THE aptly-named Karma Connie will need her fair share of good luck to feature in this Friday’s Group 2 Black Top heats at The Gardens, but her owner David Brewster is hopeful that his honest performer will put her best paws forward.
Trained in Clarence Town by Peter and Connie Honnery, Karma Connie, $8.50 with Bet365, will jump from box two in race eight against what is arguably the toughest heat of the series, with Zipping Midge (box one), Good Odds Angel (box five), Ella Has Class (box seven) and Opus Forte (box eight) all set to do battle.
While she may not boast the Group-winning credentials of some of her opponents, the daughter of El Grand Señor and Mad Manalishi rarely runs a bad race, with 11 wins and 12 minor placings from 35 career starts.
Brewster says her chances of winning rely heavily on the start.
“It is a shame that she has drawn the hardest heat, but the fortunate thing is that she has come up with an inside draw which gives her some hope,” Brewster said.
“I think Karma Connie can beat Zipping Midge for speed early and if she could get in front of her early along the rail I don’t think she (Zipping Midge) could run her (Karma Connie) down.
“I think the biggest factor in the race is going to Frank Sanotti’s runner Zulu Mystique – if it comes out well it may help her (Karma Connie) to find a nice spot and it could set up the race for her – it runs right at the first turn which will hopefully keep Good Odds Angel and a few of the other good dogs out wide.”
Brewster rates Group 3 Laurie Healion Memorial winner Good Odds Angel as the dog to beat, but says that there is plenty of depth in the race.
“I wouldn’t want to see Good Odds Angel lead – I don’t think we could catch it.
“I think Opus Forte could run the quickest time of all the field – but from box eight it is going to find it difficult to get the run it needs to do that.
“There is no doubt that there is some quality boxed out wide on the track but they don’t necessarily have the pace to get anywhere near the rails.”
The Honnery family also train Atrax Robustus, Karma Connie’s litter brother, although Brewster says he is facing an even more challenging task.
“He needs everything to go his way, once the good dogs start to challenge him for the lead he isn’t inclined to push forward,” Brewster explained.
“His favourite track is The Gardens and he has won there in 29.63 – but that was against a lower class of dog and I am not convinced he would be able to do the same against this calibre of greyhound.
“We will be happy as long as he makes it around safe and we will probably target him towards a more suitable race such as the Wauchope Cup later this year.”
Karma Connie and Atrax Robustus will need to win their respective heats to qualify for next week’s $40,000-to-the-winner feature, with both chasers being kept fresh to give them the best shot at victory.
“I think the fresh side is better for them both, they tend to put in better runs when they are kept that way,” Brewster said.
“I think being fresh Karma Connie could reproduce a similar first section to when she ran 4.97 at The Gardens back in May and if she does that it would put her right in the race.”
Brewster said it would be a massive thrill to qualify for the decider, having bred the litter himself from his regally-bred bitch Mad Manalishi. It would also be huge for the Honnerys who have bred a plethora of talented chasers such as Group winners Cool Mat and Bim Bam Boom.
“I am not going into the race expecting to win, but if we did happen to it would mean a lot – not just to myself but also to Peter and Connie.
“I have promised them for a long time that I would get them a good dog because, while they have bred plenty of Group winners, they have never trained one.”
Brewster said it would be nice for Peter and Connie to receive some good ‘karma’ for all their hard work and dedication, not only to the sport of greyhound racing, but in general, with the husband and wife duo the proud foster parents of two young girls, Whitney and Destiny.
“Peter and Connie are two of the nicest people you could meet but they have had a lot of bad luck during the years with their dogs.
“I keep saying to them that if there is such a thing as Karma out there, it will come to them eventually, and that is how Karma Connie got her name.
“Blaze was Connie’s pick of the litter from day one – so I decided that after all she has done for me that I would name it after her because the Honnerys are not just my friends – they are more like family to me.
“I am just happy that they have finally got a good one like her – she isn’t a champion but she is a good, honest bitch.
“It would be nice for them to finally have something to go their way and to win a big race.”
Eight heats of the Group 2 Black Top will be run at The Gardens on Friday night, with the first heat set to jump at 7:58pm. Notable chasers to watch out for in the series include Spacecraft (heat one, box four), Jewel Action (heat three, box one), Brad Hill Billy (heat four, box seven), Miner’s Moss (heat five, box three), Camacho (heat five, box five), La Grand Logie (heat seven, box three), Aphorism (heat seven, box seven) and Queen Esther (heat seven, box eight).