It’s time for Shima Shine to deliver some Group glory in Topgun at The Meadows

It’s one of greyhound racing’s greatest mysteries – the absence of a Group race victory beside the name of Shima Shine.

But at The Meadows on Saturday night the megastar sprinter will be striving to correct that anomaly when he steps out against the elite of the elite in the Group 1 TAB Topgun (525m).

Dubbed the ‘Cox Plate of greyhound racing’ given its invitation only status, Saturday night’s $150,000-to-the-winner Topgun brings together an all-star cast of Australian sprinting heavyweights.

All the big names are there – with the exception of TAB Million Dollar Chase winner Handsome Prince which is instead gearing up for an assault on the TAB Melbourne Cup.

Four-time Group 1 winner Simon Told Helen, WA sensation Tommy Shelby, Gippsland dynamo Catch The Thief and multiple big race winner Tiggerlong Tonk join Shima Shine in a field that promises to serve up a memorable rendition of the Topgun.

And while there’s plenty at stake for each of Saturday night’s Topgun combatants, one can’t help but feel there’s more on the line for a fit and firing Shima Shine.

“I’ve been telling him all week it’s about time he pulled his finger out and win a big one,” co-trainer Tom Dailly said.

“He’s got a bit in his favour on Saturday night. He’s drawn well in two and the speed looks to be drawn out wide.

“Ideally he’ll go straight to the front but providing he’s in the first two or three through the first corner he can be in the finish. He can be hit and miss early; that’s his hang up.”

Winner at 24 of 39 starts, Shima Shine, a son of all conquering sire Barcia Bale, is an absolute brute on the racetrack, producing any number of exhilarating performances.

Boasting the Ballarat and Bendigo track records, the powerhouse performer rattles off remarkable times for fun, as exhibited with his mind boggling 28.95 Sandown Park romp in July.

“For pure speed and ability he’s right up there with (2015 Topgun winner) Fernando Bale,” Dailly said.

“But you’ve got to do it consistently in the big ones and that’s where the difference is between the two.

“I think if Shima Shine can crack it for a big one a few might follow pretty quickly. You see that happen a lot and hopefully that’s the case with him, starting with Saturday night.”

Saturday night’s Topgun is Shima Shine’s second crack at the flagship event after finishing a luckless sixth behind Get It Gizmo last year.

“He was very unlucky but that’s racing; you can’t spend time wondering about what might have been,” Dailly said.

“He took a few knocks out of last year’s Topgun which took a while to get on top of so hopefully it’s a different story Saturday night.

“I’m really happy with him going into the race.”

Favourite with TAB for Saturday night’s Topgun is Tommy Shelby at $3.30 just ahead of Shima Shine at $3.70.

Simon Told Helen, already a two-time Group 1 winner at The Meadows, rounds out the big three in betting at $3.80.

Saturday night’s card also features the Group 1 Stayers Topgun (725m) where the Dailly-trained Sunset Bourbski narrowly holds favouritism over Group 1 winners True Detective and Here’s Tears.

“She’s in great order,” Dailly said of Sunset Bourbski.

“I haven’t been able to get a race for her lately so she’s just been trialling to stay up to the mark.

“She loves The Meadows; hopefully she can round them up late.”

Originally published asShima to Shine in Top Gun

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