Flying Jet firms as favourite for auction series
PREMIER Ipswich trainer Peter O'Reilly is hesitant to admit his chaser Flying Jet has earned favouritism for Saturday night's Group Three Alan Price Memorial Auction Series final.
However, the times don't lie. The dog went three tenths quicker than his competition, winning his heat and semi-final over the past two weeks.
The ultra-reliable dog began his career by finishing third in the Group Three Vince Curry in February this year. He has gone from strength to strength since.
O'Reilly is determined to sit on the top step of the podium this time around.
Since his debut, Flying Jet has been a dream dog to train.
O'Reilly said he thrives on racing and is often given a light week at home while he rattles off two 500 metre races a week.
So well the dog has been travelling O'Reilly was forced to pull him from the Bundaberg Derby final on Monday, which he had qualified for while also winning his heat and semi of the Auction Series.
A Group Three at his home track takes precedence over the Derby.
After winning his heat and semi in identical fashion leading up and kicking away from box four, Flying Jet shifts to the eight this week.
O'Reilly was not at all concerned with the wide draw having seen the reliable beginner do it time and again from any box draw.
The dog has a slow beginner in Terror Turtle drawn directly inside who he should clear easily.
Ringbark Jen, in box six, will be headed straight for the fence giving him more space to wind up out wide and challenge the speedy Double Return from box one for the lead at the first corner.
O'Reilly identified Double Return as the biggest barrier between Flying Jet and the $40,000 Group Three prize.
The Brian Francis trained dog has recently stepped up from the short course to the traditional sprint trip and is the one dog who can lead Flying Jet early.
Flying Jet has his own point of differential though his rock hard race fitness. O'Reilly puts it down to his tough 550 metre runs at Bundaberg and even if Double Return leads early it'll be Flying Jet powering to the line looking for his 10th and biggest victory at track and trip.
Although Double Return stood out as a clear danger, O'Reilly knows he's got seven runners he has to go out and beat including three from Serena Lawrance's Head Bound/Cardwell litter in Head Bairn, Bonus Only and Ringbark Jen who are all proven 500 metre dogs.
If there's any trouble upfront, the likes of Rio Valiente and Terror Turtle are the run on dogs of the field and will be there to swamp the leaders late.
Nothing is guaranteed in a Group Three final but O'Reilly is content with his dogs preparation and gives him every chance to run his best race on the big stage on Saturday night.
Treble Tuesday for Cuneo kennel
REGIONAL trainer Malcolm Cuneo left Tuesday's meet with an unexpected hat-trick of wins, a couple of unlikely customers on top of a promising up and comer leaving the trainer with three winner's cheques.
It was the unheralded Twango Focus who got the ball rolling in race two winning his maiden heat over the 431 metres having never placed in his previous eight starts after a tough career path.
The dog who turns three next month started out in Bathurst the middle of last year but could never find continuity with four five different spells spanning over a year of racing before he ran an inconspicuous last at his first start for Cuneo a fortnight ago.
There was nothing pretty about the run. Last away, the dog somehow avoided traffic at the first corner to get into second a gap he closed quickly before bumping again on the last turn but sill having the momentum to win.
The time wasn't flash but it was the result that counted, having raced over the 600 metres earlier in his career. If the dog can get a clean bill of health, he looks like he's crying out for more ground.
Similarly, to Twango Focus Liberty Belle who took out the Fifth Grade over he 431 metres in a sharp 25.26 started her career in NSW, four runs a Gunnedah over the shorts before being picked up by Cuneo.
The bitch has been a success story for Cuneo now having won two of her four starts. She lived up to her short price tag when she drove through from box one to score by six lengths.
She's still raw and has room for potential which is exciting seeing she's already running smart time.
Cabernet Merlot brought up the treble in race five. Previous to the win, the bitch had 21 starts and only won her maiden. It took her a long time to knock off her Novice but she did it in style a 25.3 clip from box eight.
The treble speaks to Cuneo's versatility as a trainer three different dogs all finding a way to win over the same distance the veteran knows all the tricks.
Proper Gent picks up where he left off
REIGNING Ipswich greyhound of the year Proper Gent, trained by John McCarthy, notched win number 26 over the 431 metres at Ipswich on Tuesday.
Proper Gent was too good in small Best 8 field.
Twenty-six wins at one track and distance is remarkable enough, but even more special is seeing the dog race not far below his best as he approaches five years of age and has 137 starts under his belt.
McCarthy has said he'll race the dog if the signs are there, he's enjoying it which he clearly is after the 25.16 win fresh off a month and a half spell.
McCarthy won't put a heavy workload on the veteran but seeing him brought back for another preparation indicates he's not done yet.
Look out for him in Master's grade at Albion Park and over the distance he owns at Ipswich.
Six of the best from Federal Morgan
DARREN Johnstone's Federal Morgan turned heads his first run for the trainer at Ipswich over the 431 metres back in June where he came out and put a scintillating 24.66 on the board.
It was always going be to a hard mark to live up to but the dog has done a fair job making it six from six over the track and trip winning a stacked Mixed Fourth/Fifth grade last Friday.
Coming off a close second in the Group Three Townsville Cup Johnstone got Federal Morgan right back to her pet distance. But it was billed as her toughest challenge yet the likes of 30.10 500 dog Hara's Clyde and Tony Brett kennel mate Hammer Down his stiffest competition yet at the track.
Federal Morgan was no worried about reputations only building his own flying across from the tricky eight draw to take up the front and never look like getting beaten in a 24.8 gallop safely home by four lengths.
With no immediate Group racing over the 500 metres on he cars in Queensland, Johnstone may well stick to the dogs favourite trip keeping his confidence high until he strikes a big race.