VICTORIAN sprinter Up Hill Jill (Premier Fantasy x Where’s Demonica Feb ’15) finally ended her group 1 hoodoo on Saturday night at The Meadows when winning the Group 1 Topgun (525m).
The black bitch exploded from box seven, crossing straight to the lead. After finding the front Up Hill Jill never looked in doubt, cruising to the line to defeat Aston Dee Bee (Barcia Bale x Aston Elle Apr ’15) and Lightning Frank (Black Magic Opal x Kirabilli Abbie Sep ’14) in a slick 29.89.
It was the first group 1 win for Up Hill Jill which had previously taken out the Group 2 Laurels and run second in the Group 1 National Futurity, the Group 1 Sapphire Crown and the Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic.
She had also filled the runner-up spot in the Group 2 Richmond Oaks, the Group 2 Warrnambool Classic, the Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint and had qualified for the 2017 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg.
Geall, who admitted he wasn’t expecting his bonny bitch to win, said he was elated to see Up Hill Jill cross the line in first position.
“It’s a massive thrill – it’s always good to win any race, but to win a group 1 is what dreams are made of,” Geall told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I felt a lot of emotions after the race, but a lot of that was a massive sense of relief.
“I didn’t want her to finish her career without winning a group 1 because we knew she was capable.
“She has done that now so anything she does from here on in is just the icing on the cake.”
Owned and bred by David and his wife Rose, Up Hill Jill has now won 27 races from 50 starts with 18 placings. Saturday’s triumph took her earnings to $436,906 – propelling her to number 40 on the all time prize money earner’s list.
Geall said he is pleased he made the call to avoid the Group 1 Adelaide Cup earlier this month in order to focus on the Topgun feature.
“We started thinking that the travel might have been starting to take its toll on her and that she was tapering off a touch,” Geall explained.
“After the heats of the Dapto Megastar I’d had enough of the travelling myself, so we made the decision to give the Adelaide Cup a miss.
“Instead we freshened her up and it seems to have been a good move in the end.”
Since winning the Topgun – which was a career highlight for Geall – the Lara trainer says he has been inundated with support and congratulatory messages.
“I didn’t realise she was so popular – I must have had 60 messages from people right across Australia.
— The Meadows (MGRA) (@TheMeadowsDogs) October 28, 2017
“I think people thought she was due to win a big one – but that’s not always the way it goes even if you deserve one.
“Luckily for us she did everything right on Saturday night – she timed the start beautifully – and she was able to beat a terrific field. I couldn’t be happier with her.”
As for what’s next for his champ, Geall said the best eight Group 3 Silver Bullet on November 6 will be the goal, ahead of a potential crack at the Group 1 Melbourne Cup.
For now, Up Hill Jill is lapping up all the accolades which come with being a group 1 champ.
“She’s had a very relaxing morning – laying in the sun and getting lots of pats.
“She is being treated like a Queen and she knows she is one – although after last night I think she may be right.”