Star trio set for Murray Bridge Cup clash

\"\"Caption: Star SA sprinter Shadow Mist, pictured with trainer Lauren Harris, is one of a number of big name chasers expected to contest the Murray Bridge Cup (Photo: Kurt Donsberg)

By Mike hill

THREE of South Australia\’s star chasers are heading for a possible showdown in this month\’s $14,275 Listed Murray Bridge Cup (455m).

Connections of Shadow Mist, arguably the form sprinter in the state, Coorong Lucy, recently crowned 2020 Sprinting Greyhound of the Year and Short Course GOTY Air Marshall are all being aimed at the provincial feature.

If they can all remain sound, the $12,500-to-the-winner Cup is certain to be a tremendous series with heats on Friday, March 5, and the final on Sunday, March 14.

Lauren Harris, trainer of Million Dollar Chase finalist Shadow Mist, said the Cup had been a major target for the kennel after the black sprinter (Dyna Double One-Diva\’s Shadow) equalled Short Pork\’s 455m Murray Bridge record in early November.

\”Shadow Mist loves Murray Bridge and the Cup has always been on the agenda since his record-equalling 25.08s run,\” Harris said.

\”That was his first run after the Million Dollar Chase final at Wentworth Park and on form he should be one of the early favourites.\”

A winner of three of his past four starts over 515m at Angle Park, Shadow Mist\’s record last month stood at 26 wins and 12 placings from 56 starts.

Harris said the kennel was preparing for a strong assault on the Cup.

\”Shadow Mist will head a six or seven-member team after the arrival of several new additions, mainly from Victoria,\” she said.

Reeves Plains-based Ray Murray said Air Marshall was a definite Cup runner as long as he remained injury-free.

\”He\’s a far more matured dog and I think that is his greatest asset,\” Murray said.

\”He was only a youngster when he was unplaced in last year\’s Cup final.

\”I thought he was good enough to qualify but I wasn\’t expecting him to win it.\”

Air Marshall went into the series as a highly talented young sprinter with a record of eight wins and a third from his first nine starts.

\”He\’s more mature and sticks on better now,\” Murray said.

\”You need a strong dog to win at Murray Bridge.\”

Air Marshall showed his speed when he broke the Angle Park 388m record with a flying 21.81s in mid November.

He then suffered as hock injury but has since won twice over 400m at Gawler in fast time.

He\’s going really good,\” said Murray.

Meanwhile, Cameron Butcher said he was aiming star speedster Coorong Lucy at the Cup but she had to stay fit.

\”She\’s coming back from injury and if she can remain sound we will be heading for Murray Bridge,\” he said.

Leading owner-trainer Greg Board has his fingers crossed that smart sprinter Spring Vinnie can stand up to the rigors of another Cup campaign.

Spring Vinnie, a beautifully-bred black dog (Barcia Bale-Spring Leaf) is on the comeback trail after suffering a serious leg injury in a nasty fall in mid-September.

Board, who is based at Murray Bridge, said he was buoyed by Spring Vinnie\’s impressive seven-and-a-half-length win over 400m at Gawler last month.

\”He won his first two runs back after six months on the sidelines but they were on the Murray Bridge 300m straight track.

\”His run at Gawler was his first around a bend track since the fall.

\”I was very impressed with the run and he has pulled good.\”

Spring Vinnie\’s winning time of 22.60s was quicker than Air Marshall\’s in the open sprint.

A top grade performer at Angle Park, the Board sprinter fractured a toe and suffered a wrist injury in the Murray Bridge mishap.

\”He broke the toe clean in half,\” said Board. \”It was nasty.

\”I\’m very happy he got through the Gawler race safely and he has pulled up well.\”

The wrist injury is a work in progress for Board, who has a high opinion of the black chaser.

\”If he stands up, he\’s my Cup runner,\” the trainer said.

Spring Vinnie failed to progress past the heats in last year\’s Murray Bridge Cup, which was won by the Tony Rasmussen-trained Hot Sophie, but Board is hoping for a better showing this year.

\”It will all depend on keeping him sound,\” he said.

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