When Goulburn trainer Denice Warren slips the pink stretch vest on to Dusty Moonshine for Saturday night’s Sydney Cup at Wentworth Park, there will be more than Group Three glory or the $25,000 first prize at stake.
Warren’s 29kg blue bitch could earn herself a trip to Victoria to pursue further spoils if she manages to prove her worth against quality opposition on Saturday night. The Group Three final will provide the perfect litmus test that sways the decision either way.
“The Victorian stayers are just miles ahead at the moment,” Warren told ARG.
“They have a great crop of greyhounds and if Dusty Moonshine wants to compete against them in their own backyard, she is going to need to show us that she is good enough here.”
Dusty Moonshine’s breeding needs little introduction. She is by El Grand Senor out of Kiacatoo Pearl (History Lesson – Naughty Thoughts), which makes her a half sister to Wentworth Park track record holder Shakey Jakey.
Dusty Moonshine has set two track records herself, both over the longer trips at Gosford and Dapto. However Warren is yet to be convinced that she is ready to race in elite company.
“She may be just a length or so off being a genuine Group dog, she can tend to have a little bit of a flat spot in the middle of her races. For her to earn a trip to Victoria and for this little old lady to go on a drive down the highway, she needs to prove it to me here.”
Warren is grateful that the owners of Dusty Moonshine have shown loyalty to her and appreciates the opportunity that she has with such a talent.
“I have told them that if they want to send her to a Victorian trainer or give her a go with someone else that they can, but they have said that they want her with me. They said it has taken long enough for them to get me a good one and that they are not going to take it from under me.”
Warren’s late father Frank Day had great success with harness racers and Warren says she has seen the liberties that successful trainers and it allows her to appreciate how hard the work can be when you do not have those same luxuries.
“My Dad had some very good horses, sometimes it would be nice to just have good ones keep coming in the front door and out the back door. He had two Miracle Mile winners. But reality is that most of the dogs you get are going to have their problems, you just have to put in the hard work and do your best.”
Dusty Moonshine finished third to Zipping Rory in her heat last week. Warren says she is capable of better.
“I think the small field may have helped Zipping Rory get to the front. Dusty Moonshine may be able to lead this week and she is a much better dog when she is on the bunny.”
Warren summed up the opportunity to compete in the final in optimistic terms and hinted that the outcome is literally in the lap of the Gods.
“You really just have to be grateful that you are there and that you are in with a chance, I’m crossing my fingers. We are just hoping she can do it, I’ll have to go to church on Saturday to try and help her out.”
The Sydney Cup is Race Eight at Wentworth Park and scheduled to jump at 9:47pm.