The black bitch was dominant in her heat of the series on Saturday night, coming from midfield to defeat Ramifications (Barcia Bale x Disco Girl Jan ’14) by three and a half lengths in a nippy 42.16.
Owned and trained by Appleton and her husband Richard Jones, Moment To Jive has now won eight of her 27 starts with eight minor placings – her career earnings now in excess of $35,000.
Canning Vale-based Appleton said she believed her charge had the ability to race well in her heat, but knew that she faced a tough challenge against some top chasers including multiple group finalists Ramifications and Teddy Monelli (Mogambo x Jackie Bale Dec ’14).
“I gave her a place chance going into the race as it looked the harder of the two heats on paper and box six was a tough draw for her,” Appleton told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“For her to come out and do what she did was amazing – we were thrilled to bits with her.
“We knew she was good enough, but to see it actually come together and happen is very overwhelming and exciting – the world’s her oyster.”
The effort was even more credible given that Moment To Jive had only ever competed over the ‘half-mile’ once prior to Saturday night, also winning on debut over the staying trip on July 29 in 42.35.
Appleton said she always had faith her talented greyhound would race well over the longer trips, having proven herself over the sprints with some slick wins and a second in the Group 2 WA Oaks.
“She always gave the indication that she wanted a bit further than 500, so I was confident she’d run out the 600 but you never really know about the 700 until you try,” Appleton explained.
“I thought she would run out the 700 eventually, but she is only young and time wasn’t on our side getting her ready for the Nationals, so she has done a great job.”
Moment To Jive and her sister, Moment To Rumba, have certainly put their trainer on the map in recent months, with Appleton thankful to have purchased them prior to starting their careers off leading WA breeders Michael and Michelle Quinsee.
“We got them off Dave Hobby and [Michael and Michelle] Quinsee as youngsters because they were just below their standards after breaking in.
“We brought them home and did a bit more education and pre-training with them and they started to show improvement – they just needed a bit more time to work out what it was all about.
“Once they put it all together they started to go really well and they’ve both been really good to us.”
Moment To Jive will face a quality field for next Saturday night’s final with the remaining heat won by Wayne Brown’s Tallulah (Paddy Whacker x Kalden Mistique Mar ’14) in a fast 42.00.
However, the 28-kilogram bitch has drawn well in box one which Appleton believes gives her a big chance of winning and qualifying for the Group 1 National Distance Championship, set to be run over 710m at Albion Park on August 25.
“We are thrilled with box one. Over the 700 I think she has the pace to make the most of the draw and avoid interference,” Appleton said.
“There are a lot of good dogs in the race, but hopefully now that she is getting stronger over the distance I think she should be able to finish off nice and strong if she can find a good spot early.”
Appleton said win, lose or draw she is proud of her star greyhound, one of just seven she has in work with Jones and their helpers, her daughter Taya 10, and stepdaughter Mia, 11.
“I know its cliché but to make the final is just incredible. To finish runner up in the Oaks was a big thrill but to go one better in a race like this would top off what’s been a great year.”
Three heats of the WA Sprint Championship were also held on Saturday night with time honors going to Paul Stuart’s Found A Diamond (Turanza Bale x Miata Oct ’14) which defeated Equanimity (Barcia Bale x She’s Historic Mar ’15) and Honcho Monelli (Mogambo x Jackie Bale Dec ’14) in 29.70.
Heat two was taken out by Mendoza Monelli (Mogambo x Sharon Monelli Apr ’15) which beat home Fire Blaze (Brett Lee x Starlight Delly Mar ’14) by one and a half lengths in 30.09.
The remaining heat was won by the consistent Max Profit (Fabregas x Belron Cedar Jan ’15) which was too good for Astrozone (Cosmic Rumble x Starlight Delly Nov ’14) and Neil Monelli (Barcia Bale x Dyna Sandy May ’15) in 29.86.
The WA Sprint and Distance Championship finals will be run at Cannington on Saturday night.