LEADING WA trainer Chris Halse will have a three-pronged attack on this Saturday’s lucrative Spring Gift (520m) at Cannington after a successful night at the track over the weekend.
Three heats were run of the $30,000 feature on Saturday night and Halse landed a winner and two seconds. His winner came in the final heat, with West On Maisie (Barcia Bale x Zelemar Fever Mar ’15) leading all the way off the cherry to defeat Mendoza Monelli (Mogambo x Sharon Monelli Apr ’15) in a slick 29.88.
It was a welcome return to the winner’s list for West On Maisie which has been racing competitively against the state’s best in recent months without winning, her last triumph being back in May.
“She is is a good little trier so you can’t fault her,” Halse told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She trialled quite well at Mandurah the week before the heats and because she is up in grade now we decided to put her in the series as there isn’t much else on for her and she went very good.
“She began a bit better than she has in a while off box one so that probably set up the race for her, but it was nice to see her out in front and showing everyone what she can do.”
West On Maisie is co-owned by Halse, his partner Linda Britton and their long-time owners Gary and Craig Weston. The group also raced the dam of West On Maisie, Zelemar Fever (Bombastic Shiraz x Noaki Pace Feb ’11) which won the 2014 Group 1 Temlee.
Whilst she is yet to emulate the feats of her mother, West On Maisie has been a very handy bitch, winning 11 of her 31 starts with eight placings and almost $90,000 in prize money.
Halse concedes she will find it tough to win this Saturday’s feature, drawing poorly in box five.
“Hopefully she gets a bit of confidence from that run heading into the final, although she isn’t drawn very well,” he said.
The Nambeelup-based trainer rates Pepper Fire (Spiral Nikita x West On Bluebird Jul ’14) as his best chance of winning the Spring Gift after drawing the coveted rails alley.
A winner of 21 races and $223,000 in prize money, Pepper Fire was far from disgraced in her heat, running second behind 29.73 heat winner Gold Reserve (Brett Lee x Starlight Delly Mar ’14) after being unable to find the fence from box six.
“She is a very honest little girl and she is a real bread and butter type of dog,” Halse said.
“She has won us a couple of group 3s along the way and she rarely runs a bad race – you can put her in just about anywhere and she acquits herself very well.
“She ran a really credible race on Saturday night – she didn’t have a lot of luck and couldn’t cross over to find the front but she will get her chance in the final off the red.
“She likes box one so if she can hold a good spot early she will be hard to beat.”
Rounding out Halse’s chances in the final is West On Hawkeye, a litter brother to West On Maisie, which also finished second in his qualifier.
The 35-kilogram greyhound was only fairly away but settled close to the leaders in fourth spot. Around the home turn he tried to make his run, barging between runners which cost him a considerable amount of ground as Astrozone (Cosmic Rumble x Starlight Delly Nov ’14) got the fly around the outside, capturing the lead and bolting clear to score in 30.00.
Despite being beaten close to two lengths, Halse said he was pleased with West On Hawkeye’s performance.
“I thought he was a good thing beaten – he just had no luck around the home corner,” he said.
“He has drawn box four on Saturday night but he should get a clear run. I thought it was a very good run in his heat so I think as long as he can possie up in the final he is a chance.
“He has run four seconds in a row now. He is trying hard – but he just hasn’t had much luck lately.
“Hopefully that changes for him a bit this week.”
Halse had a massive night at Cannington on Saturday, leading in four winners including West On Maisie.
He also got the bikkies with Skipper’s Ticket (Dyna Nalin x Saving Bundles Jul ’15) which scored in 34.76 over 600m, Art Noveau (Barcia Bale x Zelemar Fever Mar ’15) which clocked 34.70 over 600m and Ramifications (Barcia Bale x Disco Girl Jan ’14) which took out the staying race of the night in 41.83.
2017 Spring Gift box draw
1 – Pepper Fire
2 – Mendoza Monelli
3 – Demon Bale
4 – West On Hawkeye
5 – West On Maisie
6 – Equanimity
7 – Gold Reserve
8 – Astrozone
9 – Honcho Monelli
10 – Flying Eamonn