NORTHERN Rivers trainer Daryl Chapman is hoping the saying third time’s the charm rings true when his ultra-consistent race bitch Two Jay (Fabregas x Screaming Bikini Apr ’15) lines up to contest the Group 2 Black Top (515m) at The Gardens next Friday night.
The 26.5-kilogram pocket rocket was a strong winner of her heat on Friday, running down Group 3 Christmas Gift winner Royal Turbo (Swift Fancy x Addiction Jan ’15) to score in 29.84 on a track which was affected by strong winds throughout the night.
It was her third win in four starts at the Newcastle-based track, taking her overall record to 15 wins and seven minor placings from 31 starts with more than $20,000 in career earnings.
“I thought she was a big chance in her heat,” Chapman told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She has excelled at the Gardens – the only time she didn’t win was when she was beaten by her sister – and I thought her win on Friday night was very strong.”
Seven heats of the Black Top were run on Friday night, with time honours going to dual group winner Mister Twister (Collision x Double Twist Jan ’15) for Jason Mackay in 29.53.
Mackay won three heats – also qualifying for the $40,000 final with Zipping Chang (Magic Sprite x Cho Chang Apr ’15) in 29.78 and Riley Tokaam (Don’t Knocka Him x Skyela Tokaam Mar ’15) in 29.73.
Mackay is also the ‘caretaker trainer’ for two Victorian finalists prepared by Seona Thompson – Aqua Cheetah (Cosmic Rumble x Dalta Bale Mar ’14) and Aston Bolero (Fabregas x Aston Dream Oct ’13) which scored in 29.81 and 29.78 respectively.
The remaining heat was won by local greyhound Kyra Miss (Fabregas x Anticipation Sep ’14) for Hunter Valley trainer Michael Bamback, with the final rounded out by Ron Bell’s Lord Jack (Fabregas x Rumble Street Feb ’15) which qualified as the fastest second when finishing one quarter of a length behind Zipping Chang.
Two Jay will contest the lucrative race from box seven – much to the delight of Chapman – who gives his greyhound a big chance of upstaging some of the industry’s biggest names.
“Anything can happen in the final – between Jason Mackay and [Seona] Thompson they have six in the final so it is going to be a hard race to win,” Chapman conceded.
“But Two Jay was the last dog to be allocated a box and she got the seven…that’s where I would have liked her if I were able to pick the draw – she goes really well from out there – so I couldn’t be happier as far as the box draw is concerned.
“She is a pretty smart young bitch and she has got good early speed so that will hopefully put her right up there in the final.
“In these sorts of races if you get to the front anything can happen, so I am just hoping for a bit of luck on the night.”
A win would be a career highlight for Chapman, who has been training greyhounds for over a decade, having come excruciatingly close to group glory in the past.
However, with her early speed and a good draw, Chapman rates Two Jay his best chance yet of breaking through for a win at group level.
“This is the third time I’ve been in a group final – I had Exhibitionist in the Brisbane Cup won by Keybow and I also had Tuavasa Shek make the final of the Gold Cup when he was trained by Tony Brett – but he had to be scratched after winning his heat when he broke down in the week leading up to the race.
“I am hoping it’s third time lucky. I give her a big chance and, although I realise everything has got to go right for her, everything has got to go right for any of the other seven dogs if one of them wins it too.”
The Group 2 Black Top final will be run at The Gardens next Friday night, with winning connections taking home $40,000.