MR. VUITTON (Magic Sprite x Splash About Mar ’15) will resume from a five week freshen up when he contests a heat of the Group 2 Black Top (515m) at The Gardens this Friday.
Trained by Paul Roderick, Mr. Vuitton hasn’t been seen since winning at Wentworth Park on July 12, but comes into the race as the winner of two of his past three including a near record 22.05 run over 400m at Maitland on July 6.
Roderick, who has four greyhounds in work at Weston, near Cessnock, said he intentionally eased up on the black dog prior to the heats.
“I went on a holiday myself so I decided to give him a freshen up as well,” Roderick told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I am just hoping the break has done him some good and he shows what he is capable of on Friday afternoon.”
A winner of eight of his 21 starts with six minor placings, Mr. Vuitton will jump from box six in the fifth heat of the Black Top – coming up against some classy types such as the in-form Riley Tokaam (Don’t Knocka Him x Skyela Tokaam Mar ’15) off box one, exciting youngster Marilena Franco (Fabregas x Screaming Bikini Apr ’15) off box two and Group 2 Gosford Cup winner Barking Bad (Bella Infrared x Ebby Miss May ’14) off box eight.
Despite facing a tough challenge, Roderick rates his greyhound a big shot of qualifying for next week’s $40,000 to the winner final.
“He is always a chance in any race he goes in because he has got a lot of early speed and I think he has got the pace to lead on Friday night,” Roderick said.
“But it is going to be a hard race – a few of these dogs are probably capable of running 29.30, but he has trialled close to that so I am just hoping for a bit or luck.
“If he can come out and run his 29.30 or 29.40 out in front they are going to find it very hard to pick him up.
“A lot of people have commented how hard the race is, but I think they all are and no matter what race you are in you need luck.”
Roderick explained making the final would be a career highlight, with a win in the Newcastle feature set to be life changing for the full-time truck driver and his family who have been involved in greyhound racing for the past 15 years.
“I was a gambler – and a bad one – I used to waste a lot of money betting on the dogs,” Roderick said.
“One day I decided I’d buy one and have a go at training instead of betting – I had no idea what I was doing – but I caught the bug and it all started from there.
“I have been lucky because I always seem to have a good dog in my kennels, but Mr. Vuitton is easily the best I have trained.
“It would be a massive thrill to make the final both for myself and for my wife Beccy and my mum and dad Liz and Bob because they all help me out with the dogs and I couldn’t do it without them.
“I think he is good enough and I am just hoping he gets a bit of luck go his way.”
All up, seven heats of the Black Top will be run on Friday night, with the winner of each heat and the fastest second progressing through to the final.
There are plenty of big names amongst the contenders including Mister Twister (Collision x Double Twist Jan ’15), Aqua Cheetah (Cosmic Rumble x Dalta Bale Mar ’14), Royal Turbo (Swift Fancy x Addiction Jan ’15), Aston Bolero (Fabregas x Aston Dream Oct ’13) and Marbo’s Magic (El Grand Senor x Willow Blaze Apr ’14).
The first heat of the Group 2 Black Top is race four at The Gardens on Friday afternoon and is set to jump at 4.14pm.