Consistency and chase are two qualities that trainers look for in a handy greyhound. Speed is also of some importance. Nambeelup trainer John Iwanyk is lucky enough to have found this in his chaser Thunder Rama.
The son of Hallucinate – Bananarama has been running in Free To All company with the likes of talented sprinters On Coin, Zelemar Fever and Star Recall. Although his personal best time of 30.44 is a few lengths off the 29.90’s that both On Coin and Zelemar Fever have been able to clock, he has still been able to steal a number of victories.
The stunning red fawn dog is one of two chasers Iwanyk has in the Spring Gift heats at Cannington over the 530 metre distance. With just two heats containing seven dogs, a top four position guarantees a rug in next weeks $27,000 Spring Gift Final.
Thunder Rama has drawn box four in the second heat, with the likes of Luba Monelli (box six), Jump The Queue (box seven) and Star Recall (box eight) all on his outside.
“He has Star Recall in there again, which makes things a but difficult, but under normal circumstances if he leads and there is trouble behind he has got to be a big chance I think.” Trainer John Iwanyk explained.
“Star Recall is a very good dog, she went past him last week and that was from well back so she is always going to be a big chance. It does give you a better chance when you are in front and hopefully there is a bit of interference behind.”
Thunder Rama more often then not finds himself leading his field, but doesn’t ping the boxes. It’s when he steps out and hits the ground when the magic happens. Last week he showed his versatility when he used box seven as well as a lot of the track to lead the field heading into the back straight. Although he was run down by Star Recall his performance was more then honourable. The week before that he exited from box three and sat on the rails to win in a handy time of 30.65.
“He is a very good chaser, he just wants to get up there and get around them and that’s what makes him such a nice dog. He is just so honest and such a tenacious chaser.”
Ben, as Thunder Rama is known around the kennels, has gathered a support crew at the track including race caller Peter O’Neill, who often calls him home to victory with a ‘Go you good thing!’
“He is a very nice looking dog; I think the red fawn probably stands out from the rest of them who are mostly black or brindle. He is a great natured dog and he holds himself well at the track too. When he gets out onto the track his tail is wagging, he is happy and it’s all part of his personality.”
Iwanyk will be hoping for a Thunder Rama win, for another chance to recite the beginning of ACDC’s Thunderstruck.
Heat One: 7.28pm
Linda Britton looks to have the three best chances in the first heat of the Spring Gift.
Gone To Heaven is coming off a good win on Wednesday night in a time of 30.42 from box four. She has drawn box one in the heats which gives her an edge because of her speed when she hits the ground. My Mate Cobber is resuming from a spell and will be wearing the green rug. His early speed isn’t great which means he will more than likely have to play catch-up to kennelmates Zelemar Fever and Gone To Heaven.
Zelemar Fever is still finding form with just the one win from her last seven starts against tough competition including Chica Destacada and Star Recall. Her early speed is what won her races early on in the year and she seems to have lost that out of the boxes, but she is proving that she can put in the hard yards and come from behind to contest the finish.
Heat Two: 7.47pm
The favourites are set to come from outside boxes in the second and final heat of the Spring Gift. Star Recall will more the likely jump favourite from box eight thanks to her superb form of late. The wide box draw won’t worry her, she has had five starts from the pink box for three wins and two seconds. It will take a lot to go wrong in the race for her to miss out on a spot in next weeks final.
Last week’s Peter Thomas winner Jump The Queue has found herself in box seven for the eight time in her career. Time after time she finds herself leading fields out of the boxes with her explosive speed but it’s her strength that is her main concern. She will have to be in front my more then a few lengths if she is to hold off the strong finishing Luba Monelli and Star Recall.
Luba Monelli is jumping from box six for trainer David Hobby. After resuming from a spell she hasn’t finished outside the top four, winning on one occasion. She will be coming home strongly, so she is in with a good chance if she gets a clear run.
With $7,330 on the line and a position in next weeks Spring Gift final, Cannington is set hold some exciting races tonight.