El Grand Amigo spearheads Ryan’s three-pronged Thousand assault

TASMANIAN trainer Patrick Ryan rates exciting youngster El Grand Amigo as his best chance heading into Thursday’s Group 1 Hobart Thousand (461m) heats.

El Grand Amigo is on of the most inexperienced chasers contesting the series, having faced the starter on just seven occasions from which he has recorded five wins.

The 37-kilogram heavyweight will face his toughest test to date in Thursday’s heat, coming up against star Victorian Blazin’ Bomber (box six), Hello I’m Leo (box four) and talented litter mates Cash And Co (box three), Penny’s Roman (box five) and Keune (box seven).

However, what El Grand Amigo lacks in experience he makes up for in class, having clocked a fast 25.85 at Hobart on November 24.

Despite being rated a $31 shot to win the final with Sportsbet, Ryan says his charge has a chance of winning his heat.

“He is only a young dog but he has shown a lot of ability,” Ryan told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“We realise we are racing the big boys – there are some quality dogs over here from the mainland, but the thing that gives him a chance is his early splits – he is very quick early.

“If he couldn’t run those early splits he would be back in the pack and no chance, but he is capable of getting to the front and running quick times.”

The son of El Grand Senor and super producer Dennes Point will start from box two in his heat, a suitable draw according to Ryan.

“I don’t think box two will worry him. Some dogs like being boxed out wide and carving across, but he is really good off the mat and should be up near the lead, so I don’t think the box will bring him undone.

“He is inexperienced and young, but when you are quick early like him it doesn’t really matter – it just depends on whether or not he is good enough to hold them out.”

El Grand Amigo comes into his qualifier high on confidence, having won his past four in a row. Ryan is also expecting him to be better for his last run two weeks ago heading into Hobart Thousand series.

“When he ran 25.85 he didn’t back up the following week, he only ran 26.15, but that’s to be expected because he is only a young dog so the hard run would have sucked it out of him.

“After his last win we gave him a week off leading into the heats and I think he is a lot fitter and stronger now so we are looking forward to this week.”

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The dog is owned by two of the most prominent greyhound racing identities in Tasmania, Greg and Gary Fahey, with Ryan thankful for the opportunity to train their talented speedster.

“Greg has been a professional punter over here for more than 30 years and they are really nice people – they only breed one litter a year and we are lucky enough that they normally give us one to train out of the litter and that’s how we got him.

“They have had a terrific run with this line. Gary does the breeding at his place, rears the pups there and trains from his property at Brighton.

“They knocked back a substantial offer for this dog – they decided they are in it for the breeding and racing so luckily for us they decided to keep him.

“Hopefully he can repay their faith in him this week.”

Ryan also has two other chances in the series, with Cosmic Heir and Lemon Sunrise to contest heats three and six respectively.

Cosmic Heir is a winner of eight of her 22 starts, whilst Lemon Sunrise recently headed back to Tassie after a stint in Melbourne where she won three races at The Meadows for Kel Greenough.

Ryan, who moved to Tasmania from Queensland a couple of years ago, says it would be a massive thrill to win the Hobart Thousand, the oldest race on the Australian greyhound racing calendar.

“Wherever you live, everyone knows about the Hobart Thousand. It has got a great history and it means so much to the locals.

“It would also be very special for my son Brennan. The dogs are in my name – but Brennan does just as much as I do with them.

“He is only 22 and he loves the dogs, so winning a race like this would be a dream come true for him.”

Eight heats of the $75,000 to the winner Hobart Thousand will be run this Thursday night, the first of which is set to jump at 8.22pm, with the winner from each qualifier progressing through to the final.

Other big names to watch out for include Zambora Brockie (heat one box five), American Monster (heat three box two), Outside Pass (heat four box eight), Unlawful Entry (heat five box one) and Black Bear Lee (heat eight box one).

Group 1 Hobart Thousand – all-in market

Zambora Brockie $2.20
Zinzan Brooke $8
Outside Pass $12
Unlawful Entry $15
Judicial Man $15
American Monster $15
Vancouver Star $18
Katey Roman $21
Blazin’ Bomber $21
Black Bear Lee $21
Bearville Azza $26
Chevsta $31
Chief Jetpilot $31
El Grand Amigo $31 with Sportsbet
Star Chamber $31
Max Profit $31
Halo Lee $41
Keune $41
Casio Lad $41
Maja Mahi Mahi $51
Hurunui Hamish $51
Dark Casio $51
Count Baroque $61
Still The One $61
Celtic Kid $61
Hello I’m Leo $61
Wynburn Archer $61
Tecoma Emily $71
Lobster Falls $81
Zipping Bruiser $81
Lemon Sunrise $101
Penny’s Roman $101
Perfect Metre $101
Hawka Tron $101
Suzy La Rue $126
Mahalo Man $151
Howzat Patsy $151
Cosmic Heir $151
Nebraska Beach $151
Fifteen Two $151
Cash And Co $151
Aye Pee Mccoy $201
Capra Ross $201
Tobrasca Rush $201
Take Guard $201
Elite Enfield $201
Pittsy Lomar $201
Betty La Fae $251
Straight Ate $251
Misty Fiord $251
Long View Belle $251
Runout Babe $251
Lockname Abby $251
Stylish Nic $251
Dziah $301
Family Bruiser $301
Nine Squared $301
Lucky Linc $301
Miss Myra $351
Whistledown $351
Grey’s A Docker $351
Zakizbo Gun $351
Tee Cee Benny $351
Work It $501
Regent Lois $501
Buckle Up Labi $501
Ruby Bailey $501
Buckle Up Jones $501
Midnight Bird $501