Connections of the two Hunter Valley contenders of the Sky Racing Topgun, Lochinvar Marlow and Snozz, are happy leading into the Group One after overcoming setbacks in the lead up to Saturday’s invitation only event worth $100,000 to the winner at The Meadows in Melbourne.
Paws Of Thunder winner, Lochinvar Marlow trialled in probably the worst conditions possible at The Meadows last week when Melbourne was in the grip of cyclonic weather. On top of the slow track, the last start Group One winner bombed the start, running a pedestrian 5.27 to the first mark. He recovered down back, running 18.17 for the second split, before finishing off with a closing section 12.22, giving him an overall time of 30.39.
Kevin Gordon, father of Lochinvar Marlow’s owner Clare Gordon, handled Lochinvar Marlow in his only hit-out in preparation for the $100,000 to the winner event and was delighted under the circumstances and the way he came through his first assignment in Melbourne.
“The trial will do him the world of good” observed Gordon
“He was strange walking onto the track and to the boxes, having a good look around. He came out on his ear, but railed brilliantly and found the line strongly.
“Robert (Smith, Lochinvar Marlow’s trainer) decided that one look was enough and he has been up Pullman’s (Trial track at Keinbah) like he normally would, so The Meadows is the only circle track he’s been on since the win in the ‘Paws’.”
Gordon, Smith and Lochinvar Marlow will head off to Melbourne by car on Friday at around 1pm and stay at Wangaratta, replicating their journey for the trial.
“He has never flown, but he travels that good by car. He lies down and sleeps the whole way; you have to wake him up when you stop to get him out.
Gordon is quietly confident of making it back to back wins at the top level and paid tribute to Smith, who also put the polish on record breaking bitch Miss Elly Mint and became the newest member of the Group One Club with the Paws Of Thunder Victory.
“If he can hold the rail, he’s in with a great chance. The great dogs and trainers really step up to the big occasions and I wouldn’t swap my trainer for anyone.” Gordon
While Gordon was in high spirits about Lochinvar Marlow’s chances, there was no more dejected man on Monday, than the normally exuberant Jason Mackay after a horrific weekend that saw his two headline chasers sustain injures.
“Do you want the bad news or the worse news?” inquired MacKay
“The Kinga Zac fractured his hock, while Snozz slipped and hurt his hip at The Meadows” said the dejected trainer.
Kinga Zac, the hottest property in greyhound racing after winning the Group Three Dapto Maiden and running sensational times in wins at Maitland and Wentworth Park, finish third in a heat of the Group One Vic Peters last Saturday night, despite suffering the debilitating injury to still make through to the second of the series, but he will have to be scratched due to the injury.
“We got him (Kinga Zac) x-rayed on Monday which showed the fracture. How he ran third with the injury is staggering. He’s off for six weeks and six weeks to bring him back, so he’s out of action for three months.”
MacKay was in much better spirits by Wednesday with news from Bob Douglas, who is preparing Snozz in Melbourne, allowing Mackay to stay in Newcastle with the rest of his in form team.
“He didn’t pull up well from Saturday night, after slipping going through the catching pen the first time and hurt his hip. Bob has been working on him day and night, and he has really responded well and will be right to go on Saturday night.
“We’ll drive down on Friday after the Gardens meeting, but Snozz couldn’t be in better hands and he’ll be spot on coming race time Saturday night.” said the Richmond Vale mentor
Mint Magic was the last NSW trained galloped to win a the Topgun, who was coincidentally also owned and trained in the Hunter Valley, was back in 1999, but the class of 2010 just might have the firepower to restore some ‘Blues’ pride.
Before Saturday night MacKay will concentrate on getting winners on his home track, with two runners engaged today at The Gardens, the speedy Dunno in race three, the Multicam System Stake over 400 metres and Group Two Galaxy winner Big Bunga, in race six, the All-Pro Hospitality Supplies.
Dunno has a great record winning 14 of her 26 starts, with nine minor placings, while Big Bunga is stepping up to the 515 metres for the first time this preparation, where he has a best time of a sizzling 2966.
You can bet live on today’s bumper meeting at The Gardens and tomorrows Topgun at Sportsbet or Iasbet.