If there’s one thing master Hunter Valley trainer Jason Mackay knows how to do is prepare greyhounds for the big occasions. This makes it even harder to believe that Mackay is still searching for his first Golden Easter Egg victory since the race’s inception in 1990.
2013 maybe the year with his two assault charges; Sometimes Speedy and Punch One Out, both ultra-impressive in their respective heats last Saturday night.
Sometimes Speedy, who clocked a flying 29.68 in an all the way display from box four in heat ten, impressed the Richmond Vale mentor for several reasons.
“The track was slowing down a bit towards the end of the night so she can improve on that. After being in the kennels for nine races I could not have been happier” said Mackay.
The daughter of Collision and Gemstone Supreme came to Mackay’s kennels in January from South Australia and has oozed class in all of her eight starts, recording eight consecutive victories. Her biggest win to date was saluting in last month’s Group One National Futurity final, clocking an airborne time of 29.40 in defeating kennel mate Punch One Out.
Drawing box three in semi-final number two of the Easter Egg, Mackay believes this will give her a great opportunity to improve.
“The earlier race will definitely help. You could see the track slowing down towards the end of the night so that time was very pleasing. She has won all eight starts for me since coming from South Australia and that’s a sign of something special”.
It was a credit to Mackay; he followed his instincts and took Sometimes Speedy on board after originally rejecting the offer. His team are now certainly reaping the rewards, just one race away from a Golden Easter Egg final.
By no means discourage kennel mate Punch One Out after a sensational runner up performance last week behind Graeme Bate’s Fully Advanced, who was just .02 seconds outside Noble Pedro’s Wentworth Park 520m track record of 29.43. After sitting behind the leader from box six, the daughter of Knocka Norris and Little Egyptian, checked off the leader in the home straight eventually beat by less than a length, still managing to clock a sizzling 29.51.
“She took three lengths off the leader who run a near track record. She still clocked one of the fastest runs of all time around the track and she came second. It’s hard to believe” said a delighted Mackay.
Coming up with box five in semi-final number four would usually be a deterrent for any trainer, quite the contrasting thought with Mackay extremely positive about the draw.
“I know this might sound strange but I’m happy with the five. If she draws the inside she crashes, so the middle is perfect for her. Hopefully she can put it all together”.
Mackay may head to Wentworth Park on Saturday night with two final spots already secured for next week as Tricky Jade and Zipping Simba were both successful at headquarters last Sunday night in heats of the Group Three Centrebet Magic Maiden series.
Tricky Jade recorded best of the night figures with a blistering 29.86 performance from box six, leading all the way to score by an enormous 10.5 lengths. Scarily, Mackay admits there is still more to come.
“I was very happy with her time but she can improve on that. The wind was howling which made conditions hard so I’ll look for her to go even better” said Mackay.
It’s no surprise Mackay expects the daughter of 2012 NSW Sire of the Year Bit Chili and Navigator Miss to lower her personal best, after an astonishing 29.45 performance trial at Unitbet Gardens in November last year.
On the contrast, Zipping Simba displayed a far from perfect performance, however did show promise in navigating his way through the field to score in 30.46. The raw nature of the youngster by Mantra Lad out of multiple group winning producer Or Catra will improve with experience, as Mackay explained.
“He did everything wrong and still won the race which was pleasing. He’s exactly the same at home, he’s very green in what he does but the more races he gets under his belt, the more mature he will become’.
There is no denying Jason Mackay is a true master in the art of training having racked up 29 winners already in 2013, inevitably with many more to come. Easter Egg Final night could provide the Mackay camp with multiple victories as he prepares live chances in both the Group One and Group Three semi-finals.
The passion Mackay exudes talking about the Easter Egg is obvious and infectious; even suggesting that I (as an unabashed Jason Mackay fan) make sure to “pull the whip” on Saturday night as he chases the illustrious $250,000 first prize; to be run and won next Saturday night.