DESPITE admitting to being slightly disappointed with his greyhound’s heat run, Central Coast trainer John Heard is optimistic the consistent Gunnadoo Cove can atone in the Group 3 Gold Cup final (720m) at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Stepping from box two in her qualifier, Gunnadoo Cove began well but drifted back through the field before charging home to finish third, five lengths behind the winner.
“I was a little bit disappointed with her heat run – I really expected her to win,” Heard told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She jumped good and the three took her running for a little bit and she dropped back – then in the straight she came home again.
“She pulled up well – she is very fit and a very strong bitch at the end of her races – when I took her for a walk the next morning you couldn’t hold her – she was pulling my arm out.”
A winner of eight of her 23 starts, Gunnadoo Cove has won five races over the staying trip at Wentworth Park with a 42.26 personal best.
The daughter of Shakey Jakey and Cruz will move into box one for the $25,000 final, a draw from which she has won three of her four starts.
However, Heard knows it will be a tough task – coming up against the likes of Miss Foxy Lee (box two), Starza Light (box five) and Ebby Ripper (box six).
“The box will suit her,” Heard said.
“I am hoping the two takes off and goes to the front and gives her a bit of a run into the race.
“Dean Swain will be hard to beat in the final – his greyhounds are going enormous – and Ebby Ripper is going great.
“But I am still hopeful that she can win, although I think she is a certainty to run a place.
“She is a greyhound which needs a little bit of room – she doesn’t like being crowded but if she can get some space to move then there is every chance of her winning.”
Heard said he is using the series as a lead up to next month’s Group 1 Association Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park which will offer a $75,000 winner’s cheque.
“After this series she will be aimed at the Association Cup although I know that it will be tough as you are going to get the best stayers from all over the country.
“Following that series I am thinking about giving her a little rest for six weeks or so – she is only two and a half years of age – so I am hoping she will come back having benefited from that.”
Heard, who has trained countless top-class performers throughout his career, said it would be an enormous thrill to win the Harbour City feature.
“I have won group races before with greyhounds such as Forty Twenty who was a great stayer – but he never won a race at Wentworth Park.
“He was terribly unlucky in some of his big races there – so if I could get a bit of luck on Saturday night and finally win one there it would be terrific – a bit of payback.”
The Group 3 Gold Cup is race eight on the card at Wentworth Park on Saturday night and is set to jump at 9.57pm.