NEW South Wales trainer Chris O’Brien will head south of the border this week to contest the heats of the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m) at Sandown Park with his promising middle distance greyhound, Bulkender.
The fawn dog will jump from box two in the third and final heat of the night against a classy field including Ramifications (box four), Star Torana (box six) and Buck Forty (box eight).
Despite taking on some of the best middle distance chasers in training, O’Brien is confident his greyhound has the ability to match motors with them.
“I have taken him down to Victoria before and he ran third in a heat of the Group 1 Hume Cup at The Meadows behind Buck Forty and he was only beaten a length and three quarters,” O’Brien said.
“He seems to be racing a little bit stronger in his races over the past month or so which is why I made the decision to have another go at the big races in Victoria.
“A dog like him only comes around seldom so it’s now or never.”
The 37.5-kilogram heavyweight comes into the series in good form, having won his past two starts at Gosford and Nowra, both in best of day times, with the former being over the 600m trip.
With an overall record of 12 wins and 11 minors from 39 starts, O’Brien believes Bulkender is only just starting to hit his straps now.
“From a very young age when I first started trialling him I knew he had ability but he was very immature,” O’Brien said.
“We always thought he would make a better dog over the 600 when he got older, so that is starting to pay dividends now.”
O’Brien said he is happy with the box draw this week and is expecting Bulkender to be up near the lead in the early stages.
“He likes being on the inside so box two suits him this week.
“He is actually a pretty good beginner, but because he is such a big boy it takes him a while to get going.
“I am hoping he is able to do what he does best and get out in front and try to hang on at the finish.
“I do think he will like Sandown, but he hasn’t seen the track which is always a little bit of a concern, but he is a jump and run type of dog so I am keeping my fingers crossed that he can get a little bit of luck and get close to the lead early on.”
Bulkender was bred by O’Brien as a part of a syndicate and is certainly bred to cover more ground, being by Where’s Pedro out of Tifia.
“He is a very sensible dog – he is very much like his mother Tifia who was a great race bitch. She won the Magic Maiden series at Wentworth Park and she was out of Tifi who is a daughter of Chili Berger so it has been a fantastic line.
“Tifi was a litter sister to Did I Entertain and a full younger sister to Bit Chili.
“It’s been a syndicate of guys and we have been very lucky with the breeding.
“We picked out Tifi from John Tyrell’s line and we got her fairly cheap – I always thought she would make a great broodbitch and she has thrown some good dogs with the best probably being Double Twist.
“While Tifi won over the staying trip, I am not sure whether Bulkender will get 700 so at this stage.
“I am going to keep racing him over 600 to 650 at this stage until later on and if I think he is dour enough I will have a go at stepping him up.”
The Group 3 Sir John Dillion heats are races five through to seven at Sandown Park this Thursday night.
Some of the other big names to watch out for throughout the series include Dundee Osprey (heat one box three), Lithgow Panther (heat two box three), Bruce Tycoon (heat two box five) and Buck Forty (heat three box eight).
The first two from each heat plus the two fastest thirds will progress through to next week’s $25,000 to the winner final.
Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial – all-in market
Dundee Osprey $5
Trip To Eden $5.50
Dyna Boomer $8.50
Lithgow Panther $8.50
Bruce Tycoon $8.50
Aeroplane Tommy $8.50
Buck Forty $8.50
Star Torana $9.50
Dyna Maddie $15
Allen Marky $21
He’s A Boomer $21
Polijuice Potion $26
Bulkender $31 with Bet365
Coalville Tiger $41
White Bandit $51
Brazen Bomber $67
Mepunga Rosie $81
Rack Tap Rack $81
Dublin Bull $81
Dash Of Rose $101
Dennis Gallon $251
Shakey Jet $1001
Stevron Autos $1001
Somebody’s Image $2001