Will it be money or the Cup?

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By TERRY WILSON

SHADOW Mist’s brilliant win in the South Australian Sprint Championship final (515m) has presented a poser to connections of the dog.
After a scorching run of 29.39 seconds in that event Shadow Mist qualified for a run in the semi-finals of the Million Dollar Chase in Sydney on October 9.
Therein lies the issue for trainer Lauren Harris and the dog’s owners because that is the same night as the final of the Adelaide Cup.
Does Shadow Mist get a go at the rich Chase or do connections opt to have a go at their home state’s premier event and the chance of some local glory?
The Cup (515m) is a Group 1 event and this year has first money of $50,000.
The Million Dollar Chase has the undeniably attractive lure of, as the race title indicates, one million dollars to the winner.
But the Cup is an event that Harris would love to win for the first time. Her best effort in the event was when she had an unplaced runner in 2014.
“You dream of winning your home town cup but a million dollars is a million dollars,” she said just before Chase was being put to bed for this month’s edition.
“We’re still deciding on that one. I guess it’s a good position to be in but it is a bit of a headache.
“I guess we still have a few weeks up our sleeves.”
Harris said a run in the Cup is slight favourite option for her given that Shadow Mist would have to be flown to a Sydney trainer to be prepared for a Chase semi-final tilt.
“That’s another issue to consider,” she said.
Last year the Adelaide Cup featured a State of Origin series lead-in when the fastest time from four two-dog match races was given entry straight into the final.
That dog was Hooked On Scotch who went on to win the G1 event for Victorian trainer Jason Thompson.
This year, with Victorian-South Australian borders closed, the Origin has been scrapped but there will still be a match-race series for SA-trained chasers and the winner of that would be guaranteed a place in the final.
“The new format is a bit of a lure,” said Harris.
“That’d be the plan we take if we don’t go for the Million Dollar Chase.”
The Cup has been a happy hunting ground for Victorian trainers for 20 years with 17 chasers from that state taking the riches back home across the border.
Brookside Bear (2002), Miss Spicy (2006) and cult hero Ernie Bung Arrow (2013) the only South Australian winners for the home state in that time.
The Cup honour board features champion after champion who have won the event.
Past winners include Golden Spur (1976), Rapid Journey (1998), Brett Lee (2001), Collide (2005), Fernando Bale (2015), Raw Ability (2017) and of course Hooked On Scotch’s remarkable win last year.
Current super sire Fernando Bale became the first dog to pass the $1 million mark in winnings when he scored in 2015.
On the same night that Shadow Mist won the Sprint Championship, the Wally Harkins-trained Sir Trulucent (Wally Harkins) took out the SA Distance Championship.
Like Shadow Mist in the Sprint, Sir Trulucent started a hot $1.60 favourite.
Earlier in the month Suspense (Barcia Bale-Irish Keepsake) won the SA Straight Track Championship (350m) for Kirin Corby, who is best known for being the owner of the mighty Sennachie.

Pictured: Lauren Harris, her partner Ryan Tugwell, and Shadow Mist, after a strong victory in the South Australian Sprint Championship final (515m) (Photo: Kurt Donsberg)

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