WEST On Hawkeye (Barcia Bale x Zelemar Fever Mar ’15) produced a career best performance to win Saturday night’s Spring Gift final at Cannington.
Trained by Chris Halse, the 35-kilogram greyhound jumped brilliantly for the first time in his career, bouncing straight to the front of the field and leading throughout in 29.66 over the 520m journey.
Mendoza Monelli (Mogambo x Sharon Monelli Apr ’15) finished second, five and a half lengths behind the winner, with Demon Bale (Bella Infrared x Fyna Bale Mar ’14) rounding out the placings back in third.
The win ended a frustrating run of second placings for West On Hawkeye which had been runner-up in four starts prior to Saturday night, including an unlucky performance in his heat the week prior.
“I thought he was a certainty beaten the week before and even though he had the four I thought he was drawn to get a nice run in the final,” Halse told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“The three went to the fence and the inside division missed the start a little bit which helped him, but it was great to see him show some early pace.
“When he led I knew it was all over because he is a very strong dog – he picked the right night to jump like that.
“I’d love for him to make a habit of it.”
The $19,950 winner’s cheque took West On Hawkeye’s prize money earnings to just under $100,000, having now won 10 of his 39 starts with 18 minor placings.
Halse said if he can begin well more consistently he will consider chasing the big races across Australia with his black powerhouse.
“If he can start jumping like that every week you’d have to travel with him because he has got an enormous motor.
“The dogs racing in WA now are as fast as anywhere else in the country so he is definitely good enough to mix it with them in the other states.
“He has already proven that – he won a consolation of the Launching Pad at Sandown Park in 29.46 when he’d only had two looks at the track.”
It was a great night for Halse on Saturday, collecting a winning double when Ramifications (Barcia Bale x Disco Girl Jan ’14) led throughout in 34.87 over the 600m trip.
It was his second straight win, having recorded a track record 41.83 the week prior over 715m.
The double came at the right time for Halse and his partner Linda Britton who have been forced to scratch their exciting youngster Vanderworp (Kelsos Fusileer x High Recall Oct ’15) from Thursday night’s Group 3 SA Derby.
The blue greyhound finished second in his heat of the $25,000 feature on Thursday night at Angle Park, finishing two lengths behind Mr Pupparazzi (Djays Octane x Pie Thief Sep ’15) after leading.
“He trialled 22.30 at Mandurah before he went so we were very happy with him going into the series,” Halse said.
“When he weakened in the straight on Thursday after leading we knew there was something not right.
“Sure enough the next morning he pulled up sore in the stopper – we got an x-ray and he had chipped the bone.
“He’s had some treatment on it and is back home now, but unfortunately it means he won’t be able to start in the final.
“It’s not a good injury, the only positive is that he isn’t two yet so he has plenty of time on his side.”
Mark Delbridge’s Dyna Elvio (Kiowa Mon Manny x Prue Bale Jun ’15) will now gain a start in the final off box two.
Halse’s brother-in-law Jeff Britton looks to have a mortgage on the race, preparing three finalists including superstar pup Mepunga Blazer (Barcia Bale x Mepunga Nicky Jun ’15) which clocked a sensational 29.25 in his heat.