ULTRA-CONSISTENT sprinter Fire Elusive will be aiming to bounce back from a short spell in superb style when he contests a heat of the Group 2 Maitland Gold Cup over 450-metres on Friday evening.
The three-year-old greyhound, currently a $6 chance with Bet 365, has not been seen on the track since early February, with his Central Coast trainer Mark Moroney deciding to give his kennel star a freshen up prior to the $40,000-to-the-winner series.
“He has never had a spell since his first start and he has had over 60 starts now, so I thought I would give him a little break while the Easter Egg series was on and then get him ready for the Maitland Cup,” Moroney said.
“He definitely needed it — he would have gone off and gone sour otherwise, you just can’t race them for four years solid without a break and he has continually raced since he was 16 months old.
“I thought that if I wanted to get another good year of racing out of him that he needed that spell now.”
Fire Elusive, a son of El Grand Señor and Cathella Ice which Moroney owns and bred, has been a terrific money spinner with 17 wins and 19 minor placings from just 62 career starts.
Moroney is now expecting Fire Elusive to race well fresh after some impressive trials in preparation for the series.
“He has been going beautifully in his trials, he hasn’t missed a beat since I have put him back in work,” Moroney said.
“I have given him a few runs up the straight and one run at Maitland in preparation so he will be nice and fresh.
“I am hoping he can make it through to the final because I think he will be a lot better for his run in the heat the week after, that’s for sure.”
Fire Elusive has drawn box six in the third of eight Cup heats on Friday night, meaning that he will need to win to make it through to next week’s decider.
However, Moroney says that his gun greyhound is going as good as ever and a win is not beyond him.
“He is only just over three years old so he should be at his peak right now and he is definitely going as well as he ever has been.
“I think the one, La Grand Logie, will be the hardest to beat because of its early pace, but really if he is at his best then he should be able to beat these dogs.
“He hasn’t drawn the hardest heat so I am hoping he will just win — the box isn’t any good, but it is a long run to the first turn at Maitland and he loves the track there.”
It will be the second consecutive year that Fire Elusive has targeted the lucrative Maitland Gold Cup series. After winning his heat in a fast 25.12 last year, the blue speedster finished down the track in the final behind Victorian superstar Paw Licking.
Moroney said it would be an enormous thrill to make the decider for a second year running, with his consistent chaser thoroughly deserving a Group feature beside his name.
“It would be enormous if I could win a heat, let alone the final. I would love for him just to make the final again.
“He has won six in town and 17 overall so he certainly deserves a Group win. His mother won a Group race for me, but I think he is a lot better than what she was.”
“He has always been a very good and competitive dog and I am expecting him to run well.”