From owning a finalist in the Group 1 Bold Trease just over a week ago, to qualifying three runners in Monday night’s $10,000 to the winner Soldiers Saddle final as a trainer, there’s no doubting that Toby Weekes is riding a wave of success. The future looks even brighter for the Molong based trainer, who is breeding and rearing his own litters from some of the strongest lines in Australia. He has also made some wise investments with his current racing stock that look set to pay dividends.
Soviet Missile (Box 2), Bollee Boy (Box 5) and Crackin Sort (Box 8) will all line up in the Soldiers Saddle final for Weekes on Monday night. All three were bred by the Pringle family. “I’ve known the Pringle’s well for many years, and if you want the best stock you go to the best breeders. It’s a proven formula; and all their dogs run 500 which is a big plus. The Pringles are renowned for having a strong line. They’ve been honest to us, giving an honest opinion of the dogs, and that’s why we invested with them mainly.”
Weekes has also ventured into the breeding game with the same line as well. “All our brood bitches have pretty much come from them (Pringles). We’ve got four brood bitches, three in pup now and one’s already dropped. We’ve also got a bit of Dennis Barnes’ line as well.”
The advantage of being out at Molong is the there’s plenty of room to rear pups and set up a good training facility. “I’ve got 100 acres, 25 of which are already set up for the dogs. I’m just out in the paddocks here now and there’s dogs free galloping. We could rear up to 50 dogs but we only rear our own. We’d rather just spend the money to set it up for rearing so we can do it ourselves. We rear full litters and do all our own meat and we’ve got our own slipping track. It’s taken a few years to get it all done, but it’s a good spot out here.”
Coming back to the Soldier’s Saddle, Weekes explains that his finalists have had a good preparation for this race. When asked about his best chance, “I’d have to rate Soviet (Missile) on top having Box 2. He’s run the second or third fastest time ever recorded at the track and he broke the second sectional record last week, so I’ve got to go with him. Actually, his first section was the best section of all four races last week and he’s back to his best I think, he’ll be hard to beat. The little bitch goes good too, Crackin Sort.”
Crackin Sort won easily last week from Box 8 and has drawn that same box for the final. “If there’s any sort of scramble there early with the first three or four dogs and she’s out wide, then she is a chance. She doesn’t cut in until she’s in front. Any trouble there and she’s my back up dog.”
Bollee Boy is his third runner in Box 5. “Bollee Boy’s working the house down at the moment. We slipped him up the other day and he ran straight past Soviet Missile about 30 metres up the slipping track. We slip them pretty close together and he’s getting stronger every 500, he’s only had two 500’s. He is definitely an improver but I don’t think he can win. Then again if there’s any trouble who knows.” Weekes’ father helps out with the dogs and he thinks Bollee Boy isn’t completely out of the race. “Dad helps me train the dogs and he said that if the blue dog jumps in front he will take some beating. On the bunny he’s just a different dog.”
Of the others, he said “Fancy Rhythm, who we sold, he’s a good little dog. He ran 30.44 there the other day when he won, but he got a bit hampered at the start. He’s a bit of a smokey too, he has really good early toe.”
“It’s not a bad sort of field really. Even Devine Awe, he’s a little pup on the rise I reckon, he hasn’t had many 500’s either and he’s getting stronger each run. Missile blew him away the other day, but he still run 30.19 and I think he’s got a little bit of ability. He’s very green and only young. Something like him, I wouldn’t like to see him lead; he’d be hard to beat.”
Weekes would love to get one up on his good mate, David Pringle, who has Jack’s Joker in the Soldiers Saddle final. Pringle’s bitch Midnight News beat Weekes’ dog Freddy’s Smile in the 2013 Toledo Trailers National Capital Distance Championship final back in May. “Jack’s Joker will go alright; he’s a bit hot and cold. He’s gone 29.67 at The Gardens, he’s a freak. It’s always good to beat Dave, he’s one of my good mates and it’s good to have a stir with him. He got me at Canberra in that Toledo Trailers race over 600. Freddy (Freddy’s Smiles) beat her (Midnight News) in the heat and she was a reserve. A dog was scratched so Dave got a run and Midnight News got him on the line.”
You might recognise the name Freddy’s Smile because he was a finalist in the recent Bold Trease at Sandown. Weekes recently sent Freddy’s Smile down to Mick Carter to train in Victoria. Freddy’s Smile ran fourth in the final and hit the front turning for home. “He got beaten a length and a quarter from first to fourth. They got him on the home corner. When he was in front I nearly jumped on top of the fence and started running along the top of it. It was good, we were happy with him running fourth.”
After the Soldiers Saddle series, Weekes is preparing himself for the long drive to Victoria to trial Soviet Missile and Crackin Sort. “I’m going down there next week to trial Missile and Crackin Sort to get her ready for the Laurels and the Missile will go down to the Silver Chief. Now that I’ve got two or three going down there it sort of makes my trip a bit more worthwhile.”
With such strong stock and eminent success so far, you may hear Toby Weekes’ name a great deal more in the future.