EXCITING staying prospect Mr Shire will be having just its second start since last November when it lines up in the second heat of the Group 3 Gold Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Trained at Sawyers Gully by Robert Mccolm, Mr Shire stepped out over 600m at Gosford last Tuesday and showed plenty of ticker after finding trouble, defeating Golden Zipper by two-and-two-quarter lengths in 35.03.
It was a welcome return to the winner’s circle for the greyhound once touted as the best stayer in the state, with Mccolm explaining his decision to spell the son of Magic Sprite and Slick Exit.
“He wasn’t injured when I sent him for a break, but I didn’t want to run him too much and with Christmas and the hot weather coming up I decided to spell him.
“He was in work about 10-12 months and prior to that I broke him in myself slowly over about six months – so that means he was in the kennels for about 18 months without a break.
“I put him in the paddock for a few months to let him lay around in the sun and basically be a dog again.”
Mccolm said he was pleased with his star greyhound’s efforts last week, but concedes he is underdone heading into the Gold Cup heats over the testing 720m trip.
“His run last Tuesday was phenomenal – he did everything wrong and still got there – so he has definitely got ability, but it is a very good field this week,” he said.
“I would have liked another run prior to the heats, he has only had the one start in four and a half months, but the way the meetings were scheduled and a lack of nominations didn’t help – but that’s the way it goes.
“I hope he can settle a bit closer this week, I have got my fingers crossed because it is a big ask after just one run.
“I would be happy if he could run fourth and make the final because I think no matter what he does this week he will improve ahead of the final.”
Mr Shire meets a talented field including Group 3 Summer Cup winner Melissa’s Pride (box three), exciting youngster Starza Light (box four), group 1 placegetter Jaimandy Hatty (box six) and Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup winner My Boy Brodie (box eight).
It is set to be a cracking series, with the first heat starring Michael Eberand’s Ebby Ripper which will start from box six following a sensational 41.60 exhibition trial at Richmond on March 10.
The first four from each heat will progress through to the final on March 25 which boasts a $25,000 winner’s cheque.