FIVE quality heats of the Group 3 Nowra Summer Puppy Classic were run at the Shoalhaven circuit on Monday afternoon over 520-metres and Jason Fletcher had a day to remember, taking out two qualifiers with members of his talented Spiral Nikita x Light Fantastic litter.
Fletcher’s first to salute was in heat one, with Fantastic Sid justifying his short $1.80 quote, scoring in a solid 30.25 from box five. Stepping only fairly from the middle alley, the black dog got squeezed up early and was relegated back to the tail of the field around the first turn. Showing great race sense, Fantastic Sid darted back to the rail and got a dream run underneath his opponents, taking the lead around the home turn and shooting clear to score by six lengths ahead of an erratic Silvery Moon (box two) and Bro In Motion (box one).
Fletcher’s other contender in the series, Fantastic Spiral, lined up from box three in the second heat against a classy line-up including Magic Maiden champ Black Bear Lee (box four) and the talented Master Gee (box six) for Christine Proctor. Those three were the fastest out of the boxes, with Fantastic Spiral charging to the lead ahead of his two main opponents which were eyeballing each other around the first turn. Once on the bunny, Fantastic Spiral put on a terrific display and gave nothing else a chance, running to the line four lengths clear of Black Bear Lee in an airborne 29.61.
Fantastic Sid and Fantastic Spiral have now won 11 and nine races respectively. The brothers were bred by Fletcher and are out of the great money spinner Light Fantastic, a litter sister to the terrific sprinter El Brooklyn, a six time Group finalist.
Big Giver (box one) and Mako Man (box six) vied for favouritism in the third run-off, the latter gaining the upper hand with punters at the close of betting. Both were poorly away and were second last and last going around the first turn, with Mako Man hooking to the outside and starting a powerful charge down the back straight. The son of Cosmic Chief and Spoil Me continued to take ground off the leader, Destiny’s Dynamo (box five), hitting the lead at the same time as Kayla-jane Coleman’s Preoccupied around the home turn, but the favourite went home the better, kicking clear to win by two lengths in 30.40. Preoccupied ran a good race in finishing second, with Destiny’s Dynamo fading to run third.
My Boy Brodie (box seven) was the one to beat in the fourth heat, coming off an impressive last start 30.71 Richmond win last month. The blue fawn dog was sent to the boxes at $2.30, but was slowly away from box seven and never out of trouble. Also poorly into stride was My Gangsta (box four), but the Tracey Bryant-trained greyhound, a litter brother and kennelmate to previous heat winner Mako Man, was able to weave his way through the field, eventually finding the front to record a 30.16 win. It was My Gangsta’s second career victory at start 20, his first since scoring his maiden win at Nowra last November. My Boy Brodie made up a stack of ground to finish second, with Cobber In Motion (box eight) filling the trifecta back in third.
In the final heat, all eyes were on Group 3 New Sensation winner Lord Gee, despite being drawn awkwardly in box six. When the lids flew open, Flash Focus (box four) went straight to the lead after chucking a right step out of the boxes. Black Jellybean (box five) lobbed straight into second position, with Lord Gee mustering after an average start to hold third position racing through the catching pen. Down the back and Flash Focus still had a clear break on the field, with Lord Gee checking off heels before starting his run. The son of El Grand Señor and Oh Em Gee slipped into another gear around the home turn, railing underneath the leader to assume the lead. Silent Witness (box eight) also chimed in with a good run in the run to the line, but Lord Gee was too good and too strong, winning comfortably from Silent Witness and a fast-finishing Young Gun (box seven).
The first four from each heat plus the four fastest fifths will progress through to three semi-finals which will be run next Monday ahead of the $25,000-to-the-winner final on April 25.