TWO Bills (Spring Gun x China Miss Feb ’15) stamped himself as a genuine contender for next month’s Group 1 Hobart Thousand (461m) with a brilliant win in Thursday’s Gold Cup final at Hobart.
The Shane Whitney-trained greyhound began well from box three, settling in second spot around the turn before finding the front entering the home straight and bolting clear to win by three lengths in a brilliant 25.85.
Early leader Offen Charles (Don’t Knocka Him x Patsy Anne Feb ’15) held on for second and Reality Hawk (Nolen x Top Reality May ’15) rounded out the trifecta back in third.
Whitney, who trains at Brighton with his father Gavin, said he was pleased with his greyhound’s effort.
“The one and two get off the track a little bit, so I was a bit concerned coming from box three, but the way the race turned out he got his chance and he did the job nicely,” Whitney told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He has gone 26.00 at Hobart before but with a clear run I always thought he could go quicker which he did on Thursday night – it is great to see him putting it all together.
“There are not a lot of features in Tassie, so you have to make the most of them and this bloke has been able to pick up a couple of nice races – he won the Derby and the Distance Championship at Launceston so he is going really well.”
Two Bills is owned by Whitney’s friend Bill Bailey and has now won 15 races from 38 starts with a further 12 minor placings. Thursday’s victory took his career earnings to $38,000.
Whitney says all going well, Two Bills – along with three of his kennel mates – will now be aimed at the heats of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand – the final a week later worth a massive $75,000 to the winner.
“A month ago we planned to go towards the Gold Cup and then the Hobart Thousand so that will be his next aim – hopefully he can have a bit of luck through that series,” Whitney explained.
“He isn’t a blistering beginner, but he can position up into a nice spot and his last sections are fantastic – Hobart is a big open track with a long straight so that really suits him.”
Whitney is no stranger to feature race success, having also trained the maternal grandsire of Two Bills, Chinatown Lad (Lilli Pilli Lad x Chinatown Babe Dec ’05).
The brindle stayer was a champion of his era, winning the Group 1 Sandown Cup, the Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup, the Group 3 Swan Challenge and the Group 3 Chairman’s Cup.
Despite Whitney having won some of the major races on the Australian calendar, a win in his state’s biggest race has thus far eluded him.
“Dad had a dog called Starlight Rebel which ran second and I have had two seconds as well – Awesome Torque and Avalon Chief, so it’s a race we’ve always tried to win but we haven’t been able to yet.
“We’ve won some big races around the country, but there is something special about the Hobart Thousand and it’s probably the one race I really want to win – it would be a fantastic thrill.”
Heats of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand will be held on December 14.