is. The pace drawn on his inside means he can’t afford any mistakes.
Trainer: Brooke Ennis
Slot holder: SEN
Why he can win: Not only one of the fastest greyhounds in the country but one at the absolute top of his game. Won the Group 1 Silver Chief this track and distance last Saturday, running within a length of the track record. Ran fifth in the Group 1 Topgun at his previous Meadows start, and second in the group 3 Silver Bullet before that.
Why he can’t: Only modest box speeds means he needs room to muster early. His record from the middle boxes is only modest though he has won twice from box 4.
Trainer: Brad Keel
Slot holder: Neds
Why he can win: A six-time group 1 finalist including the Silver Chief in January. Tough, race smart and in possession of one of the most brilliant closing sections in the sport. He will need luck at some point in the race but if he can get it he is capable of running as fast as any.
Why he can’t: Lack of early speed combined with a squeeze box is never a good combination. He will be looking for the fence so his best chance is to miss the start completely, drop to the rail and pick his way through the field as they spread. That’s a lot of things that need to go right.
Wow She’s Fast
Trainer: Jackie Greenough
Slot holder: Sportsbet
Why she can win: The defending champion and arguably the fastest greyhound on the planet. The Greenough kennel has spaced her runs throughout her career with just 25 starts to her name since making her debut 15 months ago and the meticulous preparation has seen her win 17 times and over $1.25m in prize money. Rounded out her preparation with a brilliant 22.78 (12.58, 10.20) hand slip at Sandown Park following her thrilling win in the match race on Melbourne Cup night. A group 1 winner at the track.
Why she can’t: She hasn’t won a race against a full field of greyhounds since her group 1 Maturity win in July, running last twice (both at Group 1 level) and sixth in a Melbourne Cup heat. While she has lost little of her overall pace, her lack of early toe has put her in increasingly difficult positions, and box 6 has made her task that much harder.
Trainer: Douglas Gladman
Slot holder: Racing Queensland
Why she can win: The only greyhound to qualify for the Phoenix after winning ‘The Flame’ at Albion Park. Winning form is good form.
Why she can’t: Has won just three times in 18 starts over the last seven months, racing mainly over 395m. Has never raced outside of Queensland and has a poor record from outside draws. Was a big price throughout the Queensland Flame series and at 44 months of age, is unlikely to challenge the country’s best sprinters.
Box 8 McInerney
Trainer: Brendan Pursell
Slot holder: RSN
Why he can win: One of the country’s most underrated greyhounds, the September Million Dollar Chase winner has twice been placed at Group 1 level in the last four months – most recently the Topgun over this track and distance – and is capable of running times that can win here. Is racing with great confidence and the month since his last start (sixth in a Melbourne Cup heat behind eventual winner, Yachi Bale) should have him cherry ripe for his second million-dollar race.
Why he can’t: A winner of just two of nine starts from box 8 (one of which was in mixed 6/7 class), the race doesn’t map well given he lacks the pace to cross the inside division, but unable to drop behind the modest starters.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
ARTICLE BY By Mick Floyd www.thegreyhoundrecorder.com.au