After a surprise victory in the Group 1 Hume Cup on Melbourne Cup eve, grand old campaigner Alpe D’Huez will be chasing further Group glory when he tackles his next assignment- the Group 1 Bold Trease Carnival Cup heats next Thursday night.
The Kelly Bravo-trained greyhound went into the 600 metre feature on Monday as the third elect at $11.30. The race favourite was the brilliant Bookkeeper who was sent to the boxes at $1.70 after his slashing track record run the week prior. However, after a slow beginning, Bookkeeper found all sorts of trouble from box six. With a safe start from the cherry, Alpe D’Huez was able to stalk the race leader, Easton Bale, for the majority of the race before charging down the outside on the home turn and streaking away for a courageous win in 34.34s.
Bookkeeper ran a great race to finish second, just over three lengths off the winner, but was no match for the fawn flash out in front.
Bravo went into the race modest as always, just hoping for a safe trip and perhaps a placing from her resilient chaser. However, when he was up with the leaders early on, Alpe D’Huez was always going to figure heavily in the finish
“I was more shocked than anything. I think I had it in my mind that Bookkeeper would jump and would lead and that Alpe would be lucky to run into a place. When I saw him up there pretty handy early I was hopeful”, Bravo said.
“He is a very fast dog but sometimes if he gets that little bit caught up it hinders him. But he just got into a really nice spot early on and was helped with that little bit of trouble on his outside- I think Bookkeeper may have missed it a little bit”
“You never know if they are going to run up the back of the other dogs, but I was happy that he was up there early because I knew he was going to finish in the top three”
“Even though Bookkeeper broke the track record last week, Alpe’s run home was a quicker. When he was up there early I could see Bookkeeper coming on the fence but in hindsight he probably wasn’t going to run Alpe down because his run home is very strong”
Alpe D’Huez now boasts the fantastic record of 44 starts for 18 wins and 14 minors, with over $150,000 in prizemoney earnings.
After a plethora of injuries throughout his career, the three and a half year old sprinter is extremely lucky to still be racing. Now proven at the top level, it is a testament to the dog and to the Bravo family for keeping him sound and racing competitively on the track- let alone at Group 1 level.
“At one stage it didn’t look like he was ever going to race again after he did his back muscle”
“I remember Brett saying to the owners when he came back the second time ‘if I can get half a dozen runs out of this dog without him breaking down again, we will win a Group race’. I thought I would be happy to see him just go around a bush track every week- I didn’t think he would get around a city track again- it is amazing what he does”
After pulling up well after his victory, Alpe D’Huez will trial this weekend before heading towards the Bold Trease heats. Held over the testing 715m at Sandown Park, Bravo believes that her kennel star is heading into the series with a good preparation and that the Warragul track record holder (38.99s) should be able to run out the extra distance
“He is super- really good. He will have a trial on the weekend and we will put him in the Bold Trease heats next Thursday”
“He did a bit of 700 racing before we got him, he has the Warragul 680 track record still. We have stepped him up a couple of times, but he has been a little bit short of a run. He will definitely run the 700 but we will just see how he goes. He has probably had the best preparation this time, at least he is going in well prepared”.