BRUCE Fletcher says El Magnifico is firing on all cylinders ahead of contesting Saturday night’s Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup (472m) at Bulli.
The black powerhouse will jump from box three in the $40,000 feature following on from his dominant heat victory last week where he defeated Pedro Cerrano by two lengths in 26.29.
The heat win from box eight was at his first start in more than a month, with Fletcher pleased with his star sprinter heading into the final.
“I was a bit worried about him going into the heats because he is a desperate railer, but he was able to overcome the draw, thank goodness,” Fletcher told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Although he hadn’t raced for six weeks prior to his heat he has had a good preparation for the race.
“He had a minor injury after winning at Wentworth Park last month and after that got fixed it was just so hot that I didn’t really want to race just in case it took a bit out of him – so we made the decision to keep him fresh.
“It was a great thrill to win the heat and to have made it into the final.”
There is no doubt El Magnifico has an affinity with the Bulli track, having won five of his six starts over the 472m distance and breaking the track record over 515m (28.27).
Fletcher says he is hopeful the son of El Grand Senor and Little Grey can maintain his impressive form at the Slacky Flat circuit from the suitable draw.
“The draw is ok – the closer he is to the rail the better – of course box one or two would have been nice, but box three isn’t too bad,” he said.
“He just lacks early speed in the first 10-20 metres, but once he balances up and gets into stride he is extremely strong and he can run you just about any time.
“I am hoping the one (Pedro Cerrano) and the two (Falcon’s Fury) can get out quickly and he lands straight on the fence – that would probably be the best for him – and then if he is close enough he could probably run them down.
“The dogs on his outside shouldn’t cross him – Winsome Mission (box four) and Bear’s Gold (box five) don’t look like they want to crash across – so as long as he can come out ok and get to the fence then he has a chance.”
A winner of 14 of his 29 starts, El Magnifico has been desperately unlucky in feature races throughout his career, having already qualified for the Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic and the Group 3 New Sensation.
Fletcher, who along with his wife Julie also trained Magnifique to win the 2007 Group 3 Bulli South Coast Cup, said it would be an enormous thrill to win the event again in 2017.
However, no matter what the result is, Fletcher said El Magnifico will be out there trying his best.
“He is as hard a chaser as I have ever had – he would go through a brick wall.
“Nothing deters him from trying during the race and when you take him to the track and put the squeaker on the arm you struggle to get him off – he loves it.
“It would be great to win – the dog deserves to win a group race and he is in there with a really good chance this week.
“Hopefully we get a bit of luck and he can show what he is capable of.”
The Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup is race seven at Bulli on Saturday night and will jump at 9:19pm.
Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup – market
1 – Pedro Cerrano $20
2 – Falcon’s Fury $2.90
3 – El Magnifico $3.70 with Crownbet
4 – Winsome Mission $31
5 – Bear’s Gold $5.50
6 – Black Hole Sun $13
7 – Nangar Rock $8
8 – Barking Bad $5
9 – Ritza Lenny $3.30
10 – Kong $4.40