LOCHINVAR Hugo (Barcia Bale x Lochinvar Vogue Apr ’15) will be shooting for his 14th straight win when he heads to Gosford this Tuesday night to contest a non-graded event over 600m.
The 35-kilogram chaser is owned by Karla Gordon, who celebrated her 30th birthday on Saturday, the day after Lochinvar Hugo registered a tenacious 35.41 win at Richmond.
Trained at Barnsley by Robert Smith, Lochinvar Hugo’s last defeat was a second placing at Wentworth Park in August.
Since then he has stamped himself as a potential staying star, stepping up to the middle distance and reeling off win after win, including some sizzling performances at Maitland (31.34TR), Richmond (35.18), Gosford (34.36), Bulli (28.67) and The Gardens (34.27).
Karla’s father Kevin Gordon, who bred the black powerhouse, said his family couldn’t be more pleased with his progress.
“We are very happy with how he is going,” Gordon told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He is learning his trade and he is turning into a very smart race dog – he knows what he is there to do now.
“He has been the best placed greyhound in NSW – fortunately we have been able to use the grading system to out advantage to give the dog more experience.”
Lochinvar Hugo has raced 30 times for 21 wins and eight seconds and $60,000 in prize money.
Although he has had 10 starts over the middle distance, Gordon says the plan has always been to take it easy with him while he learns how to race, whilst racing around the provincials in NSW has also taught the dog how to travel and relax.
“Robert has taken him along very slowly because we know how good he is and we didn’t want to rush him – he should still have another 18 months of racing left in him.
“Some people have asked why we haven’t stepped him up already but there has been no need to – he is in great form.
“The plan has always just been to gradually work him up to his ultimate goal which is the 700 and so far he is ticking all the boxes.”
Lochinvar Hugo will face arguably his toughest test to date this Tuesday, coming up against another stayer of the future, Zipping Katelyn (Mogambo x Crafty Lady Sep ’15).
He will jump from box four, the same draw he has had at his past two starts at Richmond. If he is successful on Tuesday night, he will be just two wins off equalling the record for the most consecutive wins on TAB tracks.
The record is held jointly by former champion Fernando Bale (Kelsos Fusileer x Chloe Allen Mar ’13) and Miss Elly Mint (Elite State x Indigo Mint Apr ’15). Remarkably, the latter was also trained by Smith.
“You have tops trainers all over Australia with the best dogs in the country – so for Robert, who is only a smaller trainer, to already have Miss Elly Mint holding the record and now getting Lochinvar Hugo close to the record – it’s a massive achievement.
“It’s credit to him and it shows just how well he places his dogs and how well he trains them to keep them at their best every time they go around.”
All going well, Lochinvar Hugo will be targeted at the Listed Newcastle Cup (715m) at The Gardens next month – with the $15,000 to the winner race set to be his first crack at the gruelling ‘half-mile’.
“We’ll probably take it pretty easy with him after Tuesday night leading into the Newcastle Cup – it is only two and a half weeks away now,” Gordon said.
“He will have had a good preparation leading into it and I think he will handle himself quite well, although there is no doubt he is going to come up against the best field he has ever competed against.”