On a night when some of the best stayers in the land were either sitting in their kennels or at Sandown Park in the heats of the Group 2 McKenna Memorial, popular Central Coast trainer Johnny Heard elected to head toward rain soaked Dapto with his charge Forty Twenty.
The current Richmond 717m track record holder (Forty Twenty holds the record with both Fancy Penny and Laura’s Legacy at 41.85) was coming off an excellent Brisbane campaign that netted both the heat and final of the Garrard’s Winter Chase over the 710m before looking right at home winning his heat of the Group 1 Gold Cup.
After racing without a lot of luck in the final, Forty Twenty managed a fourth placing in the rich Group 1 final and that race prompted Heard to bypass the Victorian McKenna Memorial series and return Forty Twenty to his North Entrance kennels after such a long campaign up north.
Heard had Forty Twenty for Wentworth Park last weekend but there wasn’t a race for him and so decided to nominate for Dapto in the off chance they could get a field for the staying distance, despite the fact Forty Twenty had never seen the track.
In a remarkable stroke of luck, Dapto were able to find a field for Forty Twenty over the little used 729m distance and the small field and box 2 draw meant Forty Twenty was always going to start a long odds on favourite.
Pre race talk of track records was quickly dashed when showers washed the Dapto circuit, but the little used distance was prime for a new standard to be set since Fort Shakin’ ran 43.28 back on the 27th March 2008 to claim the record.
In driving rain, Forty Twenty began well enough from box 2, but the small field allowed him to push forward early and claim the lead comfortably running 17.32 for the 290m distance, a good eight tenths of a second, or about 12 lengths off the 290m time standard.
With Gold Slammer trying to hang on valiantly, Forty Twenty made every post a winner and justified his $1.40 starting price by bolting in by 5.25 lengths in 42.24, just .04 of a second quicker than Fort Shakin’s previous record.
The ease with which he claimed his second track record and win number 14 from 19 starts even had the voice of Dapto Dogs, Paul Ambrosoli in disbeleif when the time went up.
Forty Twenty is a white and balck dog by Big Daddy Cool ~ Westend Kaitlyn and still relatively young being whelped in March 2007. Owned by a syndicate from the rugby league players and identitiies named the ‘Bennett and Partners Syndicate’ which includes amongst others Mark “Piggy”Riddell.
Riddell and co became greyhound owners after a fair bit of “grog talk,” said Riddell’s good mate and fellow part-owner Marty Kennedy. “We all put in $1000 and it has won us more than $30,000.
Now playing for Wigan, Riddell “has been taking his laptop to training and makes all the boys listen to it over the internet” said Kennedy.
The owners include Tigers player Lee Bennett, Southern Sharks player Adam Bennett, Dragons operations manager Ron Bennett and Greg Wayne.
Forty Twenty’s previous record run at Richmond earnt him the February 2009 Run Of The Month and he looks set to go close to another award for June. It also has greatly enhanced his propsects of gaining selection in the Superstayers Invitation at Albion Park next month, where has already competed so well.