SODA Man will be out to give young training duo Correy Grenfell and Samantha Ferguson their first group 1 finalist when he contests a heat of the prestigious Perth Cup (520m) at Cannington on Saturday night.
The son of Fabregas and Pure Elle has had seven starts since joining their Lara kennel in mid February, recording four wins and two placings, with his most recent start potentially the best of his career thus far, scoring in a sensational 29.79 over the 525m trip at The Meadows.
For Grenfell, the win strengthened the high opinion he held of his class chaser and made it an easy decision to tackle the $140,000 to the winner Perth Cup series.
“To be honest I wasn’t surprised with how well he went on Saturday night as he has been running really well as of late,” Grenfell told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“As soon as he passed the first corner in front I knew he was going to run time.
“Although we have only had him for seven runs we had the Perth Cup in our minds from about a month ago and we have set him up for it.
“I stepped him up to the 600m at The Meadows a couple of starts back and he wasn’t far off the records for the early sections.
“One of the reasons I put him in the 600 was to get him out in front and leading before he went to Perth to get his confidence up.
“I think that showed in his last run at The Meadows and the best thing was he got through the first corner untouched so he will be going into his heat with plenty of confidence this week.”
Grenfell sent his charge from Victoria to WA following his latest performance, with the 34 kilogram powerhouse in the hands of Max Julien in the days leading into Saturday’s heats.
Grenfell explained Julien had trialled Soda Man around the new Cannington circuit in order to give him the best possible chance leading into the qualifiers.
Soda Man has drawn box five in the last of eight Perth Cup heats on Saturday, facing a tough field against the likes of Winsome Jacko (box two), Folio Bale (box three) and Ramifications (box four).
“Box five isn’t ideal but he has got early pace on his inside so he might get a cart across on the inside,” he said.
“He had a look at the track on Tuesday night and he went well all, considering the track conditions.
“We weren’t going to trial him but at the last minute we decided he needed a look based on all the replays I have seen of other dogs at their first look.
“I think he will improve on his trial – if he does he will be thereabouts on the finish line.
“He can be a little bit tardy early but his second split and run home times are really strong – but he just needs that little bit of luck in the run to the first turn.
“If he happens to find the bunny he can run a blistering time.”
Grenfell and Ferguson have had their share of success throughout their brief training careers thus far, with Ferguson training the talented Ima Lonely Boy which contested a heat of the Group 1 Australian Cup earlier this year.
Their potential as trainers has not gone unnoticed, with Grenfell currently preparing a couple of greyhounds for leviathan owner-breeder Paul Wheeler.
“Paul gave us a good opportunity to take on a couple of dogs which Mark Delbridge sacked and we have had some nice results with them so far,” Grenfell said.
“I was talking to Paul a while ago and we sat down and had a bit of a chat and he offered us a few dogs which he didn’t want to go to Adelaide.
“When he made us the offer we took it on as soon as possible.
“It is fantastic and we are thrilled to say we have been given the chance to train for Paul Wheeler.
“It’s a nice feeling.”
With a successful start to his training career, Grenfell is hoping Soda Man can continue the fairytale this week, with making a group 1 final a dream for both Grenfell and Ferguson.
“He is definitely the quickest dog which I have trained – although when I first got him I never expected him to be this good,” Grenfell said.
“It’s a thrill to have him racing in the series and I have got my fingers crossed he can get through.
“I don’t know what I would do or say if he made the final – it would be an unbelievable feeling.”
Soda Man will jump from box five in race 12 at Cannington on Saturday night which is set to jump at 12:37am (AEST) time.
Watch Soda Man (2) winning at The Meadows.