Llandilo conditioner Peter Lagogiane will head into this week’s Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint at Wentworth Park as one of the outsiders. However, he is not without a genuine winning chance with the talented Lucks Changed taking her place in the $40,000 to the winner feature.
The daughter of Mandagery Man and Princess Tayah was dominant in her heat victory last Saturday, defeating the Victorian raider, Purcell Bale, in a slick 29.91s. Although beginning well from box one, the brindle bitch was outpaced by the Graeme Bate-trained campaigner and had to do all the chasing. Lucks Changed assumed the lead down the back and careened away for a five length triumph on the line.
Although it was a terrific field, Lagogiane had a big opinion of Lucks Changed and was expecting a good performance going into the heat. Punters on the other hand were not expecting her to win, sending her to the boxes at $11.
“All of the heats were very strong”, Lagogiane enthused, “We thought all of them could have been the final”.
“Once we saw the box draw we were pretty excited. She doesn’t draw the one box too often so we were happy. We knew it was a hard race but we hoped she could win. We knew what she could run around there and we were quietly confident”.
It was assuring for many to see the 26 kilogram pocket rocket come from behind and chase tenaciously to find the front. Lagogiane knew that his chaser was strong enough and was more than capable of overtaking another greyhound.
“The bitch can run and she does have a last section. She has shown tendencies that she can come from behind in some of her races, at Gosford and the Gardens she has come from behind, so it wasn’t surprising and it just fulfilled what we already knew about her”.
“When we saw her jump to second we knew that Purcell Bale would come off, we actually read the race quite well. We knew that Purcell Bale was the likely leader in the race and that it doesn’t hold the fence. It likes to roll off on the top turn which it did and we got underneath it and our bitch is a strong railer. A lot of greyhounds usually excel when they find the rail and she is one of them”.
Lucks Changed has moved out to the other side of the track this week and will exit box seven in the decider. The one thing working for her is that she does have some fast beginners on her direct inside which may bring her across to the fence. However, Lagogiane admits that the draw is less than ideal in a Group race final.
“Ideally we would have loved to have drawn the one again. It is a positive that we are drawn outside fast dogs. Purcell Bale jumps in front but doesn’t head to the rail and stays off the track but Cracker Jack Lil is to her immediate inside and it hunts for the fence. Then again it does give a clear run to the dog directly on our outside which is Zipping Willow which I think is the main danger in the race”.
Despite being among some speedy dogs, Lucks Changed does have the pace to be prominent and can handle herself from a wide draw. The versatile bitch has a perfect four from four from box six and has notched up a success from box eight. She also has the class to be competitive. Last month, Lucks Changed speared out of box six and annihilated her competitors, drawing to the line to score by eight and one quarter lengths in a blistering 29.67s.
“She is not badly drawn out there, she is actually quite suited. She does have that early first section and she can really come out of a box if she comes out on the right foot”.
“She showed it a couple of weeks ago when she came out and run 29.67. She can match it with any dog in NSW today because she does have that raw ability”.
“It is all at box rise. On her own, whenever we trial her, she trials best of the night or not far off the track record. I’m not saying that she is a track record bitch but she can’t match it with most of them”.
Lagogiane will be aiming for a double when he heads into town this week with the talented Honey Chicken engaged in race four. The son of Big Daddy Cool is drawn well in box three and will be looking to score at his first crack at the Sydney half mile. Honey Chicken stepped up in distance three starts back at Richmond, recording a promising second behind Tollo. At his next start the black dog scored a convincing victory over the 600 at Gosford recording 35.15s before tasting defeat over the 717 at Richmond last start. Despite meeting a strong field tomorrow night he is right in the race
“Honey Chicken has been a bit of a revelation since we put him up a little bit further in distance”, Lagogiane said, “He is just a dog that goes all day”.
A win in either event would no doubt be nice for the prominent young trainer. However, a win in the feature race on the card would prove and excellent reward for Lagogiane who is trying to make his mark on the industry as a full time mentor.
“We have 15 in work at present and about 45 dogs on the property. It keeps us busy and we have a couple of nice pups coming through”.
“We have never won a group race although we have won a couple of listed races. We were bridesmaid once and I think we have run a couple of thirds in them. We have been in a couple of Group 2 and Group 3 races and a Group 1 race. We were in the Black Top with Tomato Catch Up but we just haven’t had any luck”
Perhaps Lagogiane will find his Lucks Changed tomorrow night.
*****Since the time of the interview, Purcell Bale has been scratched. This gives the National Sprint Hero, Xylia Allen, a start in the feature.