SOUTH Australian star Fabregal will begin its Victorian campaign this Saturday night when the bitch steps out in the third heat of the Group 2 Traralgon Cup (525m).
Formerly trained by Robyn Mackellar, Fabregal has now joined the kennels of Lyn Smith and Ben Divirgilio, who are based at Devon Meadows.
Under the care of Mackellar, Fabregal has won 34 of her 58 starts with an additional 18 minor placings – her biggest victories being in the Group 2 Queensland Futurity and the Group 3 Gawler Gold Cup.
However, at three-years-of-age, the decision was recently made to send the daughter of Fabregas and Allinga Aye Jay across to Victoria in pursuit of some of the lucrative features on offer.
The first target for Fabregal will be the Traralgon Cup and Divirgilio is happy with how the black bitch has settled into her new environment.
“She has settled in really well – she is a seasoned race bitch so she knows what it’s all about but with that being said it is the first time she has been away from Robyn,” Divirgilio told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Robyn stayed with us when she brought her over to race at Sandown last year – so she has been here once before which has helped too.”
Fabregal will jump from box two in her heat this week, taking on a strong field including Fanta Bale (box five) and Extreme Magic (box six).
Divirgilio says Fabregal should run a nice race on Saturday night, but concedes she will have to bring her best to win.
“She is drawn where she wants to be and she appears drawn to lead the race, but we realise it is going to be tough up against dogs like Fanta Bale which has won two Group 1s at her last three starts and Extreme Magic who is probably one of the fastest 500m dogs going around.
“She has got the right habits to win a race like this at Traralgon because she is a very good beginner so we are just hoping Fanta Bale and Extreme Magic don’t get too close behind her.”
The 26-kilogram speedster has trialled at Traralgon in preparation for the run, with Divirgilio expecting further improvement heading into the qualifier.
“She had a look at Traralgon on Monday and went quite well, but I think she will improve after the trial.
“She should improve again after another look and a race start this week too, so hopefully she can at least run one, two in order to make the final.”
Despite facing a tough challenge at her first start for her new trainers, Divirgilio insists Fabregal is up to Victorian standard and will make her presence felt over the next few months.
“She is a professional race bitch – she doesn’t always clock blistering times when she wins but she just knows how to win and her record speaks for itself.
“I think she is up to the grade over here – she showed that when she came to Sandown last year and beat Free For All dogs like Eren Bale running 29.50-odd first look.
“Robyn is a very smart trainer and she has done a terrific job with her – our job is now to make sure she keeps going the way she has been throughout her career so far.
“It’s nice having a reliable little bitch like her which can compete in group races – they are not easy to win, but you wouldn’t expect them to be.
“She just needs to be able to lead and run her own race out in front and she should go well.”
All up, four heats of the Group 2 Traralgon Cup will be run and won this Saturday night. Notable greyhounds to watch out for include Jacqui Blax (heat one box one), Aston Dee Bee (heat one box six), Blazin’ Bomber (heat one box eight), Crackerjack Choc (heat two box one), Don’t Kid Me (heat two box seven), Jesaulenko (heat two box eight), Buck Forty (heat four box two), Aqua Cheetah (heat four box three) and Daithy Allen (heat four box seven).
The first heat of the Group 2 Traralgon Cup is race five and is set to jump at 7.22pm.