Kelly Bravo may be in for a prosperous fortnight, with a strong hand in two different feature races around the nation. This Saturday the Lovely Banks conditioner will line up underrated stayer Alpe D'Huez in the Group 1 Hume Cup at The Meadows, while her husband Brett makes the trip north to Wentworth Park with talented littermates Gimme Fuel and Sienna's Dream which will both be contesting the semi-finals of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic.
Bravo had a night to remember on Saturday with both Alpe D'Huez and Gimme Fuel taking out their heats in each respective series, with Sienna's Dream chasing gallantly when fourth behind Tasmanian chaser, Buckle Up Wes.
“You lose track of it really because Brett went to Sydney and I was here, but it was pretty exciting', Bravo explained of the night.
It all kicked off in Sydney when Gimme Fuel took out heat one of the Vic Peters Classic with a breathtaking all the way display from box four. Beginning flawlessly, the sleek speedster slinked straight to the front and was never behind another runner, dashing away to score by four and one quarter lengths in a blistering 29.64s (BON)
After trialling at the track the week prior, Bravo was hopeful that he could reel off some sizzling sectionals in the heat. Needless to say she was elated with the son of Dyna Lachlan and Runway Model
“We were hoping he'd run around that time- we originally said that if he ran in the 29.70s we would be happy because he hadn't had a lot of 500 metre racing- he really only had the one at Bendigo and the one at The Meadows”
“He had a trial up at Wentworth Park the week before just to give him a look so we were hoping that he would have a bit of improvement in him so 29.64 was really nice”
Litter sister Sienna's Dream was not as lucky in her qualifier. After beginning well from box four the fawn bitch was checked when Buckle Up Wes crossed her in pursuit of the rails, before racing under pressure as she was shuffled back through the field.
Moving into the semi-finals this week, Sienna's Dream has come up with a perfect draw in box one which will aid her quest to qualify for next Saturday's decider
“That really suits her. She is nowhere near as strong as her brothers, but she is very quick early. She seemed to knuckle down a little bit after the start last week, she was probably a little bit keen, but box one will suit her. We are just hoping that she gets a nice, clear run really- I don't think she can run up to the times of Gimme Fuel”
“She hasn't really had any 500 metre preparation, when we bought her it was with the recommendation that she was more of a short course bitch and we were going to breed with her. We are just hoping that when we give her a few 500s that she might find a little bit more as she gets older”
Unfortunately Gimme Fuel has not fared as well with his box draw- coming up with box five in race five, however Bravo is optimistic about his chance from the squeeze box
“I don't mind him in the five as long as he doesn't get interfered with at the start, he likes to race in the middle of the track anyway, so as long as he begins and nothing cuts him off coming out of the boxes straight away it's not a huge worry”
Despite vying for a spot in a $75,000 final at Wentworth Park on Saturday, much of the focus of Bravo's evening will be on The Meadows where rails runner Alpe D'Huez will be aiming to take out the Group 1 Hume Cup over the 600 metre trip.
The son of Bombastic Shiraz ran a terrific race last start when taking out his heat in a tidy 34.61s from an identical box. The fawn dog settled third throughout the run before unleashing a powerful finishing burst along the rails, assuming the lead mere meters before the post.
Named after one of the mountains in the Tour De France, Bravo was happy with his performance. However, he will have to contend with multiple Group winner Proven Impala and new track record holder, Bookkeeper on Saturday. Nonetheless, she does think that the injury prone chaser can improve for this week's final
“He is capable of running a lot quicker than that, but he got back a little bit. He probably doesn't handle The Meadows as great as what he does at Sandown- he has dropped a couple of back muscles and he has got a bit of a suspect wrist as well, so at The Meadows he finds it a little bit hard to get around”
“It was nice to see him come from behind but obviously he will have to get up there a little bit earlier this week if he is going to give himself any chance”
“I think if he doesn't give too much away at the start he has a chance. People sort of think that he comes from behind but he can actually run really good sections as well. As long as he keeps up with them early and doesn't get into too much trouble”
“At least he has got there red- we said after the race if he came up with the red he would be in with a chance whereas if he had drawn in the middle of the field we would have been in a bit of trouble, but he has box one so hopefully that will get him into the placings”
With just nine race dogs in work- plus the grand old champ Kilty Lad, Bravo is enjoying a terrific run on the track at present. The winning streak is set to continue with a few pups starting come through and a litter by her former star, Kilty Lad, just arriving back from the breakers. The regally bred pups are out of Off Springer- the prolific producer responsible for the exhilarating youngster, Banjo Boy.
“We've got a nice bunch at the moment- we have ten in the race kennels but that includes Kilty Lad. We have a Litter by Batrim Bale coming through and an Off Springer- Kilty Lad litter coming back from breakers”
“He (Kilty Lad) has got some pups breaking-in really well but I guess until some of them hit the track people are a little bit wary”
“The eldest are about 16 months but he has got pups in here, NSW, Queensland and Tassie and the reports on them having been really good. We have some litters here about to go to the breakers so it is getting exciting”