Gerry Kleeven is feeling on top of the world after his boom speedster Luca Neveelk claimed the Group Two Ballarat Cup in devastating fashion on Wednesday night.
Kleeven had high expectations of his star sprinter going into the event, and he didn’t disappoint.
Stepping swiftly from box one, the son of Talk’s Cheap and It’s A Neveelk quickly assumed the lead and stormed clear to record a two and one quarter length triumph in a hot 25.06.
“All he had to do was jump with them and then I knew he would be right”, Kleeven said.
“He might have been a step or two slow early but then he just exploded and away he went from them. Once he broke up the field like he did I knew it was all over and they wouldn’t get him.”
From just 30 career starts, Luca Neveelk has now amassed the incredible record of 24 wins and three minor placings. The stunning blue speedster has now won over $203,000 for Kleeven, who bred the 37 kilogram powerhouse with his wife Rose.
In addition to his Ballarat Cup victory, Luca Neveelk has also claimed the Group Two Geelong Cup and was a finalist in both the Bendigo and Melbourne Cups.
Kleeven is understandably elated with his dynamic chaser which has provided him with with his first taste of group glory after more than four decades in the industry.
“I thought winning the Geelong Cup was good but this is just as good if not better. It was really great.
“I was pretty emotional after the race, there is no two ways about it, I think I finished up with a couple of tears in my eyes. It was just a magic feeling. We had a lovely drive home, although we didn’t get home until about quarter past three in the morning, but we had plenty to talk about.”
Kleeven said his kennel star has pulled up exceptionally well after his emphatic display.
“His recovery is unbelievable. He is feeling really good and you wouldn’t even know he had been around.
“The next morning he started (barking) at about half past six so I got up, let him out and put him back into his kennel. I had to go to the car for something and when I shut the car door he started again- he is ready to go again already.”
Kleeven says the sky is the limit for his gun chaser which is still just a youngster by racing standards. Blessed with blistering early speed it would be no surprise to see Luca Neveelk dominate one turn racing over the next twelve months and it is realistic to draw comparisons between him and former greats El Galo and Paw Licking.
“He is a very handy dog, we are very pleased with him. He is only two and a half and he should be getting near the top of his game.
“He has terrific speed for the first and second sections and it takes a very good dog to run him down.”
Kleeven said he is likely to avoid the upcoming Hobart Thousand, the nation’s most prestigious event on a one turn circuit.
“I haven’t had time to think about it. I will work it out in the next few days but, at this stage, probably not. He has the Warragul and Shepparton Cups coming up so I think I will give the Hobart Thousand a miss.”
With plans to tackle the local features, Kleeven is set for an exciting few months with Luca Neveelk and he is adamant that he will continue to enjoy the ride himself.
“I have bred some good dogs but this bloke is special and he will stay at our place.
“Earlier on in his career, after about two or three runs, I was offered $50,000 for him but I said no, he is not for sale. I have been in dogs and breeding them for forty odd years, why would I want to sell him? You only get a dog like him once in a life time.”