TEAM Dailly took out four Group races in 2014 and the powerful Victorian kennel looks primed to start the new year in dominant fashion with three genuine contenders in Saturday night’s Group One Paws of Thunder at Wentworth Park.
Andrea, George and Tom Dailly had an incredible 19 runners engaged across the eight heats last weekend, winning three and running placings with a further five members of their superb team.
However, their two kennel stars, Allen Deed and Dyna Double One, failed to qualify with the former falling just after the start.
“Allen Deed only took five strides and fell so that was the end of him, he is a little bit sore so he probably won’t race for a month or so,” co-trainer George Dailly revealed.
“The other dog, Dyna Double One, did a very good job. People keep forgetting that he is only a baby, he has only had five starts and the dog that led him [Shoulders] is a really good dog. I thought he did a top job to run second to him.”
Dyna Double One is second reserve in the main event on Saturday night. Despite this, they will still be represented strongly by Kerrigan Bale (box two), Spring Leaf (box three) and Maximum Lil (box seven) in the $100,000-to-the-winner feature.
Their fastest qualifier was the ultra-consistent Kerrigan Bale which began well from box eight, leading all the way in a quick 29.80.
A winner of 11 from 33, the daughter of High Earner and Maple Bale went into the race as a recent placegetter in the Group Two Laurels Classic at Sandown Park.
George Dailly was impressed with her display, saying she has always been capable of slick times.
“The pink isn’t the best box at Wentworth Park but they left her alone last week and she had a nice clear run to the first turn,” he said.
“She is quite consistent and she does a good job. She has good early toe so she usually gets out and goes, she doesn’t run too many bad races.”
Kerrigan Bale is drawn in box two this week but, while many trainers would love to wear the black-and-white stripes in a Group One final, Dailly said it would only be a good draw if she was left alone early.
“It will just depend on how she pings the boxes, if she gets out and gets a clear run to the first turn then it won’t bother her but if they jam her up then she won’t be in too good of a spot.
“If she is given a clear run early and is able to lead then she can carve some fast times, she is not a bad bitch. She has to lead though, if she is off the bunny then it becomes a bit hard for her.”
Directly on Kerrigan Bale’s outside is kennelmate Spring Leaf. The daughter of Spring Gun and Scarlett Cath put in an enormous performance in her heat to run down the Anthony Azzopardi-trained My Boy Snoop, clocking 29.92.
“When we watched the race someone mentioned that she had done a very good job to run him [My Boy Snoop] down,” Dailly said.
“He is renowned as a very strong dog but she is very strong as well, I wouldn’t expect her to get run down by too many dogs.”
Dailly mentioned Spring Leaf is faster than what her heat time suggested and said she should be well suited in box three.
“She is faster than that, she did what she had to do to qualify but hopefully she can run a bit faster this week and get a nice clear run. If she is close to them up the back then she will be finishing on strongly.
“The box is good for her, it won’t worry her at all.”
Maximum Lil rounds out their chances from box seven. The black bitch, which is a winner of 16 races, clocked 29.99 when winning her heat from the awkward box five.
Her chances in the race have been hampered by the fact boom sprinter Dyna Villa is drawn in box eight, the same alley he used to win last year’s Group One Melbourne Cup.
“The draw wouldn’t have bothered me too much except for the fact that Dyna Villa has drawn the pink, I think he might give her a bit of grief early on. If he crosses to the rails coming out of the boxes then she is in big, big trouble,” Dailly said.
The field is rounded out by Assertive Bella (box one), Coolabah Jet (box four), Whittaker (box five) and Shoulders (box six).
Overall, the Anakie trainer said it was hard to split his trio.
“I think they basically all have the same chance, I don’t think there is one that stands out. If any of them get a clear run they will be right in it but if they don’t we will be heading home [empty-handed].”
It should be a big night for the Daillys, who also have two runners in the Group Two Summer Distance Plate final over the 720 metres. Their chasers Starc (box one) and Double Rinse (box four) will be aiming to defeat Robert Britton’s Space Star which has a scintillating 41.84 personal best over the track and distance.
“It is a hard race, especially with Space Star in the pink because he can really run and he likes the track. We will just be doing our best to run him down, but they are in the race and are in good form, it will just be whether they are good enough.”
While a win in the staying feature would be nice, all eyes will undoubtedly be on race eight, when the lids fly open for the Group One Paws of Thunder.
Surprisingly, it is one of the few feature races that team Dailly hasn’t won.
Will 2015 be their year?
“It would be nice to win it and we are looking forward to it, it should be a really good night,” Dailly said.