Jamie Ennis is a busy man and he is likely to get no rest over the Easter break. The Ennis crew have two runners in the big Group One Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park on Saturday night but they are also busy with the Warrnambool Classic and the various feature races at Bendigo on Easter Sunday.
With a relatively small team of around 15 dogs, Ennis has had dogs engaged in the Bendigo Cup heats, Warrnambool Classic and Bendigo Gold Rush Maiden heats over the last few days. He has to get back from Wentworth Park after Saturday’s Egg final, as he has runners engaged throughout Bendigo’s meeting including a finalist in the Bendigo Cup (Deadly Vane) and the Gold Rush Maiden Final (Bejay The Dejay).
Turning to the Easter Egg, it’s a big achievement to get one dog through to the Easter Egg final but Ennis will rug up two dogs; Tonk and Warrior King. Interestingly both Tonk and Warrior King have each won 10 races from 25 career starts.
“Obviously when you only set a couple of dogs for the race you don’t expect too much. It was above our expectations to get two in the final”, Ennis said.
Ennis has been so busy that it has taken his mind off the Easter Egg.
“I had dogs in the Warrnambool Classic, dogs in the Bendigo Cup and the Bendigo Maiden and I have been that busy that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and think about Saturday night.”
In brief, Tonk is a 30 month old fawn dog by Bartrim Bale – Coulta Gold (Bombastic Shiraz – Coulta Tess). He has really taken to Wentworth Park, recording 29.56 at his first look at the track on 5 April. He was a runner up to Ernie Bung Arrow in the Group Three South Australian Derby. His mother was the winner of 11 races including multiple wins at Sandown and The Meadows.
Warrior King is a red brindle dog that just turned two years old in March. He is by Turanza Bale out of Flamenco (Where’s Pedro – Zarbo). You should recognise his mother’s breeding; she is a sister to Mogambo and Lady Arko. Warrior King’s most notable performance to date is his third behind Crump in the Group Two Horsham Cup.
For the Easter Egg final, Tonk has drawn box two and Warrior King has box four. Sandwiched between them is Ollie Bale and according to Ennis, Ollie Bale will be key to each of his dog’s chances.
“From a punter’s perspective, Tonk has drawn beautifully. Ollie Bale, in box three, likes to use a bit of the track. That won’t help Warrior King, but it will help Tonk. Buckle Up Wes is obviously the one to beat, he is a professional race dog, has good pace and drives up hard.”
“Tonk is probably at the right age to do well. Warrior King is still only a young dog that has just turned two. Warrior King is a bit of a dumb dog at times, he takes a while to get used to things. It’s a bit of a satisfaction to get the dog to the stage he is at so early. Those few inside draws he has had has given him some confidence and he drove up good last week. From a punters perspective though, Warrior King’s biggest problem in the final will be Ollie Bale wanting to use the track. Ollie Bale will probably hold the field out wide and the one and two will sail through. As a trainer I hope that doesn’t happen and Warrior King can get a clear run across. However, box draws are everything and if I had drawn the six or seven I would be saying I had nearly no hope.”
Come Saturday night, Ennis has a few mates coming up for support and he will be travelling with Tonk’s owner.
“As I have the Bendigo Cup on Sunday, win, lose or draw, I will be back on the highway afterwards. If Tonk happens to win I reckon I will end up doing most of the driving!”
If either of Ennis’ dogs win or run a place it is sure to make the drive home that tiny bit easier.