Missing the jump in Group 1 finals is usually a recipe for disaster but a slow start proved a blessing for Victorian greyhound Deliver in Saturday night's Ladbrokes Vic Peters Classic at Wentworth Park.
The Seona Thompson-trained Deliver was fifth to leave the boxes but secured a dream rails run - and avoided almost certain interference - when Coopes, who had drawn inside the Victorian in box two, veered sharply off the track at the first turn.
Coopes' wide running antics interfered with Zipping Tayla, Club Double and Irinka Lizzy but assisted Deliver, who had box three, to surge into third place behind Tap Out Dusty and Mottza, who were disputing the early lead.
Deliver railed underneath the two pacemakers leaving the back straight and came away to win by just over four lengths from the fast-finishing Ouzo, who had been last at the first bend, while Tap Out Dusty faded to be five lengths away third.
Deliver is trained by group race specialists Seona and Jason Thompson for Victorian owner-breeder Vince Tullio, who had to scratch fastest qualifier Awesome Catch from the Classic final.
"Awesome Catch got smashed in the catching pen after his heat win and got hurt but Deliver has always been a much quicker dog,'' Tullio said at Wentworth Park.
"I trained Deliver for his first five starts but because I had a lot of young dogs coming through I phoned the Thompsons and asked them to train him for me.
"I assured them Deliver was a really nice dog and they know I would not ask them to train any greyhound that was less than exceptional.''
Deliver collected $75,000 for winning while Ouzo, the only 2017 whelping in the final, picked up $16,215 for running second.
Shaun Evans, whose partner Kayla-Jane Coleman owns and trains Ouzo, said: "He was seven months younger than any other finalist so we think he has a future.''
Andrew Bell, who relocated from Boggabri to try and make it as a professional trainer in Sydney, has had an outstanding 2018 and landed his first Wentworth Park double when Irinka Leanne and Smokey Retreat scored on Saturday night.
Also notching a brace of winners was John Finn, who won over 720m with staying rookie Blue Moon Rising and with champion stayer Poco Dorado (pictured), who reverted to 520m racing and came from last at the catching pen to win running away.
Poco Dorado is heading to Melbourne for the heats of the Group 1 Bold Trease at Sandown on November 16 and now her litter brother Blue Moon Rising will join her.
"I expected Blue Moon Rising to run out the 720m even though he had not been trialled over that distance, because I work my dogs really hard,'' trainer John Finn said.
"Only reason I had not previously tried him over 720m was because once a dog wins two long-distance races at Wentworth Park it is difficult to get a start in town with them.
"That's why I held off nominating Blue Moon Rising for a staying race and why I switched Poco Dorado to sprinting tonight.''
Poco Dorado and Blue Moon Rising between them have now won 35 of 99 races while their sister and kennelmate Veloce Nero, who had to be scratched from Wentworth Park on Saturday due to a seasonal condition, has won 12 of 40 starts.