BOOM youngster Hemsworth (Black Magic Opal x El Brooklyn Jan ’16) will be aiming to keep his unbeaten record intact when he faces his biggest test to date in Saturday’s Group 2 Launceston Cup (515m).
Trained by Mick Stringer, the blue dog won his semi-final impressively on Monday after being trapped wide around the first turn, storming home in the closing stages to win by a neck in 29.72. Apollo Blue (Fernando Bale x Millie Grace Mar ’16) and Chief Jetpilot (Cosmic Chief x Latina Aug ’14) filled the placings and will also progress through to the final, ahead of race favourite Rock Up Top (Spud Regis x Proven Wag May ’15).
Stringer, who trains Hemsworth for owner/breeder Seona Thompson, said he was thrilled with the youngster’s effort to claim his semi win.
“He is going super – we are really happy to have made the final,” Stringer told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“It was a great win. Rock Up Top is a quality dog which beat Raw Ability at Sandown Park – to take on a city class Melbourne dog and to take a couple of lengths off him to win was a big effort.”
Hemsworth has now faced the starter nine times for nine wins – his prize money sitting just above $15,000. Stringer said he couldn’t be happier with how Hemsworth is handling himself on the race track, especially throughout the gruelling three-week Launceston Cup series.
“Every time I ask him to go to the next level he keeps stepping up. This has been a big step up in grade for him – taking on the older dogs which also happen to be the best dogs in Tasmania,” Stringer said.
“He has only just turned two and he has only had a handful of starts. I put him in the Rising Stars series which he won at Launceston, with the plan being to give him a go at the Cup if he performed well.
“I thought he was good enough to deserve a crack at the Cup and he has proved me right so far.”
Stringer confirmed it won’t be too long before Hemsworth heads home to Victoria to join Seona Thompson’s kennel, but he is hopeful the 33-kilogram sprinter can take out one of Tassie’s biggest events before making his voyage.
However, Hemsworth has drawn box eight for the $40,000 to the winner Cup which Stringer says isn’t ideal.
“It’s a horrid draw, it’s probably the worst in Australasia,” he said.
“But he is in there and one good thing is he doesn’t crash left. If he can come out like he did the other night hopefully he can repeat what he did in his semi-final.
“It’s a very even race. Zulu Knock’s can be tardy early as can a few of the others. I’m just hoping he can get a run down the outside early – if he can get in the first two or three around the first turn he will be a good chance of being in the finish.”
The Group 2 Launceston Cup will be run and won this Saturday night.