Long-serving Ipswich greyhound official and trainer Merv Page with connections celebrating the win of Sizzling Babe. Picture: justgreyhoundphotos.com.au
Long-serving Ipswich greyhound official and trainer Merv Page with connections celebrating the win of Sizzling Babe. Picture: justgreyhoundphotos.com.au

Ipswich stalwart’s birthday boost with Sizzling Babe


Isaac Murphy

ALL Saturday night's races were named after former dogs of long-time club manager and trainer Merv Page.

In a fairytale finish to the night, Sizzling Babe stormed her way to victory in the last race on the card just hours before Page celebrated a landmark birthday.

It won't be the last time Page is celebrating the bitch who at 22 months has won three of her six starts never having missed a placing for the veteran trainer.

She showed great track sense on Saturday night. Trapped between runners from box five over the 431, she didn't flinch when driving between them on the first turn and racing clear down the back.

She started her career pinging the lids over the 288 metres but looks a ready made 431 metre bitch capable of doing it at both ends of the distance.

Johnstone's joy with new litter

IN the same week Darren Johnstone sends his marquee stayer Maggie Moo Moo to Wentworth Park for a Group One Association Cup campaign, the trainer celebrated on the home front with Emma Moo Moo.

Emma Moo Moo was a surprise winner on debut over the 431 at the Ipswich Showgrounds on Saturday night.

Emma Moo Moo is a half sister to Maggie Moo Moo, both sharing Stay Warm as their dam. The similarities stop there.

Maggie Moo Moo struggled to break 25.8 starting her career over the 431 metres.

It wasJohnstone's first litter he ever bred, sired by Fernando Bale and the trainer confessed he thought they were a flop.

Over time he experimented with the bitch over more and more distance.

Despite her mother struggling to run 500 metres, she was soon finishing over the top in 700 metre races.

She rides a five-race winning streak into Saturday night's prelude.

Emma Moo Moo, sired by My Bro Fabio, hit the ground running from box seven.

The long lanky strider pounced on the lead early and never relinquished, scoring by four lengths in 25.38.

She showed speed that her half sister simply didn't have at 22 months old.

She finished the race as well as she started it and it looks like it will be a matter of time until she tackles further, given the performances of her brothers Stay Warm Clyde and Stay Warm Bear in the next race.

The brothers were both first up and fresh after the Vince Curry series where they were eliminated in the semi-finals.

While odds on favourite Light my Flyer was too good for the pair, it was a promising return for both.

Stay Warm Clyde was only a length off the 30.71 gallop. Stay Warm Bear was a further three lengths back.

Both were raw and around the first corner gave the favourite an unassailable lead but showed strength reminiscent of their star half-sister.

Although they are both only at start four and yet to break their maidens, expect Johnstone to persevere

over the 500 metres before they turn two before entertaining getting them over more ground.

All three My Bro Fabio/Stay Warm litter mates look to have untapped potential and should be knocking over grades in spades the next few months.

It was only a short while later Johnstone was back in business this time with Johnny Hot Feet, the late bloomer grabbing his third straight win over the five hundred as he continues to race in the best form of his career.

The box one specialist didn't ping the lids but mustered through quickly on the inside of runner but was soon joined by second favourite Ringbark Clancy for Serena Lawrance who tackled him midway down the back.

His winning streak looked like it was coming to an end as Ringbark Clancy extended on the corner, but Johnny Hot Feet found a second win surging past in the straight for a 30.66 win.

It might not have been as quick as his 30.46 effort last week, but the dog showed plenty of fight and the will to win to get over the line, he's always a threat drawn inside at track and trip.

Sassy Gossip soaks up the 600

SASSY Gossip has lived up to her name for trainer Casey Dargusch.

The progeny of Superior Product and Golden Gossip has shown ability in spurts throughout her career but has never maintained a strong run of form until now.

She ran her first restricted 630 metre race in late February more than competitive behind the classy Amid the Noise. She followed that up chasing Smart Lilly home who's gone on to be a Thursday night winner at Albion Park, was third behind Maggie Moo Moo and Power Point Diva before racing to victory on Saturday night.

Despite her raft of recent placings, Sassy Gossip went up a clear second elect to Andrew Monaghan's Rinadeena who was seeing the trip for the first time.

It was Dargusch's bitch who made every post a winning getting across from box five to dictate affairs throughout holding the fast-finishing Rinadeena by a length on the line.

The first two past the post are both worth following. They both have grades up their sleeve to tick off and look to be set at the middle distance trip for the foreseeable future.

Sullivan Sees Pokie Payout Salute

IT may have come a week too late but Peter Sullivan's Pokie Payout got the money in a great go, nosing out Super Tie over the 500 metres on Saturday night.

The bitch went out a leading hope in the previous weeks Young Guns final after a slashing 30.16 heat win and looked poised to repeat the dose in the final when she loomed up outside Happy Hornet out of the straight.

Known as a wide runner, Happy Hornet kept Pokie Payout trapped off the track while fellow fancies Werina Express , Nando Dreamer and Cash Stack were able to bridge the gap.

In the finish Nando Dreamer edged out Cash Stack and Pokie Payout by under a length, but despite the tough run the bitch fronted up ready to atone.

It was a two-dog race on paper with Super Tie a multiple Ipswich winner the danger to Sullivan's charge and it played out like the match race many thought it would be.

Super Tie grabbed the early ascendancy racing to the front out of the straight while Pokie Payout was forced wide losing lengths on the first turn. She never gave up chasing though slowly bridging the gap and getting the bob of the heads in 30.87.

While the time was well short of her best, she only enhanced her reputation as one of the region's best young chasers, she had every right to run an honourable placing but refused to be beaten.

The win capped off an exciting few days for Sullivan who saw kennel star Brother Jason advance to the semi-finals of the Group One Launching Pad at Sandown Park in Melbourne.

The highly touted chaser is in the care of premier Victorian trainer Robbie Britton and ran a great race first up in the state recovering from a slow start to rattle home into second and book a semi-final berth.

If the dog can get his box manners right there's no reason, he can't advance to the Group One final.

He's a powerful type and if he ever gets on the lure will be mighty hard to catch.

Spring Rock celebrates 21st win

THE 2020 Ipswich Greyhound of the Year, Spring Rock, continued his form resurgence in Best 8 company on Saturday night.

His trademark early dash landed him lengths in front around the first turn on his way to recording win number 21 at track and trip.

The dog won 18 races in 2020 and had been in a drought by his standards to start 2021.

But not anymore. He claimed his third win from four starts and continues to defy serious challengers to the throne.

He has never been a dog who has run the fastest overall time at the trip but his box manners are impeccable.

You can bank on a run around the 25 second threshold whenever he turns out.

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