If there is a fairytale story attached to this Friday night’s Group One Adelaide Cup final, it has to be Lauren Harris and Valladares.
The son of El Grand Señor and Sealin’ The Deal (Talk’s Cheap – Trusta Rush) will exit box six in the $75,000 to-the-winner event at just his 17th career outing and is one of just two dogs (along with Wynbrook) who will fly the flag for the home state.
Young trainer Lauren Harris is set for the biggest race of her short training career and just making the final has been a huge achievement.
“We are very thrilled, it has been a great week,” Harris told ARG.
Valladares showed plenty of early zip to land an upset win from box eight in his heat last week, stopping the clock at 29.87. Harris knows what her speedster is capable of but admits she was not expecting too much.
“The win did surprise me a bit, we basically just nominated our two dogs, Valladares and Nebula, because we did not think that there would be any other open races on that night.”
“Even though he stepped last, he still went 4.48 early and mustered up to lead, that is the strength for him, he has great pace to that middle marker.”
Harris says that Valladares is going to have to be on his best behaviour this week if he is to land the big one.
“He hasn’t been done any favours with box six, I think he is going to need to produce a mid to low 4.30’s effort early to put himself in the race. We know he can do that, he did it when he ran 29.75 a few starts back.”
Valladares only entered Harris’ kennel in June but has hardly put a foot wrong, winning seven of his 12 starts for the Callington mentor.
“Justin Illman does a lot of breeding and rearing in Victoria and he is one of the owners we train a lot of dogs for. He won his maiden in Victoria then he was offered to us to train after a few more runs. Later on he was offered to us for purchase and we are now lucky enough to own him.”
“I think he is just perfectly suited to Angle Park, he loves the place. If you have that early speed then it is a huge benefit at Angle Park and it has just suited him. I have not taken him anywhere else, I haven’t trialled him at Gawler or anything, I have just kept him at Angle Park.”
A victory in the Adelaide Cup would be a huge achievement for Harris who only turned her hand to full time training relatively recently.
“I have only been training full time for two or three years but have been around greyhounds since I was 13. I used to also work in a newsagency as well. I was in Victor Harbour and only had four dogs in work.”
“My partner Ryan and I got the opportunity to purchase some property at Callington near Murray Bridge and that is when I decided to give it a go full time, we have around ten dogs in work now.”
Harris says that many people have been happy to help her on the journey so far and nominates two in particular as her biggest influences.
“Justin Illman has been a great help. He is a good friend and has always helped along the way. Paul Barry is another person who has been terrific. He checks our dogs and has also given some great advice. They would be my biggest influences.”
Harris says for now, racing is their priority but things may change later on.
“At this stage we are only racing. The property is not really set up for rearing or breeding just yet. Maybe in the future we will look at that side of things, we do have a couple of bitches that we want to breed from. But for now we are just concentrating on racing and I am really enjoying it.”
When asked the obvious question about where her Group One finalist sits among the greyhounds she has raced, the 34-month-old black dog gets top billing.
“Valladares would have to be the best I have had. I have had some good ones in the past but he would be the best. I won the Group Three Brian Johnstone Memorial with Handsome Shiraz and my very first greyhound Crusade was also a very handy free for all dog around Angle Park but Valladares would have to be the best.”
This Friday night, Lauren Harris could add a Group One win to her training CV which would clearly sit as the piece de resistance from her time with the collar and lead.
The Adelaide Cup is race eight at Angle Park on Friday night and scheduled to jump at 9:18pm local time.