The Jason Mackay trained Big Bunga took advantage of a glorious rails run on the first turn to take out the Group Three Woy Woy Poultry St Leger at Betchoice Gardens last night.
Big Bunga ($8.70) only began fairly, but was a clear leader through the catching pen the first time when Bralyn Midge ran off at the first turn, taking Group One winner Isadoll with him and presenting Big Bunga with a saloon passage.
He held his advantage to score in a career best time of 29.62, three lengths in advance of the ever consistent No Doubt ($23.30), who came from last, with race favourite Chevez ($3.60) a further three quarters of a length away in third.
“He got a great run, but you have to be good enough to take advantage of luck when it comes your way” said Mackay after the race.
“He’s probably a couple of lengths of the real good ones, but he tries hard and he has speed to put himself in the right position to win these types of races”
The St Leger victory was the son of and Hallucinate and Special Sauce’s second Group feature after winning the Group Two Galaxy at Tweed Heads over the June long weekend earlier this year.
It has been a bitter/sweet couple of days for Mackay, who retired his aging warhorse Snozz, after tearing a hamstring at Wentworth Park Saturday night.
In a stellar career, the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Special Osti won 26 races from 79 starts with 34 minor placings, amassing $165,000 in prizemoney, with his biggest victory coming in the Group Two Multicam Black Top at his home track, Betchoice Gardens.
“The two things that stand out about Snozz to me are firstly that he would chase his heart out from behind in a field and secondly that he had the best temperament of any dog I’ve ever trained,” Mackay offered.
“Then there was his toughness. He had all sorts of injuries throughout his career, but he’d run with anything. He’ll be DNA tested and registered and stand at John Carruthers’ Journey Park Stud for $1100”
Feature racing continues at Betchoice Gardens on Saturday night with a sensational field assembled for the running of the $20,000 to the winner Group Three All-pro Newcastle Cup.
Star Queenslander, Dashing Corsair will make his return to the staying ranks in Newcastle after racing well over the sprint trips in his home state, making the Group Two Ipswich cup and well as the Consolation of the Group One Brisbane Cup.
The Group One winner and the fastest greyhound ever to race over the Albion Park 710 metres, has been unable to race past 520 metres this preparation, but trainer Dwyer Lennon is happy with his charge going into Saturday night’s Group Three.
“He ran well on Monday night” said Lennon “30.11 around Albion Park was a good run. I would have preferred a 600 leading into Saturday night, but he seems very well for the Cup.”
Hall of Fame Victorian trainer Graeme Bate will back up his Summer Cup hero, Beware, as well as 2009 National Distance Champion Jarvis Bale, who finished third behind his Kennelmate in last weekend‟s Group Two.
While Bate is no stranger to winning big races, Keith Pedrana would dearly love to win a feature with his ultra consistent Slick Lee. The son of Brett Lee and Goodoo Mate has not missed a place in any of the four group finals he has contested, including another unlucky second in last Saturday night’s Summer Cup behind Beware.
“It was a great run, but he had no luck again. He deserves a big race win because he’s so honest and always gives his best.” explained the proud trainer
“I’m happy with box three on Saturday night as he can just jump straight on the fence.”
The race has lost one of its big names, with the early scratching of National Distance Champion, Blue Lorian, who will be replaced by first reserve Devine Nation in box one.
Since the Newcastle Cup’s reintroduction at Betchoice Gardens, it has been won by Group One stars Drill ‘Em (2009), Lilley Criminal (2008), Miagi (2007) and Royal Riddle (2006) and this year’s looks by far the strongest overall on record.
Betchoice Gardens race Friday afternoon and will be seen live on Skyracing1 with the first race scheduled for 3.47 pm AEDT, while the All-pro Newcastle Cup meeting on Saturday night will start at 5.34pm AEDT, with the feature event of the program, which is race six, is set to jump at 7.09pm AEDT.