Sunday afternoon’s All 4 Paws and Claws Healesville Cup might be a Group 2 event but not as far as Terry Reid is concerned.
Reid will be chasing an amazing $97,000 payday – Group 1 prizemoney – when Ronray Spirit exits box five in the $47,000 to-the-winner Cup Final.
With the Warragul and Warrnambool Cups already in his keeping, Ronray Spirit is closing in on the $50,000 bonus offered by Greyhound Racing Victoria for any sprinter able to win three country cups in a calendar year.
“It’s the first Group 1 at Healesville but only if I win it!” Reid quipped.
After running second to Margins in the State Final of the National Sprint Championship, Ronray Spirit had a let-up before making his first appearance down the famous Healesville straight the week before the Cup heats, where he was surprisingly beaten at $1.60.
But the son of Cosmic Rumble made amends in his Cup heat, finishing strongly to secure a last stride verdict over Phaser Bale, clocking 19.18sec.
“I gave him a couple of weeks off after the National Final at Sandown – it was a good chance for him to catch his breath – and then he had two trials at Healesville,” Reid explained.
“We were lucky enough to get a free-for-all the week before the Cup heats but he was a shade underdone and had nothing left in his tank the last 50 metres. Then in his heat he came over the top to win. He was 2 ½ to 3 lengths off the leader with 25 metres to go and the only time he was in front was on the post.
“Ronray Spirit usually leads to the first turn and puts four or five lengths on them but there’s no first turn at Healesville. It’s flat chat all the way!”
After starting his career in NSW, Ronray Spirit has gone from strength to strength since relocating to Victoria, continuing a long and successful association between Terry Reid and owner/breeder Ray Steele.
“I tell people that Ray gave me Ronray Spirit for Christmas because he arrived the week before Christmas,” Reid laughed.
“Ray originally sent him down for the Shepparton Cup but when I took him to Ballarat and he ran 24.94sec without having seen the place I said to Ray the Warragul Cup is only a week away and we’d be mad not to have a go at it first. As it turned out he won the Warragul Cup and got beaten at Shepparton.
“While we’re chasing the bonus I’ll put him in every Cup I can!
“We couldn’t go to Traralgon, with the heats also being on this weekend, and he won’t go to Sale, because it’s over 650m, but if he doesn’t win on Sunday we’ll still have Geelong and Ballarat left to try and get the bonus. I’m hoping Fernando Bale doesn’t beat us to it!”
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