Crumble Monelli looking a solid chance for Puppy Classic
Western Australian trainer David Hobby believes Crumble Monelli is ready to live up to his $1.40 favourite status in the Listed Puppy Classic at Cannington on Saturday night.
The Birthday Cup winner who turns two next week is in a purple patch of form, winning his past five starts, now boasting 10 victories from 13 career races.
The brindle dog also has the benefit of lining up from box one after winning his heat by a comfortable 2 ½ lengths, crossing the line in an impressive 29.78 seconds over 520m.
Not known for being a blistering starter, Crumble Monelli was not tardy out of the boxes last Saturday night.
He had a good lead by the first turn, and only increased his lead as the race went on, as he is known to do.
The experienced conditioner wants to see a similar racing style from the rail in the $28,500 feature this weekend.
“He’s all good, and everything is going well at this stage,” Hobby told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“It’ll all come down to the start.
“He doesn’t quite ping the boxes, but if he gets a clear run to the first turn he’ll go well.”
2023 Listed Cannington Puppy Classic Heat 3 – Crumble Monelli (29.78)
Crumble Monelli’s fellow almost two-year-old brother by Barcia Bale and out of Flake Monelli – Custard Monelli – will start from box four.
He also won his heat by a comfortable two lengths, saluting in 29.92 seconds.
He is a $4.60 winning chance with bookmakers and is expected to go close in the final.
In what might surprise punters, Hobby believes Custard Monelli has the endurance to stay in front of his talented brother if was to find the lead early.
“His brother is probably not far behind him, so it’ll come down to who gets the breaks early,” Hobby said.
“But he’s possibly a stronger dog.
“So it’d be interesting if he led him. I don’t think Crumble would run him down.”
Hobby was happy Crumble Monelli drew the coveted No.1 lane.
Along with Custard Monelli, Hobby said Copper and Tommy Fumble – both for Terry Erenshaw – would be the ones to beat.
Erenshaw’s runners will start from seven and eight, respectively.
“Box one is good. My bloke in four will go straight,” Hobby said.
“If he (Crumble Monelli) is left alone his early speed should get him to the front.
“The seven and the eight have early toe and box speed.
“He’d want to be at his very best in the first 50m.”
Hobby last month told this publication he was considering a rare east-coast trip with Crumble Monelli, such is the talent he possesses.
He mentioned he would like to have a crack at the Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park, but that is starting to look unlikely now.
“It’s just hard the way things are working out. I’d have to jump up and get on a plane, go over there and trial him,” Hobby said.
“I’d come back for the Perth Cup because the Easter Egg is the next week (heats are on March 25) after the Perth Cup.
“Just the way the calendar is in Australia right now – they don’t care about Perth.
“It’s all about the eastern states.
“The way they (Group 1 races) are grouped together it’s making it very hard to take a young dog away.”
Hobby has not travelled much in his long training career, and will likely aim Crumble Monelli at the Perth Cup, with heats on March 11 and the final a week later.
He has become resigned to the fact he won’t be able to see his young gun contest the Golden Easter Egg due to logistical reasons.
“Time’s running out, but it’s hard for me to travel as well,” he said.
“If you had a two-week gap, you’ve got time to get up and go away, travel and give him a trial.
“And you’d still have a week to get the dog ready for the Perth Cup.
“You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
“It’s best to stay on your own dunghill and have a crack at that one (Perth Cup).”
Hobby said being so far away from the lucrative east-coast races with such a crowded schedule was frustrating for him.
“It is frustrating. The dogs in the eastern states have already had runs around many different tracks,” he said.
“So a lot of them could jump up sight unseen and run on a different track.
“Over here it’s hard in the west because, firstly, it’s hard to travel.
“It’s an hour to the airport, two hours on the crate at the airport, a 4 ½-hour flight, an hour by the time you get them out of the airport, and it might be 1 ½ to two hours after you leave the airport.
“Your whole day is gone and it’s a lot of stress on a dog.”
With that said, Hobby would be delighted if Crumble Monelli was to be crowned this year’s Perth Cup victor.
“For some of these big races it’d be nice if they were grouped a couple of weeks apart,” he said.
“But that’s just the way it falls and you take what you can.”