The Darren Johnstone trained Federal Morgan getting the best of a tight finish in the Young Guns final. Picture:
The Darren Johnstone trained Federal Morgan getting the best of a tight finish in the Young Guns final. Picture:

Race is on: Ipswich’s auction series to go ahead


By Isaac Murphy

RACING Queensland confirmed during the week that the Group Three Ipswich Auction Series, originally scheduled for April, has been given the green light to start on September 5.

The semi-finals will be on September 12 and the final on the 19th all in the prime-time Saturday night-time slot.

The announcement is great news for the club, trainers, owners and all stakeholders with the second biggest race behind only the Ipswich Cup back on the table.

The 520 metre series features greyhounds bought at the previous year's Ipswich's Puppy Auction with a nomination fee of only $100 giving greyhounds a crack at the $40,000 first prize as well as plenty of other prize money in the consolation final, heats and semis.

With the dates finally set, expect to see trainers focusing their dogs at Ipswich over the next month in preparation for the event.

With limited feature races left on the calendar at Albion Park, the series will be the talk of Queensland over the three-week period.

Young Guns final caps incredible run

DARREN Johnstone has ticked off every target he set for 2020.

That's been a huge uptake in winners, the kennel's first litter hitting the track and an injection of talent from owners keen to give the up and coming trainer a crack with their dogs.

All he lacked was that landmark feature win. But that too is something he no longer has to chase after kennel star Federal Morgan took out a gripping Ipswich Young Guns final to cement himself as one of Queensland's most exciting young dogs.

The victory also established the Johnstone operation as a destination kennel in the Sunshine State.

The Young Guns Final was billed as a two-dog affair with established Group One champion Oh Mickey a deserved favourite after just missing the track record in the heats.

The up and coming Federal Morgan was given a puncher's chance coming up with the all-important box one.

Johnstone knew to beat the Selena Zammit trained Oh Mickey he had to lead him to the first turn and Federal Morgan was switched on bouncing straight to the fence. But he was far from off and gone as Oh Mickey recovered quickly from a stumble at the start to be in an ominous stalking position at the first turn.

Oh Mickey still looked in position A1 despite not taking up the lead.

His late strength was something that Federal Morgan wasn't going to be able to match, but by running the perfect race in front he wasn't able to get by.

It was only in the last 50 metres that Oh Mickey got the chance to make a late dive as $71 chance Townson Beach staked his claim.

Wayne Scott's Townson Beach, who has pushed Federal Morgan right to the line in last week's heat, had the camp on the two favourites as they scrimmaged in front, almost pulling off a huge boilover as he joined Federal Morgan in the shadows of the post.

In the end it was the guts and smarts of Federal Morgan that won the day. The official margins were 0.13 lengths to Oh Mickey and 0.25 lengths to Townson Beach.

The race didn't hit the heights time wise that some might have hoped due to the weather and the nature of the race.

However, viewers got everything they wanted and more out of a feature final stacked with talent that'll be winning plenty of races in the months and years to come.

If his feature win wasn't enough Johnstone extended his incredible season at Ipswich with another treble.

Johnny Hot Feet made it two in a row over the 431 metres off the back of a two-month spell.

The honest Blame Brendan got a much-deserved victory over the 630 metres.


The Darren Johnstone trained Federal Morgan. Picture:
The Darren Johnstone trained Federal Morgan. Picture:

Wet weather fails to slow short coursers

THE deluge of rain stayed away for most of Saturday night's meeting, but with constant showers in the days leading up the track was never going to be at its quickest.

That didn't stop a couple of premier 431 metre dogs from running times on the night.

Gerard Bowe's It's a Rush got straight to the fence from box four and shut the door in the fifth grade event, going on with it in 25.13 by almost five lengths.

The son of Fernando Bale has had three starts back since a two-month layoff, a second to Serena Lawrance's flyer Canya Cruise bookended, by two wins.

After eight starts he looks destined for the toughest company at the trip.

The Canya Cruise form line held up strongly in race nine when Serena Lawrance's Albion Park 395 metre track record holder made light work of box eight in the Mixed 3/4 event spearing to the lead to run the time of the night 24.88.

The dog has explosive speed like no other, owning the first section record over the 520 metres at Ipswich and the run home record over the 431 metres at Ipswich.

He's the full package.

Best Eight the Best Fit for Russell

DARREN Russell's prolific Ipswich winner Best Fit returned to his favourite 431 metre start after a tilt at the Brisbane Cup heats and showed a Best 8 field how it was done.

Best Fit was a 24.87 winner on last Friday's card.

The soon to be three-year-old beat a field including Spring Rock, Charming Chaos, and Fernando Bee to rack up win number 10 at track and trip.

The dog has won in under 30 seconds over the 520 at Albion Park but the 431 metres is right up his alley, early and mid-race speed having him at the top of the pile at Ipswich.

A potential rival emerged later on the card when Craig Chandler's Dyna Double one pup Paw It On stayed perfect four starts four wins in a commanding 24.87 performance to back up his 24.88 run a week earlier.

Paw it On is lightly raced with only the four starts at 27 months.

Chandler has clearly nurtured him along and looks set to enjoy a long and successful career with good health.

Anfield Girl never walks alone

CASEY and Alan Dargusch earlier this year sadly saw the last of kennel star Never Walk Alone on the track when a twisted bowel threatened the Capalaba champion's long-term health.

The dog recovered and has a home for life at the Dargusch's Churchable property, but the racing family wanted to pay tribute to their retired dog and did so through the naming of Anfield Girl.

For those who don't know, Never Walk Alone is the cry to arms for premier league football champions Liverpool. Anfield is Liverpool's home ground and Anfield Girl is doing a good job of carrying along the legacy of the retired kennel mate.

The Dyna Double One product went 24.86 on debut a fortnight ago and despite stepping slowly mustered for a 24.96 win last Tuesday.

At just 18 months, the pups long-term upside is incredible.

Just as they did with Never Walk Alone, expect the Dargusch's to go through their grades before striking on a Thursday night at Albion Park.

The kennel got some icing on the cake in the next race with She's Hot Gossip returning from a spell for a commanding win and a race-to-race double.

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