Shootout Trainers have their say

Let’s all walk 10 paces and draw a huge breath… This is going to be bigger than the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

The Shootout

Dream Chasers

17 Nov

Let’s all walk 10 paces and draw a huge breath… This is going to be bigger than the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

A $50,000 winner’s bounty will go to one of four ‘Deadeye Dicks’ in a match race showdown for the ages!

So, who will show True Grit in the $72,500 Group 3 Shootout (515m) – Race 9, 9.21pm – at Sandown Park on Saturday night?

Alpha Zulu (Box 3) – from the Pearcedale kennel of champion trainer Jason Thompson – is the sport’s latest ‘sharpshooter’. But will he be ‘fastest to the draw’ in a four-dog face-off that would have Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday itching at their holsters?

Dubbed the “next big thing”, Alpha Zulu has won 15 races from 21 starts.

Alpha Zulu – part-owned by AFL legend Jonathan Brown – won the G2 Bendigo Cup and G2 Cranbourne Cup (held at Sandown).

He was also runner-up in the G3 Warragul St Leger and last week finished third to kennelmate Transponder in the G1 Topgun.

Alpha Zulu, which has won eight of his past 10 starts, is unbeaten in two starts at Sandown with a 29.15sec PB.

He’s Sportsbet’s $2.70 race favourite to burst through the ‘saloon doors’ firing!

Thompson also has Transponder (Box 7) – a winner of 21 races from 40 starts – in the Shootout.

Transponder took everyone’s breath away with a flying 29.70sec Topgun victory. It was his second G1 triumph, having taken out last month’s G1 Adelaide Cup.

He also won the Listed Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter in a sizzling 25.47sec at Warragul in mid-June.

Transponder has won four from 13 at Sandown with a slick 29.12sec PB. He’s rated a $4 chance to claim the Shootout.

One of the most feted trainers in the sport, Thompson is chasing his fourth Shootout. He won with Whisky Assassin (2004), Proven Nitro (2012) and Hooked On Scotch (2019). His wife, Seona, snared the 2018 Shootout with Aston Dee Bee.

Meanwhile, Big Energy (Box 1) – in the ‘Team Greenough’ camp – is expected to come out with ‘all guns blazing’.

The former WA speedster has been ‘energised’ since crossing the Nullarbor.

Overall, Big Energy has won 12 races from 26 starts. He was runner-up in the Adelaide Cup and Cranbourne Cup and finished fifth in the Topgun.

Big Energy has won seven from 13 at Sandown including a mind-boggling 28.93sec victory in the Launching Pad Runway in early April. It’s the sixth-fastest time ever on the Lightwood Road circuit.

He’s a firming $3.10 second elect on Sportsbet’s Shootout market.

The Greenoughs (Jackie and Kel) are attempting back-to-back Shootout wins, having saluted with Wow She’s Fast last year.

Now to a middle-distance ‘wizard’, Hector Fawley (Box 5), which could be a ‘fly in the ointment’ to the sprinters.

And it’s much more than just a ‘throw at the stumps’. Hector Fawley is not making up the numbers!

Trained by Lisa Cockerell, Hector Fawley – named after a Harry Potter character – won last week’s G1 Hume Cup (600m) at The Meadows.

Hector Fawley, which has won 17 races from 41 starts – is arguably Australia’s premier middle-distance exponent. But make no mistake, he can seriously sprint.

He’s four from 13 over 515m at Sandown, including a 29.25sec PB, and finished third in the G3 Easter Gift over the sprint trip there.

Hector Fawley is being kept safe in betting at $4.20.

Since its inception in 1998, the Shootout has been an intriguing contest and the 26th edition is no exception.


(Dec ’20 Aussie Infrared x Amo Bailar)
Trainer: Jackie Greenough

Overall starts: 26 (12-6-0)
Sandown Park 515m starts: 13 (7-2-0)
Box 1 starts: 3 (2-1-0)
Best winning time: 28.93sec
Stakes: $143,310

Career highlights: Won – Launching Pad Runway; Runner-up – G1 Adelaide Cup, G2 Cranbourne Cup, SA Match Race Challenge; Finalist – G1 Topgun (5th)

Kel Greenough: “You want to get a clear run early so box one certainly helps, and the match race format is right up his alley… I didn’t want to draw outside Transponder… It’s a great race and it will come down to who gets the breaks… Any one of these dogs could win the race and that makes it all the more exciting!”


(Sep ’21 Orson Allen x Cyclone Jebel)
Trainer: Jason Thompson

Overall starts: 21 (15-3-2)
Sandown Park 515m starts: 2 (2-0-0)
Box 3 starts: 1 (1-0-0)
Best winning time: 29.15sec
Stakes: $218,425

Career highlights: Won – G2 Cranbourne Cup, G2 Bendigo Cup; Runner-up – G3 Warragul St Leger; Finalist – G1 Topgun (3rd), G2 Flying Amy Classic (6th)

Jason Thompson: “If he gets the start right, he can break five seconds and nothing else in this race can run that… He ran 29.15sec at Sandown without a trial, so if he runs that again and gets beaten, then he’s not good enough… People have got to realise he’s still very young… He’s 26 months old, so I’d like to think he’s still got a bit of petrol in the tank!”


(Dec ’20 Bernardo x Rolanda Hooch
Trainer: Lisa Cockerell

Overall starts: 41 (17-6-3)
Sandown Park 515m starts: 13 (4-3-1)
Box 5 starts: 5 (2-0-0)
Best time: 29.25sec
Stakes: $238,295

Career highlights: Won – G1 Hume Cup, G3 Racecallers Showdown, Speed Star (595m); Runner-up – Listed Pink Diamond Champion Distance; Finalist – G3 Easter Gift (3rd), G2 McKenna Memorial (6th), G3 SA Derby (6th)

Lisa Cockerell: “If you’re not in it, you can’t win it… We wouldn’t have nominated him if we didn’t think he had a chance of winning… He’s not as quick early as the others, but he can run time and loves Sandown… He can match them; his middle split is amazing… He’s got good field sense but needs the space.”


(Mar ’21 Deliver x Unquestionably)
Trainer: Jason Thompson

Overall starts: 40 (21-8-4)
Sandown Park 515m starts: 13 (4-5-1)
Box 7 starts: 8 (3-1-1)
Best time: 29.12sec
Stakes: $440,275

Career highlights: Won – G1 Topgun, G1 Adelaide Cup, Listed Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter; Runner-up – Speed Star (515m), Launching Pad Runway; Finalist – SA Match Race Challenge (3rd)

Jason Thompson: “He’s absolutely drawn to perfection… He loves middle to wide; he loves Sandown and he’s coming off a great win last week… The other three dogs want to be down on the fence, so nothing is going to hold him up… If I was doing the market, if Transponder wasn’t favourite, he’d be within half of a point of whoever was.”


The Sportsbet Dream Chasers Festival is back!

With over $4.1 million in prize money up for grabs, The Meadows and Sandown Park again play host to these blockbuster events, including the $1million Group 1 Sportsbet Melbourne Cup and the most exciting race in greyhound racing, The Phoenix.



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