‘Fantastic’ is the word that leading Tasmanian mentor Ted Medhurst has used to describe having a runner in this Saturday night’s Group One Topgun at The Meadows.
Medhurst will put the polish on Buckle Up Wes, one of the best sprinters the Apple Isle has ever produced and the pair are aiming to give their home state it’s first win in the invitation-only feature since its inaugural running in 1993.
“His group level form in the last 12 months has been fantastic and so has his recent form. I thought he’d get an invite and hopefully he’ll do us proud”, Medhurst enthused.
Buckle Up Wes hasn’t been seen since August when he won the Tasmanian Sprint Championship final at Launceston.
The son of Collision and Everlong Bale looked to be one of the leading contenders heading into the National Final at Cannington, before he was scratched and it was revealed that he had pulled up sore after his victory.
Medhurst says that his charge is now back to his best and is ready to take on the nation’s elite.
“He has had a fair bit of work. As soon as we corrected his injury problem he has been on the walking machine every morning and that’s kept him fit. He has had a lot of galloping up our straight at home and he has had enough trials to get his fitness satisfactory, that’s for sure.”
“He’s lovely and sound. He has had a nice little break and is fresh and ready to go.”
Buckle Up Wes has drawn box five in the $150,000-to-the-winner feature, but Medhurst believes that his dynamic black chaser has what it takes to overcome the poor draw.
“He is reliant on a good beginning. If he begins fairly well he has got high speed to the first peg so I don’t really think the box draw is that bad.”
“He has just got to come out nice and use that speed. If he does, the box draw isn’t as vital.”
Buckle Up Wes is already a winner at Group One level at The Meadows having won this year’s Australian Cup in a fast 29.74. Knowing that he can handle the track, Medhurst was happy to keep the 31 kilogram speedster home in the lead up to the Topgun.
“I thought about trialling him, but we took him over and trialled him before the Australian Cup and he had never been there and he ran sensational, his sectionals were really good and he ran 29.70 odd first look.”
“If we took him back and trialled him now he’d run that and you’d be happy, so we may as well do that in the race.”
It won’t be an easy task for the Tasmanian with six individual Group One winners in contention for top honours. Chica Destacada, winner of the National Sprint Championship, has drawn beautifully in box one, as has Keybow which will jump from box two.
Keybow is one of two runners for Darren McDonald, who also has Awesome Project engaged from box six.
Jeff Britton has had a terrific 2014 and will also rug up two runners in the final. Oakvale Destiny has drawn box three while Mepunga Hayley, the winner of this year’s Maturity Classic at The Meadows, has gained a start after the scratching of Queenslander Flash Reality.
Brilliant NSW bitch Zipping Willow will have to work hard to cross the field from box eight, while recent Adelaide Cup winner Allen Deed is drawn ideally in box seven.
The Andrea Dailly trained chaser is one of the finalists which Medhurst rates hardest to beat.
“Allen Deed is in form, he is obviously going to be a hard dog to beat and I have high respect for Keybow.”
“Keybow is a great dog and has run really quick times at The Meadows in the past. I’m sure Darren wouldn’t have him in it unless he was really primed for the race.”
As Medhurst puts the finishing touches on his kennel star, which will fly to Melbourne on Friday morning, he admits feeling excited ahead of one of the biggest races of his training career.
“It’s more being proud that he has been invited and that he is in the race. It’s such a big thrill to have a dog that’s good enough to be in the Topgun, in particular this dog.”
“It would be fantastic (if he could win) but nothing will change what we think of Wes if not”.