Sydney owner-breeder Peter Spiteri will be hoping for a massive change of luck when Double Tax tackles Saturday night's Group 2 Ladbrokes Cyril Rowe Bulli Gold Cup final.
Spiteri was banking on Double Tax's litter brother My Bro Kade representing him in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Richmond Derby heats on March 1 but that brilliant youngster has just dislocated a hock and is out of action.
Double Tax became one of two Bulli Cup finalists for Bacchus Marsh trained Anthony Azzopardi when he finished second, beaten in a photo finish, by Feral Franky in his Cup heat last Saturday.
After being second early, Double Tax hit the front in the straight but narrowly failed to hold out the fast finishing Feral Franky and went down in 26.43s.
Azzopardi also won a heat in 26.42s with Major Riot, who led throughout for Sydney owner-breeder Sandra Camden-Bermingham.
Major Riot is a litter brother to Mystic Riot (pictured), who, trained in Sydney by Jodie Lagogiane, gave Camden-Bermingham success in the world's richest race, the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park on October 20.
Peter Spiteri is hopeful Double Tax can improve on his heat effort, when he was having his first race for three weeks.
"He was resuming from a spell so should strip fitter in the final,'' Spiteri said.
"Anthony was not even going to bring Double Tax to Sydney but when he was organising his entries, my dog trialled brilliantly over 390m at Ballarat.
"That made Anthony's mind up, but he did say the dog could be 'one run short' over the more exacting 472m trip at Bulli.
"Double Tax has box five in the final but I believe he will run in a straight line from the boxes to the first turn, and his early pace should be an asset.''
BRETT Bravo's Kayda Shae in 2015 was the last Victorian greyhound to win the Bulli Gold Cup but Anthony Azzopardi's pair Major Riot and Double Tax, along with SA Derby winner Nervous An Weird gives "the Mexicans'' a strong chance this year.
Nervous An Weird showed terrific early speed to lead throughout in his 26.33 win, fastest time of the heats.
His 36-year-old trainer Andrew Paraskevas has revealed the dog had not seen the Bulli course before last Saturday night.
"No, I didn't trial them there, because Nervous An Weird has never had any trouble handling a track first-up,'' Parvaskas said.
"He won at Murray Bridge, in South Australia, without a look at the track and did the same thing at home at Horsham.
"He is the type of dog which shoots first and asks questions later.
"My father and I bred the litter from which Nervous An Weird comes, and I am also training his 10 siblings.
"I had previously trained in partnership with Ashleigh Terry in Victoria and we won the 2017 Group 1 Sapphire Crown at Sandown with Maja Mahi Mahi while Nervous An Weird won the 2018 Group 3 South Australian Derby at Angle Park for me.
"Nervous An Weird has box three at Bulli but I never even think about what boxes my dogs draw, because one can't do anything about it and whatever will be, will be.''
HARDAWAY Harada was runner-up to Nervous An Weird after exiting box seven in his heat and will wear the black rug again in the final.
"I reckon my dog needed to draw an inside box to be a realistic prospect of winning next Saturday night,'' trainer Ron Marsden said.
"Hardaway Harada is usually a good beginner but he goes hard for the rails in the run to the first turn so he will probably give Feral Franky, in box eight a clear run.
"But Nervous And Weird showed fantastic speed to beat Hardaway Harada in his heat because my dog narrowly won the start yet the winner headed him in the run to the first bend.
"Catch Me Curly goes from box eight to box one so he has a great draw but I have a healthy respect for Nervous An Weird after the early pace he displayed last week.''
Box draw for the Bulli Gold Cup, worth $40,000 to the winner, is 1 Catch Me Curly 2 Black Forge 3 Nervous An Weird 4 Major Riot 5 Double Tax 6 Pindari Express 7 Hardaway Harada 8 Feral Franky with reserves One Hour Parking and Rockstar Beav.
Last year's winner, the Mark Gatt-trained Ritza Lenny, covered the 472m in 25.95sec, and he is the only winner to break the 26sec barrier for the past 14 years.