Smith’s youngster Zagati to target Group 1 Vic Peters Classic

Ray Smith, pictured with his former kennel star Brad Hill Billy, will target this week’s Vic Peters Classic. PIC: Wentworth Park Greyhounds Facebook.

RAY Smith says this Saturday’s Group 1 Vic Peters Classic heats have come up a bit too early for his promising greyhound Zagati (Fernando Bale x Solar Pak Nov ’15), but the Forbes conditioner still believes she is still going well enough to have a crack at the series.

Zagati made her race debut at Wentworth Park on Saturday night, overcoming an ordinary beginning off box one to record a seven length victory over Ancient Secret (Spring Gun x Willow Blaze Nov ’15) in a fast 29.97.

It was her fourth win at start seven, having also run two placings throughout her short career to date.

“She went very nice,” Smith told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“I thought she had a good chance on Saturday and that she’d be very hard to beat if she could push up along the fence.

“She tries her little heart out and it’s hard to find dogs like that these days. She has shown above average ability from the start so I am hoping she can go on with it now.”

Zagati is bred to be fast, being by champion sprinter Fernando Bale (Kelsos Fusileer x Chloe Allen Mar ’13) out of Solar Pak (Mogambo x Tifi Nov ’12) – a half-sister to former NSW Greyhound of the Year Double Twist (Where’s Pedro x Tifi Mar ’11).

The red brindle bitch started her career in the Group 3 Dapto Maiden Classic, running second and third in her heat and semi-final respectively.

After the series she ventured to Richmond, recording two smart wins and an unplaced run before heading to Bathurst on October 2 where she clocked a flying 29.90 over the 520m distance.

“She was as green as grass when she first started racing, she kept running into them. But Dapto probably wasn’t the ideal track for her and she has kept learning since then,” Smith said.

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“She is improving with every run. Her biggest downfall is that she doesn’t have much early speed, but you can’t do it at both ends and I am hopeful that she will get over a bit more ground down the track.”

Despite her limited experience, Smith said he has decided to have a crack at the Group 1 Vic Peters series this weekend, with heats to be run and won over the 520m trip.

It is a three-week series, with the final scheduled for November 4 and worth a sizeable $75,000 to the winner.

“It’s probably come up a bit soon for her, but it’s an age-restricted race so you’ve got to have a go,” Smith explained.

“She is going well at the moment and you can’t win them sitting at home – but I think it will be a good experience for her and as long as she makes it through the series injury-free that’s the main thing.”

Smith’s kennel has been racing well lately, with the respected conditioner filling the placings behind Fanta Bale (David Bale x Ucme Typhoon Aug ’14) in Saturday night’s Group 3 Sydney Cup (720m).

The consistent Midnight Treat (Shakey Jakey x Midnight News Jan ’15) ran the race of her life, finishing just one and one quarter lengths behind the champion greyhound, whilst kennelmate Big Daddy Bee (Kinloch Brae x Winning Charm Jan ’15) was far from disgraced when crossing the line in third spot.

Big Daddy Bee will return to Wentworth Park on Wednesday night and will be the greyhound to beat in a fifth grade race when he jumps from box two.

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