Jacqui Blax striving for Laurels stardom after overcoming injury

KEITH and Lisa Hellmuth have their fingers crossed that injury woes with their promising sprinter Jacqui Blax are a thing of the past heading into Sunday’s Group 2 Laurels Classic heats at Sandown Park.

Since making the move to the Hellmuths’ kennel as a winner of two from two in February, the black and white bitch has been plagued by set backs which have limited her to just six additional starts from which she has recorded three wins and two minor placings.

Jacqui Blax first had to contend with kennel cough, followed by her most recent issue, a re-occurring metacarpal injury.

However, with two recent starts up the straight at Healesville, followed by trials at Ballarat and Sandown, the Hellmuths now believe they have got her right heading into Sunday’s heats.

“She has had it x-rayed numerous times and the last time her vet said it looked 100 per cent, but we still don’t want to push her too hard because we don’t want to see her hurt herself again,” Lisa Hellmuth explained.

“We aren’t too sure how she will handle the pressure of racing on two turns because we have been mainly trialling her on the one turn, but she has been coping with that, touch wood.

“We did give her a hand slip at Sandown a couple of weeks ago and she went really well, so we are hoping with the work we have done with her and the time off we have got it right and she can finally start her career now.”

Despite her interrupted career, Jacqui Blax has shown tremendous potential, with fast wins at Angle Park (29.74), The Meadows (30.03) and Healesville (19.00). However, Hellmuth says racing fans still haven’t seen the best of the daughter of Cape Hawke and Rustic Reeta.

“She can definitely run; she is a little superstar.

“I would love her to come out on Sunday and show people what she can actually do.

“I think she is going to be capable of running in the low 29s, but we just don’t know how good she is going to be because she hasn’t had the opportunity to show us yet.”

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Jacqui Blax has drawn box three in the third of eight Laurels Classic heats this Sunday, with her biggest threats looking to be Dr. Melezar (box one), Cavalcade (box seven) and Cosmic Odette (box eight).

Whilst believing she has a good chance in the series, Hellmuth indicated that the 28-kilogram sprinter may not reach her peak for another few runs.

“If she stays in one piece on Sunday we might finally see a glimpse of how good she is going to be, but with that being said she is probably a couple of runs short – she will cope with the run but I don’t think we will see her best this week.

“She can play up in the boxes a little bit, but I think that’s because she has been lightly raced so she hasn’t really had a lot of practice coming out of the boxes.

“If she jumps well she has got the early pace to get up near the lead and even if she does miss it she has shown before that she can also come from behind.

“If she is up there going around the first turn she is strong enough to win it.”

And Hellmuth isn’t just setting her sights on the Laurels, with hopes that Jacqui Blax can transform into a top-class greyhound if she stays sound.

“If she holds up she is probably going to be up with the best dogs we have trained.

“She would run through a brick wall. A lot of bitches seem to pull the pin when they get knocked around, but she seems to have a lot of guts and determination.”

The Group 2 Laurels Classic heats are races four – seven and nine – 12 this Sunday, with the first set to jump at 2.50pm.

Other notable names to watch out for in the series include Fanta Bale (heat one box one), Pepper Fire (heat two box seven), Up Hill Jill (heat four box eight), Fearless Swan (heat five box five), Sarah Swift (heat seven box four) and Kumbia Lass (heat eight box six).

Group 2 Laurels Classic – all-in market

Fanta Bale $4
Pepper Fire $5.50
Fearless Swan $7.50
Cosmic Odette $13
Jacqui Blax $13 with Bet365
Villa Jemma $15
Sarah Swift $15
Cavalcade $17
Up Hill Jill $21
Striker Light $21
Kiranna $21
Kumbia Lass $26
Shez Sublime $31
Isla’s Style $31
Elusive Jewel $31
Motel Girl $34
Leprechaun Storm $34
Go Good Riddance $34
Lagoon Jazzy $34
Flyrite $41
Mix Of Harmony $41
Fair Of Face $51
Super Smarty $51
Hae Allen $51
Princess Pout $51
Aston Gisle $51
Zipping Lady $51
Audacious Angel $51
Tiny Bopper $67
Rock Away $67
Mainline Osti $67
Miss Morrisset $67
Flying Cash $67
Lil’ Miss Banjo $67
Andrea Doria $67
Poppy Pete $81
Bee Rose $81
Crump’s Beauty $81
Rock Me $81
Quina Bale $81
What’s In Store $101
Aston Jesse $101
Erelda Bale $151
Leave Me Out $151
Lightwood Miss $151
Pippy Dippy $151
Brooklyn Skye $151
Mahalo Miss $151
Dr. Melezar $151
El Mirage $201
Spring Rain $251
Bililuna $251
Pee Dee $251
Iona Michelle $251
Crimson Sally $251
Zipping Tina $251
Raweenie $251
Born Molly $251
Bel Air Mist $301
Starface $501
Iona Everest $501
Rainbow Ruby $501
Broadway Belle $1001
Dashing Dream $1001
Crump’s Rose $1001
Dashing Impulse $1001
Rosie Riccarton $1001

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