VETERAN trainer Andrew Stewart is hopeful his fantastic Cosmic Rumble x Tania Two Shoes litter can produce another group performer when Slick Ice contests a heat of the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson (515m) at Sandown Park this Thursday night.
The litter has already produced Midwinter, the winner of the Group 1 Silver Chief Classic at The Meadows earlier this year, with his equally talented litter brother now out to emulate the feats of his sibling when he lines up in the third of four qualifiers this week.
The white and black greyhound, $13 with Bet365 to win next week’s $100,000 to the winner final, comes into the race as the winner of his past three starts, including two wins over the sprint trip at Bendigo and a strong 30.10 triumph at The Meadows.
Stewart is delighted with the speed Slick Ice has been showing at his most recent runs and has his fingers crossed the trend will continue on Thursday night.
“We are very happy with him,” Stewart told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Once he hits the ground he has been off and gone straight away – he is getting much better early and with his track sense that’s for sure.
“He is going to need to show every little bit of early pace he has this week, it is a bit concerning being drawn in box five but that is racing.
“My main concern is that he makes it around safe. If he runs last but he is ok then that is fine by me because I certainly don’t want to see him get injured.”
Slick Ice will meet a good field on Thursday night, including the likes of Buck Forty (box one), Invictus Rapid (box two), Major Jackpot (box three) and Dawkins Bale (box seven).
Stewart said the 31 kilogram dog is suited back to a two turn track, with the 13 time winner boasting four triumphs from five starts at Sandown Park with a 29.50 personal best.
“He likes Sandown, he goes better on the two turn tracks.
“Once he hits the first bend he seems to be able to corner very well and he can put two or three lengths on a field just going through the bend which is fantastic.
“We are more than happy with him at the moment. He is feeling good and we have been working on getting him into a nice routine – I don’t tend to trial my dogs a lot – I do a lot of walking and free galloping with them to keep them fresh.”
71-year-old Stewart only has two greyhounds racing at present, and says he is extremely thankful for the help of his wife, Judy.
“I remember an old mate of mine once said if you want to get rid of your wife just go and buy a greyhound – and he would know because at that stage he was onto his third wife.
“But in all honesty it doesn’t work unless you have got a good partner and my wife does a damn good job – she gets all their feeds done and helps out with everything.
“We only have two race dogs at the moment. If we had eight or nine we wouldn’t be able to put the right amount of work into each dog. We massage our dogs every day, sook them up and they seem to thrive on the attention which they get here.
“We are not a big kennel, we just have the dogs because we enjoy what we do and we love the dogs – we don’t get rid of our retired dogs and we have some here as pets – Tania Two Shoes sleeps beside my bed of a night time.”
Stewart said it is a massive thrill to be racing against the elite company with his homebred greyhound and says another feature win would be very special.
“The first group 1 I was just happy to be there and walking down to the boxes at The Meadows, but when I had 30 seconds to try and make up a speech after he (Midwinter) won I was a bit shocked and overwhelmed.
“I knew he was a good chaser – but we didn’t expect to win going into the race.
“When he got behind the leader I thought he was a bit of a chance and then he just exploded and that was the end of it.
“It would mean a lot if this dog could make it through to the final – just to have the credit for breeding a nice litter and to have that respect from within the industry.”
Four heats of the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson will be run at Sandown Park on Thursday night, with the first two from each qualifier progressing through to the final on May 19.
Group 1 Harrison-Dawson – all-in market
Blazin’ Bomber – $5
Unlawful Entry – $5
Ultimate Magic – $6
Dalgetty – $8
Moreira – $8
Zambora Brockie – $8
Major Jackpot = $13
Slick Ice – $13
Buck Forty – $17
Diego Bale – $21
Snakebite Bale – $21
Ando’s Mac – $26
Invictus Rapid – $26
Aston Bolero – $26
Marley Bale – $34 with Bet365
Tiggerlong Await – $34
Dawkins Bale – $41
Alpha Hermes – $51
One For Me – $51
Cactus Jack – $81
Weston East – $101
Dundee Osprey – $101
Ernest Bale – $101
Bearville Aza – $151
Cut Loose Max – $151
Old Spice – $151
Allen Portland – $141
Blue Revolver – $151
Dyna Irminus – $201
Dream Edition – $201
Bruce Tycoon – $201
Both Sides Now – $201
Dream Ticket – $201
Soda Man – $251
Memphis Jookin’ – $501
Turfman – $501
Major Curly – $501
Aston Kane – $1001